School of Physics and Astronomy

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Fantastic for engaging interest in an undervalued subject. Brilliant session leader, great sense of humour, the students’ perception of a 'physicist' is vastly improved. Great for developing new skills.

Teacher commenting on 'The Problem with Problems' Dr Mike Ries
Talks in schools

Below is a list of some of the talks in schools which we offer. All our talks are offered free of charge. Schools outside West Yorkshire may be asked to pay transport costs.

The Bolton Lecture in Astronomy

The School of Physics and Astronomy hosts an annual public lecture with the aim of bringing current developments in Astronomy to a wide audience, and to high schools in particular. Students can attend as a school group or with their family (under 16’s must be supervised). The lecture series is named after Scriven Bolton (c1888-1929) a local benefactor whose bequest enables the University to provide a state-of-the-art observatory with which undergraduates can learn practical astronomy.

For more information

Liking something that defies understanding - Dr Jiannis Pachos

This lecture is part scientific, part personal story about quantum mechanics. I will present easy to understand examples where quantum mechanics appears producing truly unexpected behaviour. This behaviour has been puzzling experts and non-experts alike since the birth of quantum mechanics in the early 20th century. The burning question is “why do small particles, like atoms and electrons, behave so funny?” To answer this question I will tell you my personal story, where I first heard about quantum physics, the excitement in studying it and the frustration in trying to understand it. After studying quantum mechanics for more than twenty years I am still excited about the prospect of an unexpected wonder lurking to be discovered. Find out more through these videos

To book, please complete the Outreach Enquiry Form, specifying 'Physics' as the subject area and listing this activity. 

Primeval Slime - Dr Mike Ries

In this lecture, which can also be a workshop if you require, I will tell you all about the wonderful properties of slime. In this demo rich talk I will shatter your understanding of the material world. Can a liquid bounce? A solid flow? A solution shatter? And as an added bonus I’ll tell you a secret, my personal favourite naturally occurring organic polymer! Polymers are long chain molecules that give slime its wonderful range of properties. Polymers can be found all around you. They are in shopping bags, muscles, skin, fleas, cars, computers and in each and every cell of your body! If you want to understand how life works, then you need to discover polymer physics! What more could you want from a talk? Ok, I might also give away some freebies!

To book, please complete the Outreach Enquiry Form, specifying 'Physics' as the subject area and listing this activity. 


Using physics to understand life in extreme environments - Dr Lorna Dougan

Extremophiles are organisms that can survive and thrive under extreme environmental conditions. From the ice-caps of the poles to the high salt concentration of the Dead Sea. How have they adapted to survive? Can we learn from their survival strategies?

This talk provides an introduction to the wonderful world of extremophiles and highlights the role that physics is playing in uncovering the molecular mechanisms of extremophile survival.

To book, please complete the Outreach Enquiry Form, specifying 'Physics' as the subject area and listing this activity.