Nanotechnology: research & possibilities

Lewis Lappin from the Edinburgh University Physics and Astronomy Society invites you to this student-led event.

Join PhysSoc, ChemSoc and ChemEngSoc with the University of Cambridge’s Nanotechnology department for a talk on Nanotechnology and its applications! 

This event will feature a talk from Tommaso Busolo and Taylor Uekert, both PhD students at the University of Cambridge, who will discuss their research experience in nanotechnology and what the future could hold for someone working in this multidisciplinary field.

They will describe the properties and cutting-edge applications of materials specific to the nanoscale, their PhD projects, and what it’s like studying at the Nanoscience & Nanotechnology Doctoral Training Centre at Cambridge.

The breadth and depth of science that may be explored in the field of nanotechnology is limitless, so this is a chance for you to get a feel for the state of the art and see where your interests fit in, as well as to find out more about opportunities for PhD study in this area

When: 16:00-1700, Friday 27th October

Where: Lecture Theatre B, JCMB

More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/488388741534163/

https://www.nanodtc.cam.ac.uk/

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CERN @ KB: grad roles & work experience offers

CERN will be on campus on 4th October – full details and signup will be on MyCareerHub

CERN offers tremendous opportunities for the right students to develop their skills and understanding through some of the most exciting and cutting edge projects in engineering, computing and physics.

Research STFC

Come along to this event to get an insight into engineering at CERN, with a talk from a senior CERN engineer on the experiments, facilities & what their work involves. This will be followed by a Q&A for which he will be joined by a representative of the CERN HR Talent Acquisition team who will introduce all opportunities at CERN.

CERN’s Summer Student Scheme and Technical Studentships are being advertised now on the Science & Technology Facilities Council site. Find out more on the STFC website.

How light and sound give physicists a clearer picture of cancer – UoE alumni success

Michal Tomaszewski, who graduated as the top student on Mathematical Physics degree, is currently working on his PhD in cancer research at Cambridge and you can listen to him explain his ground breaking work in this video clip

Michal followed an interesting path. He did a business internship in the City and gained experience from various financial institutions before he changed his path to cancer research.   Having done a purely theoretical degree he is now at home in a wet lab.

It just shows:

  1. it’s good to try different things to work out where your preferences lie
  2. starting in one area doesn’t mean you have to stay there
  3. no matter what you do, you develop personally and professionally from it

SpaceX & HypED in Los Angeles

Great blog post from physics students Enrique Cervero and Hamish Geddes – members of the Edinburgh University Hyperloop Team (HypED).

Want to know more about the space sector? Check out the Careers Service resource: Your Future in the Space industry

Hyperloop 1

The team working on the pod at the Innspace in Sanderson Building

“We are just back from our trip to California for the SpaceX Hyperloop competition, it’s been an amazing experience. We would once again like to thank the School of Physics for the support they gave us for our trip.

The Edinburgh University Hyperloop Team (HypED) has been working for over ten months to design and build an Hyperloop prototype, a method of levitating transportation propelled along a vacuum tube. Much of our summer was spent at the mechanical lab in Kings Building drawing sketches, tightening bolts and drilling holes with the ultimate purpose of bringing our Hyperloop Pod, Poddy McPodface, to life.

All this work was to culminate at the end of August in Los Angeles, where HypED was invited to by SpaceX to participate in the finals of one of the most prestigious engineering competitions in the world: The Hyperloop Pod Competition II. A total of 25 teams from all over the world were invited to unveil and race their prototypes at the space company’s headquarters, HypED being the only British team and one of four European teams.

The team arrived to LA about a week before the competition. We brought our prototype to a local workshop in Los Angeles, Urban Workshop, where we spent most of the pre-competition days giving the final touches to our design.

Hyperloop 2

The team working on the hydraulics at the workshop in LA

Our main worry before the competition was that we would not finish our pod in time, that there would be something, some flaw or eventuality, that we had not planned for and that would ultimately prevent us from competing at SpaceX. We all worked hard either way, trying to get everything done perfectly to meet SpaceX’s requirements.

When the pod was done, we drove it to SpaceX in Hawthorne, LA, where it was to be tested for safety, systems and functionality before the competition. Out of the 25 teams that got invited to the competition, only 3 would be allowed to test their pod and race it in the vacuum tube. HypED’s prototype was unfortunately not one of the 3 chosen by SpaceX. However, our team was given clearance to test our pod at a speed of 40m/s (144km/h) in the vacuum track, which would have made it one of the fastest Hyperloop Pods ever tested.

Over the entire year and competition, I have learned that real world applications of engineering are never simple and require a level head and persistence to complete: there must be a lot of thought put into a design, many drafts, scraps and failures need to be done before arriving at the finalised product.

I have also acquired a lot of technical experience, how to use industrial machinery, solve real world mechanical problems and work as a team to bring our ideas to life.

The outcome of the competition was also an imperative learning experience for the team which we will definitely use to our advantage in next year’s competition. We will take from our design flaws and mistakes and remove them in our next design, use the advice and knowledge given to us by Tesla and SpaceX engineers, and improve on our design’s advantages.

Hyperloop 3

The team with our completed pod next to SpaceX’s vacuum Hyperloop test track

Careers Scholarship Summer Programme 2017

It was great to work with some of the students doing project placements as part of this programme.  It’s a competitive programme open to students in later years of their BSc or MPhys.

This year I offered two sessions. The first one was co-delivered with Ross Galloway, the academic in the School whose remits includes this programme. This was to prepare students for their placements (academic & industry), address any questions and concerns and help them move confidently into their project placements.

The second one today was to help students  reflect on what they did, what went well, what went less well, how they coped with the challenges and how it might influence future career plans.

Importantly, it was also about  how to present what they gained from doing the project. There was lots of animated discussion, constructive peer feedback and hopefully everyone felt a lot more confident  about how to talk about their project and what it means they can do.

I also think those in the group today will do a much better job at the end-of-placement presentation event as well as in future applications, interviews and networking events.

Industry collaborative funded PhDs in Applied Photonics

CDT Photonics | Centre for Doctoral Training in Applied Photonics
Meeting industry’s need for highly skilled engineers in the photonics-electronics interface

The CDT in Applied Photonics works with companies developing photonics-enabled products and services, from consumer technology and mobile computing devices to healthcare and security. Each of their collaborations is built around an EngD or PhD student, providing them with masters-level technical and business qualifications, along with an industrially-connected doctoral research project.

What is an EngD?
The EngD is an alternative to a traditional PhD aimed at students wanting a career in industry.

Students spend about 75% of their time working directly with a company in addition to receiving advanced-level training from a broad portfolio of technical and business courses. On completion students are awarded the PhD-equivalent Engineering Doctorate.
The Centre for Doctoral Training in Applied Photonics has a number of FULLY FUNDED VACANCIES for Engineering Doctorate (EngD) and PhD positions in Applied Photonics. An EngD combines PhD level research, technical courses & research based in industry. EngD stipend in the region of £21,000 are available for UK students and EU students who are resident in the UK. PhD stipends are in the region of £15,000.

Visit www.cdtphotonics.hw.ac.uk for further information about the CDT in Applied Photonics,  twitter feed @CDTAP or contact EngD@hw.ac.uk

Featured employers: Edinburgh Graduate Recruitment Fair

Physicists fit really well into what we do. They seem to have the right skill set of scientific thinking, problem solving and data interpretation.

Jonny Press, Director, AquaQ Analytics

AquaQ Analytics logo   semefab logo

I am just back from the EGRF where I met Lorraine Carr from Semefab and Jonny Press from AquaQ Analytics. Both employers are really keen to recruit our physicists.

You can find them and their vacancies on MyCareerHub

One of current students, Jacob Smith is just about to start a summer placement with Semefab. I will be asking Jacob to do a couple of guest blogs over the summer.

Glasgow Science Festival: Physics Phrenzy

Physics frenzy

This is run as part of SUPA Graduate School “Hanging your research out in public” course and promises to be entertaining.

In this fast-paced ‘speed science’ social, Scotland’s up-and-coming physicists will compete to enthral and inspire you with their fascinating research stories. Prizes and pride are at stake in this informal and friendly event! Hosted by the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance.

  • Venue: DRAM!, Woodlands Rd
  • Date: Thurs 8 June
  •  Time: 18:30-20:00
  •  Cost: Free
  •  Details and booking: Online

This is just one of a plethora of events to celebrate Glasgow Science Festival 2017. From 8-18 June, venues across the city will be a-buzz with a huge range of activities.

All is revealed at http://www.glasgowsciencefestival.org.uk

You can join the mailing list for the latest news and updates.

Physics degrees and the Physics of trees

TreeHug

Hi, I’m Sam Henderson. I graduated with an MPhys from the University of Edinburgh about six months ago. In this career orientated post, I’m going to let you know about my EngD. Importantly, I’ll let you know how I got the job, as well as what I see as the pros and cons.

So, I graduated, hoorah. Like many people, I didn’t manage (nor did I want to) jump straight into a graduate scheme or PhD. As a reaction to five years I had spent hunched over a desk solving differential equations, I initially spent just looked for jobs that would get me outside. After a few discussions, I settled on criterion for the jobs I would look for.

Primarily, I wanted sensible hours. I know who I am, and there are too many books, films, games, mountains, valleys and people to read, see, play, explore and meet working entrepreneurial hours. Additionally, I didn’t want to spend the next few years of my life in front of a screen. So, I applied, and applied and applied and… nothing, until I saw a position in Forest Research (Forestry Commission’s research division) on the civil service jobs website.

I applied for it even though I wasn’t confident I met the criteria (I was right, I didn’t get the job or even an interview). However, my application was seen, spotted by the person who would become my boss. A few days later, I got an invitation to come to an interview, which turned into an offer, which turned into my job.

My EngD is a collaboration between the University of Surrey and Forest Research (the research division of the Forestry Commission). For those who don’t know, an EngD is a doctorate, but one where you primarily work in industry. This means that you get an amazing qualification, experience working for an employer, and, you get generally get paid more (roughly £18-24K tax free).

For those interested, in my project, I’m studying if and how changing water conditions can cause cracking inside living trees. To do this I’m using a combined experimental and computational approach. Experimentally, I’m using a custom-built MRI machine to look at the water distribution inside living trees. I’ll use the data from experiments to help me develop a computer model of the tree cells, which will incorporate realistic fluid dynamics.

I’ll admit I have had to make some compromises. Truthfully, a large amount of my work is desk-bound, and I have had some long days writing reports for deadlines.

On the other hand, I get to work in a scenic location on a project I care about, I get to cycle to work, I get to grow/perform experiments on real trees, and I generally have a regular 38 hour working week.

Something that is important to remember about EngDs, is that each project, and each company is different. Do your research, and, if you have the luxury, think about what is important to you.

My experience of reading a stranger’s words on the internet has been that I can only take one point away. If you feel the same, take with you the comforting fact that with some time and planning, and a bit of work, physics can probably get you where you want to go.

I’m totally happy to be contacted by email, if anyone wants any advice from a student who was in a similar place to them.  Sam Henderson j.s.henderson@surrey.ac.uk