Monthly Archives: September 2015

University of Hull scientists enthral at British Science Festival 2015

University of Hull sign

Scientists from the University of Hull have enthralled, enlightened and entertained visitors at this year’s British Science Festival.

The Festival, hosted by the University of Bradford and supported by Siemens, took place between 7 – 10 September, with events on campus and across the city of Bradford. Read more

Research grant awarded to continue development of DNA tools for monitoring fish in our lakes using only samples of water

Biologists at the University of Hull pioneering the development of environmental DNA (eDNA) tools for biodiversity monitoring have received a major funding boost.

Dr Bernd Hänfling and Dr Lori Lawson Handley, researchers in the Evolutionary Biology Group, have been awarded £56,000 from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency to continue developing eDNA tools that can detect what species of fish are found in lakes.

The grant follows on from their latest research funded by a £29,000 grant from the , which demonstrated for the first time that eDNA accurately reflects the biodiversity of fish in large lakes. The new project aims to use eDNA determine what proportions of fish are in the water and what the best and most efficient strategy is for collecting water samples are.

Dr Bernd Hänfling and Dr Lori Lawson Handley

Dr Bernd Hänfling and Dr Lori Lawson Handley

Read more

University of Hull and Diamond Light Source fund major PhD Scholarship

The School of Engineering have been awarded funding for a major PhD Scholarship, jointly funded by the University of Hull and Diamond Light Source, the UK National Synchrotron X-ray facility.

The project, which begins on 1 October, will study novel melt-processing methods for recycled aluminium alloys.

Aluminium alloys, after steels, are the second most widely-used and strategically important metallic materials in the world.  There are a huge amount of aluminium alloy based scrap materials from mixed sources such as aircraft, vehicles and demolished buildings contains a variety of alloying elements and contaminants.

The technological challenge is that most recycled aluminium alloys have neither the quality nor the properties needed for high performance structural applications.

The project will study the fundamentals of separation and neutralisation of multiple impurity elements in recycled aluminium materials, using novel melt processing techniques.

Principal Investigator Dr Jiawei Mi said, “This studentship is a new funding scheme to support the joint research initiatives between the UK universities and the national laboratory. The chosen candidate is required to work at least one year during this studentship in the Joint Engineering, Environmental and Processing beamline of Diamond Light Source”.

Image credit: Diamond Light Source, UK.

Professor Appointed to Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics Advisory Committee

Sharpest ever view of the Andromeda Galaxy

Professor Brad Gibson, Director of Research in the Department of Physics and Mathematics, has been appointed to the international advisory committee of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics (JINA).

JINA brings together diverse physicists’ expertise from around the world to address open scientific questions in nuclear physics and astrophysics.

Professor Brad Gibson‘s role on the committee will utilise his unique and specialist knowledge in the field of galaxy physics and the chemical evolution of galaxies.

Professor Brad Gibson

Professor Brad Gibson

Professor Gibson’s work in the field of galactic chemical evolution led to his development of an advanced suite of software which is now an industry-standard tool.

Using this software, Professor Gibson determined the likely locations in the Milky Way harbouring complex biological life, research that was acknowledged by National Geographic magazine as one of the top news stories of the year.

Professor Gibson said, “JINA is the driving force behind the world-wide effort aimed at pinpointing the origins of all the chemical elements. To be appointed to their International Advisory Committee and share responsibility for shaping the research priorities for the community is a truly surprising honour.”

Professor Gibson’s appointment comes ahead of the official opening of the University of Hull’s new E.A. Milne Centre for Astrophysics on 16th October, of which Professor Gibson is Director.

Professor Dan Parsons, Associate Dean for Research in the Faculty of Science and Engineering said, “This is fantastic news for the Faculty and the University and great recognition for the dynamic astrophysics grouping at Hull led by Professor Gibson.”

DNA reveals origins of stored cod from the wreck of the Mary Rose

Sinking of the the Mary Rose

A study led by researchers from the Universities of Hull, Cambridge and York has revealed the origins of cod bones from the Mary Rose, a Tudor warship which sank off Portsmouth in 1545.

DNA from the cod bones indicates the fish in the ship’s stores had been caught in surprisingly distant waters: the northern North Sea and the fishing grounds of Iceland, despite England having well developed local fisheries by the 16th century.

Test results from one of the sample bones have led researchers to suspect that some of the stored cod came from as far away as Newfoundland in eastern Canada. Read more

Five myths about gravitational waves

This article was originally published on The Conversation.

By Siri Chongchitnan, Lecturer in Mathematics

The scientists behind the BICEP2 (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) telescope, last year made an extraordinary claim that they had detected gravitational waves, which are ripples in space-time. Initially hailed as the most groundbreaking discovery of the century, it later proved a false alarm: the signal was merely galactic dust.

So are we likely to ever find gravitational waves? And would they really provide irrefutable evidence for the Big Bang? Here are five common myths and misconceptions about gravitational waves. Read more

The fate of the universe: heat death, Big Rip or cosmic consciousness?

The supermassive black holes are all that remains of galaxies once all protons decay, but even these giants are not immortal.

This piece was originally published on The Conversation.

By Kevin Pimbblet, Senior Lecturer in Physics

By piecing together an increasing number of clues, cosmologists are getting closer to understanding what the future and ultimate fate of the universe will be. And I’m afraid the news is not good. Star formation will cease and black holes will take over until they eventually evaporate into nothingness. There could even be a “Big Rip” on the horizon. But for those who don’t mind waiting another 101050 years or so, things may start to look up as a number of bizarre events could take place.

But before we consider random events in the very far future, let’s start with what we know about the past and the present. Read more

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