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Ogden Trust Physics Summer School

24 July 2015

The School of Physics and Astronomy hosted a 4 day Ogden Trust Physics Summer School this week, with 30 AS-level physics students from across the wide Yorkshire area attending. The event was aimed at high achieving students, and included a mix of workshops and lectures designed to challenge and improve their mathematical skills.

Students also had the opportunity to join research groups in the School for a day, visiting research laboratories and gaining experience of using state-of-the-art equipment. This included spectrometers, x-ray diffractometers, liquid crystals and single molecule force spectroscopy.

Physics Graduation

20 July 2015

Congratulations to all our 2015 graduates!

On Tuesday 14th July 2015, finalists of both undergraduate and postgraduate study graduated from the School of Physics and Astronomy. Lord Bragg gave an inspiring speech before the ceremony began, followed by the presentation of degrees. Finalists and their families were then invited to attend a reception at the Refectory, it was a fantastic opportunity for staff, students and families to meet and celebrate the fantastic achievements of our students.
Congratulations to everyone who graduated and best of luck with your futures!

Soapbox Science

22 June 2015

On 20th June Dr Lorna Dougan joined eleven other scientists to take part in ‘Soapbox Science’ in Belfast.

Soapbox Science is a novel public outreach platform for promoting women scientists and the science they do. These events transform public areas into an arena for public learning and scientific debate; following the format of London Hyde Park’s Speaker’s Corner, which is historically an arena for public debate. With Soapbox Science, everyone has the opportunity to enjoy, learn from, heckle, question, probe, interact with and be inspired by leading scientists.

At the event, which attracted ~2000 people, Lorna presented her research on ‘Using physics to explore life in extreme environments’. This included an introduction to the world of extremophiles, single molecule force spectroscopy and demonstrations of polymer collapse and protein folding. To find out more about Soapbox Science please visit:

Dr Lorna Dougan would like to thank the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) who sponsored her attendance at Soapbox Science, as well as the European Research Council (ERC) who fund her research on ‘Extreme Biophysics’.

Soft Matter Away Day

13 May 2015

The School recently hosted a Soft Matter Physics away day at Weetwood Hall. The day was chaired by Professor Helen Gleeson, the new Head of the Soft Matter Physics group, and soon to be, new Head of School.

It was a fantastic opportunity for Professor Gleeson, Professor Jones and Dr Nagaraj, who have all joined the School from the University of Manchester, to meet with fellow researchers in the field of Soft Matter. Members from across the Faculty and University attended, with representatives from MaPS, Biological Sciences, Engineering and Design, in addition to others.

Each delegate gave a brief overview of their work, which was followed up by discussion, presentations from Ben Williams and Rachel Woolley, Research & Innovation Service, which included H2020, links with N8 and RCUK strategic priorities.

Overall, the day was a great success, there were some fantastic discussions, innovative ideas and hope for some future collaborations.

George Gray Medal

5 May 2015

Professor Cliff Jones has won the prestigious George Gray Medal from the British Liquid Crystal Society.

This medal is the society’s highest award, and is named after Professor George Gray, Kyoto Prize winner and the father of modern liquid crystals who’s accomplishments include the synthesis of the first room temperature materials in the early 1970s that enabled the display industry to take off.  The award is given to a scientist for seminal research contributions of international quality.

Professor Jones’s citation was for his early work on ferroelectric liquid crystals and their use in television displays, the invention of the zenithal bistable display and founding of the company ZBD Displays Ltd (now Displaydata).

Professor Jones has recently joined the School of Physics and Astronomy at Leeds, where he holds an Advanced Fellowship from the EPSRC on Manufacturing to work in the area of Soft Matter Physics, and in particular liquid crystal devices. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce.

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