April 20, 2018, by Philip Moriarty

Discover Physics!

This a guest post from Hannah Coleman, first year Physics undergraduate and, along with Jo Melton, coordinator of social media for the School.

Last week, fifty sixth-form students from all over the UK descended on the School of Physics and Astronomy for a two-day residential event. Now in its second year, Discover Physics, which is free to attend, encourages students interested in physics to take a closer look at what studying physics at university is really like.

After registration at 6pm, students settled down to an informal dinner and mixed with other participants and current students, before being whisked off to an evening lecture given by Prof Ed Copeland on ‘The State of our Universe’. This was followed by a lively Q&A session (encouraged in part by a ‘best question’ incentive…) with some very challenging questions from the audience.

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After checking into University halls of residence, it was time for games and snacks in the Junior Common Room before bed.

Following an early start and a big cooked breakfast in the dining hall, it was onwards to Physics & Astronomy for the first of the day’s activities. Kicking off the day with the Becoming a research physicist session were presentations from current post-doc, Alex Summerfield, and current PhD student, Rachel Asquith.

This was followed by three research-themed workshops led by Prof Philip Moriarty (“Is drumming fractal?”), Dr Janette Dunn (‘Can humans choose random numbers?’) and Dr Steven Bamford (‘Spiral Spotter – galaxy evolution, citizen science and computer vision’) in which students had the opportunity to do science in a university style setting, with help from student ambassadors and staff.

Students also had the chance to explore their surroundings on a University campus tour (led by our student ambassadors), and unwind (a little) during lunch while attempting some Fermi Problems (back of the envelope calculations), with the most accurate answers securing the winning team Amazon gift vouchers.

The day was rounded off with a presentation/stand up routine from one of our student ambassadors, Raj Jadav, followed by a general Q&A and the eagerly awaited prize-giving for best question.

After all certificates of participation were distributed to their owners, it was time for our visitors to go home; hopefully with new friendships forged and a greater insight into physics.

A big thanks to all staff and students involved for helping put on such a great event!

If you attended this year and have further questions, or you want to know more about future events like this, please email us on physicsfaq@nottingham.ac.uk

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