Physics in Perspective 2012

Students and their teachers attend this course from all over the UK and overseas, the programme is designed to allow time to explore other aspects of London, whether its museums or other attractions.

The Sunday lectures will be located in the heart of UCL’s campus with the following two days based at the Royal Institution, a venue steeped in scientific history.

Sunday 12 February
University College London
14:15Doors open for day one
14:30The Large Hadron Collider: latest news from the energy frontier
Professor Jon Butterworth (University College London)

Exciting new results from CERN's Large Hadron Collider have just been presented at the 2011 summer conferences. Scientists are closing in on the Higgs boson whilst studying physics in general at the smallest distances and highest energies ever seen. Professor Butterworth is not sure what he will have to report by the time he gives this talk, but he doubts it will be dull!
15:50Cosmic Dust
Dr Matthew Genge (Imperial College London)

More than 10 000 tonnes of cosmic dust falls on Earth every year. These tiny extraterrestrial visitors are everywhere. Discover how we find them, collect them and what they can tell us about our solar system…
16:50End of day one  
Monday 13 February
The Royal Institution of Great Britain*
13:45Doors open for day two
14:00Quantum Magic Tricks Make Small Technologies
Dr Yvette Hancock (University of York)

Everybody loves new technology, and as each year passes, the newest available devices get increasingly smaller. Just look at the shrinking size of your netbook computer, mobile phone or iPod compared to the same product from a few years ago. To make small technologies requires even smaller components, built on scales that are less than the width of a human hair! How these components work depends on the very strange, but fascinating world of quantum physics. In this talk, YOU become the ‘quantum mechanic’ – learning to create your very own nanotech device by using specially taught quantum magic tricks!
15:20Light Fantastic: the Science of Colour
Professor Peter Vukusic (University of Exeter)

The science of light and colour is fantastically important in an enormous number of areas: observing and understanding the universe in astronomy; diagnosis and treatment processes in medicine; and for efficient communications and signal processing in industries. This talk will open your eyes to the basic concepts of this topic and show how both the biological world and technology are making the most of light’s astonishing properties. It will include demonstrations and hands-on activities to help shed light on the science of colour; and how the use of light has created the world we live in today and will shape the world we will live in tomorrow.
16:20End of day two  
Tuesday 14 February
The Royal Institution of Great Britain*
09:45Doors open for day three
10:00Ubicomp: how cloud computing, mobile phones and online social networks are impacting on the society we live in…
Manik Surtani (Red Hat Inc.)

This talk will introduce the concept of ubicomp (ubiquitous computing) and what this means for society; it will highlight how ubicomp is changing the way people interact with the world around them, as well as with each other. Several exciting ideas will be explored including cloud computing (both in the form we see today and the inevitable inclusion, just over the horizon, of mobile devices) and the power of online social networking. In today's always-on constantly-connected world, combined with smartphones powerful enough to run a business that fit in your pocket, we are on course for a quantum leap in the way things are done and how people interact with one another.
11:20Powering the Future: The Physics of Fusion
Dr Melanie Windridge

Find out how the reaction that powers the sun could provide a clean energy source for the future. This exciting, interactive talk builds on everyday physics to explain groundbreaking research. Dr Windridge will discuss: the physics behind the fusion reaction that powers the sun; how physicists are trying to replicate the fusion reaction in massive experiments; and, the potential for harnessing the energy produced in the fusion reaction as a future alternative to fossil fuels. With hands-on demonstrations we will explore the challenges of creating facilities that can withstand the high temperatures of the sun in order to create the fusion reaction on earth.
12:20End of day three

* Please note: The lectures at the Royal Institution will be held in the historical Faraday Lecture Theatre. Due to the steep rake of the venue taller visitors may struggle slightly; seating with more leg room can be found in the outer seats of the middle section (lower tier).