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Announcing creation of the Physics Education Research Group (PERG)

13 December 2016

A new Research Group dedicated to Physics Pedagogy has been established in the School of Physics & Astronomy.

This 'Physics Education Research Group' (PERG) brings together staff who have interest and track record in developing students' learning and engagement in Physics, and will allow more in-depth research and development to be undertaken.

The group was founded in early 2016 but was formally launched on 23rd November 2016 with a seminar and lunch. The event was well attended by a variety of staff from across the university and allowed the group to showcase the range of projects already underway, and sow the seeds for future collaborations.

Alison Voice, who heads up the group, says: "It is exciting to be officially afforded the time to research and develop the learning experience of our students, with the aim of increasing their engagement and learning gain."

The Institute of Physics is very supportive of the development of Physics Education Research in the UK, and facilitates collaboration and dissemination within the Physics community.

The group has interest in all aspects of the student journey, from transition into HE and progression from one level to the next, through blended learning, to assessment and employability.

Samantha Pugh, one of the founding members, who has a track record of work in both progression and employability says: "With the advent of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) it is timely that we will be able to concentrate on delivering evidence-based research and high quality student education."

Further information about PERG, its members, current projects and activities can be found at: and more up to the minute information can be obtained via Twitter @PERGLeeds.

2016 Postgraduate Showcase Success

8 December 2016

Congratulations to Devesh Mistry and Adam Churchman, both PhD students in the School of Physics and Astronomy, on their success in the 2016 University of Leeds Postgraduate Showcase.

The Postgraduate Showcase provides an opportunity to celebrate excellence in postgraduate research and the contribution made by the postgraduate research community to the research carried out across the University. Postgraduates have the opportunity to present at a high level to an audience which includes senior academics and University staff, postdoctoral researchers, PhD students and external guests.

400 people attending this year's Showcase and there were 130 entries across four categories.

Vice-Chancellor, Sir Alan Langlands presented the prizes.

Devesh, came second overall in the Postgraduate of the Year competition, with his presentation - 'Novel liquid crystal optical devices for the ageing eye' and Adam, came third in the Three-Minute-Thesis competition with his entry - 'Oil layer inside microbubbles: a novel production method, towards hydrophobic drug delivery'

Well done to both.

School of Physics and Astronomy joins the White Rose Industrial Physics Academy

10 November 2016

The White Rose Industrial Physics Academy (WRIPA) led by the Universities of York and Sheffield was established to increase awareness of technical career opportunities for Physicists and to help students prepare for success in finding placements and graduate jobs. We are excited to announce that the University of Leeds has officially joined the WRIPA, and has been awarded a £30k grant to develop activities for Physics students to enhance their employability.

WRIPA organises collaborations between companies and physics students from the universities of York, Sheffield, Hull, Nottingham and Leeds. One such example is the massively successful Physics Futures Careers Fair that was hosted by WRIPA at the University of York with over 30 employers and a number of panel discussions. All employers had year-long placements and/or graduate jobs on offer, specifically for Physicists.  Over 600 students attended the event, with over 100 students from Leeds attending. Students said of the event, "It really opened my eyes to the possible career options where I can use my Physics. It gave me some new ideas for what I might do when I graduate."

The WRIPA team at the University of Leeds are Samantha Pugh, Annmarie Rye and Alison Voice, with the support of the Head of School, Helen Gleeson. The team are working with WRIPA on delivering more industrial speakers, possible site visits and an increase in the number of industrial research projects for undergraduates. There is also extensive sharing of careers and professional development resources across the network, bringing benefits to all students. It is hoped that WRIPA will go some way to addressing the National STEM skills shortage by encouraging more graduates to stay in the technical sector upon graduation. Raising awareness and working with employers on skills development will certainly be a step in the right direction.

School welcomes new Visiting Professor

24 October 2016

Prof Alan Soper FRS, an internationally leading scientist in liquid structure and neutron diffraction, has joined the School of Physics and Astronomy as Visiting Professor.

The School is very happy to welcome Prof Soper, the world expert in the structure of water and water-based solutions at the molecular level. Using experimental techniques such as neutron and x-ray diffraction, combined with computational modelling, he has investigated the structure of water molecules and their interaction with other molecules. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2014 in recognition of his contributions to science.

Prof Soper will join the vibrant research activity in the School of Physics and Astronomy as well as enjoying opportunities to engage with undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Widmer Best Poster Award

18 October 2016

Congratulations to Adam Churchman for winning the Widmer Best Poster Award at this year's MicroTAS Conference out of 721 entries and making it a first win for the UK.

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