Tag Archives: Physics

University of Hull offers clusters of science and engineering PhD Scholarships

University of Hull sign

We are pleased to announce 15 science and engineering full PhD Scholarships for 2016 entry.

The University of Hull are offering over 40 Scholarships in total to UK, EU and international students, as part of its ongoing commitment to research.

The PhD Scholarships will be combined with investments in Post-Doctoral positions to build robust expertise in key research cluster areas. Each of the PhD projects are distinct and many are interdisciplinary or in collaboration with industry.

The Scholarships cover full fees for UK, EU and international students. UK and EU students also receive a tax-free maintenance stipend that is in line with Research Councils UK Doctoral Training Centre levels. The closing date for applications is 29 February 2016.

Professor Dan Parsons, Associate Dean for Research and Enterprise in the Faculty of Science and Engineering, said: “We are delighted to announce these PhD Scholarship opportunities and to  build a robust research environment around these important clusters of research. We look forward to many applications for these excellent projects.”

PhD Scholarships

The Scholarships offered within the Faculty of Science and Engineering are available in the following five research clusters:

Gender, Place and Memory, 1400-1900

These PhD projects form part of the Gender, Place and Memory 1400-1900 research cluster at the University of Hull which draws in academics and researchers from History, English and Geography:

Women walking the world: emotions, place and memory in English court records, 1400-1800

Women, property and the law: mapping sexual inequality in the East Riding of Yorkshire, 1708-1974

3D Printing of Bio-inspired Composites as a Cross-Cutting Capability

We are investing significant resources in creating a 3D printing research cluster which combines the expertise of chemists, engineers and physicists to create novel materials through rational design.

3D printing of functionally graded complex composites

3D printing: Bio-inspired self-healing composite materials

Catastrophic Flows

Catastrophic flows have shaped and reshaped our physical environment, and the humans that reside on them since the planet was first formed. The lessons we glean from these epic events in the past have the power to change the way we predict and survive future occurrences.

Scaling flood events and ecohydraulics in experimental models

Coastal system resilience under increased storminess

Simulating catastrophic flows on Mars

Quantifying the sedimentation of ignimbrites: understanding the behaviour of pyroclastic density currents through experimental modelling

Origins: From the Sub-Atomic to Clusters of Galaxies

We are pleased to announce four new PhD studentships within the University’s E.A. Milne Centre for Astrophysics, spanning the sub-atomic to the largest scales in the Universe.

Nucleosynthetic yields and artificial stars

The cosmic distance ladder

Star formation in cluster galaxies

Extreme solar flares

Directed Self Assembly

These PhD positions are part of a major research initiative from the University of Hull to create a directed self-assembly cluster combining the expertise of chemists and physicists to create novel materials.

Directed self-assembly for metamaterials: physics and devices: geometries for nanophotonic applications

Directed self-assembly for metamaterials: physics and devices: optical and electrical properties of self-assembled metamaterials

Novel chiroptical organic/metal nano systems


For more information about the University of Hull Scholarships 2016, and to apply, visit www.hull.ac.uk/phd

New brochure showcases world-leading science and engineering research

A new brochure from the University of Hull offers an insight into the pioneering research undertaken by staff and postgraduate research students across its Faculty of Science and Engineering.

Research in Focus 2016 showcases the work of a range of leading-edge researchers and its real life impact.

Following interest in the first publication of this type from 2014 – ‘Inspired in Hull’, which highlights examples of exciting research from all departments in the Faculty – the new brochure also features PhD students describing the research they are undertaking, and a selection of exciting research news from across the Faculty.

Research in Focus 2016The publication, available online or in print format, has already been shared with other Universities and their students, from as far afield as China and Malaysia.

Professor Stephen Kelly, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering said: “Our 2016 research brochure highlights some of the novel and exciting research being conducted across the Faculty. I am immensely proud of our diverse and collaborative research that is addressing real world problems, from understanding how the Earth is responding to climate change to breakthroughs in ‘bench-to-bedside’ cancer treatments.”

Professor Dan Parsons, Associate Dean for Research and Enterprise, added: “We are committed to conducting excellent, world-leading research that addresses critical challenges in today’s world. Our most recent 2014 Research Excellence Framework results reflect the work of our staff, researchers and research students in pushing the boundaries of science and engineering that is making a difference in the world.”

Research in Focus also includes the latest information about the high quality research environment at the University, and the investment in facilities such as the world-class Brynmor Jones Library and the Allam Building which houses a revamped biomedical research facility with two research centres – one focusing on cardiovascular and metabolic disease and the other on cancer. These are just two of the areas in which the University has an international reputation.

To request free printed copies of the brochure please email science@hull.ac.uk

Solving the mystery of nitrogen throughout the Universe

A spiral galaxy’s brights and darks

Researchers in the E.A. Milne Centre for Astrophysics at the University of Hull have made a breakthrough in solving the mystery of the origin of nitrogen, one of the most important elements for life in the Universe.

The study, led by Dr Marco Pignatari with Professor Brad Gibson, PhD student Chris Jordan and scientists from across the world, analysed fossils of stars that died before the Sun was formed, to discover how nitrogen was produced.

The research is published in the leading academic journal, Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Dr Pignatari said, “Nitrogen is an element fundamental for our life, but we do not yet have a good understanding of how it was made in stars in different epochs of the Galaxy.”

“Furthermore, its isotopic composition observed in the solar system does not match with what theoretical stellar models have predicted so far. We were clearly missing something, it was a mystery.”

The work of the research team may have finally solved this unknown.

Over the last 30 years, a huge number of different types of anomalous dust particles have been identified in old pristine meteorites. Their chemical composition, analysed in a laboratory, found that it does not belong to the solar system.

The analysis of the unknown particles suggested that the small grains originate from a time before the Sun (presolar), and condensed around old stars that died.

Pre-solar grain

A presolar silicon carbide grain mounted on a gold foil. Credit: R. Trappitsch, Chicago Center for Cosmochemistry, The University of Chicago

Because of their peculiar abundance, some of this dust has been identified as relics of ancient massive supernovae – massive explosions of stars.

The interpretation of their signatures can provide the most direct information about how these spectacular explosions work.

The analysis of the presolar dust not only gave the researchers insight into supernova explosions, but also what happened to their parent star before the explosion.

The conditions in these stars were found to be more extreme and complicated than what was expected, with mixtures of hot stellar matter with colder material coming from the outside.

Pignatari said, “It is like dropping cold water on a frying pan just out from the cooking plate. Something similar happened in stars, allowing nuclear reactions to make a lot more nitrogen, including its more elusive and rare stable isotope. This is exactly what is needed to explain observations, in the early galaxy and in the solar system.”

Dr Pignatari believes these exciting first results are just the beginning, and more research and new discoveries will continue at the E.A. Milne Centre.

Dr Pignatari said, “Presolar grains have much more to tell about supernovae and what elements they made. They gave us a lead to follow, and at the Milne Centre we will pursue that lead until the end of the trail.”

Top image: Hubble sees a spiral galaxy’s brights and darks. Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA and S. Smartt (Queen’s University Belfast); Acknowledgement: Robert Gendler

Launch of new astrophysics centre at University of Hull

A hungry starburst galaxy. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

This article was originally published by the University of Hull’s press office.

Cutting-edge research in astrophysics has been given a major boost with the opening of a dedicated centre at the University.

The E.A. Milne Centre for Astrophysics, named in honour of the Hull-born physicist and mathematician Edward Arthur Milne, will officially open this week.

Around a dozen members of the astrophysicist’s family have travelled from across the world to be in Hull for the opening, on Friday.

The centre’s aim is to take a fresh and dynamic approach to the big questions that have fascinated humankind for thousands of years.

Arthur Milne aged around 30

Arthur Milne aged around 30

Professor Brad Gibson, director of the centre, said: “Astrophysics is one of the most exciting and powerful enablers of science, technology, engineering, and maths, and that grass-roots attraction is what has led the University to invest strategically and significantly in this area.

“We wanted the research, teaching, and public engagement activities in astrophysics to have a focal point around which to rally, and the realisation that one of the great scientists of the 20th century – Arthur Milne – was born, raised, and schooled in Hull, at Hymers College, provided a unique opportunity.

“Working closely with Milne’s family, we laid out a plan to establish a strong regional presence in the field.  In a very brief period of time, we have grown from nil, to now have 14 staff and postgraduate students.”

Current research spans the physics of the sun through to the origin of the largest structures in the universe, as well as an investigation into the locations within the Milky Way galaxy most likely to harbour complex biological life.

Prof Gibson said: “The Milne Centre’s staff have been drawn from across the globe, cementing its international flavour and reputation, including the Ukraine, Australia, Italy, Germany, Thailand, and of course, the United Kingdom.”

Family members of Arthur Milne, including daughter Meg Weston Smith, grandchildren and cousins are travelling from as far away as Australia to be at the launch of the Centre on Friday, which will be held at the Art Gallery of the University of Hull’s Brynmor Jones Library.

Amongst the 70 guests will be the Deputy Lord Major of Hull, Hull East MP Karl Turner, representatives from the Royal Navy, and the President of the Royal Astronomical Society – a post that Milne himself held during World War II.

Physics courses at the University have a 100 per cent student satisfaction rate, according to the to the 2015 National Student Survey. The department also topped the Guardian University Guide 2016 when it comes to ‘Added Value’, which compares students’ degree results with their entry qualifications, scoring a maximum 10 out of 10.

Graduates are in high demand across a variety of industries, with many establishing successful careers in some of the world’s best-known laboratories and research facilities.

For more information about the E.A Milne Centre for Astrophysics, visit www.hull.ac.uk/milne

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.”

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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