Sixth Form Evening Lectures

How Physics and Maths Make a Difference in the World

Physics and Maths Matter! are a series of Thursday evening lectures (5:30 -6:30 pm) mainly targeted at sixth-form students and teachers.

However we also encourage Y10/Y11 students interested in STEM subjects to attend.

Each lecture is focused around a different topic and aims to show why physics, maths, engineering and geography matter and where they can lead.

Our 2020 programme, including dates and instructions is how to register and join, can be found below!

How to register and join the online evening lectures


You need to register to attend the NUSTEM Evening Lectures, by getting FREE (individual) e-tickets from eventbrite. To get your e-ticket you need to:

  1. Click on the Register here button featured at the bottom of each lecture’ description further down this page;
  2. Register and get your FREE e-ticket from eventbrite;
  3.  You will receive an email with your e-ticket;
  4. This email will contain the link to access the online evening lecture;
  5. You will also get email reminders ahead of the lecture with the links to access the online evening lecture;

NOTE: We strongly suggest you to create an account with eventbrite in order to easily access the links for the online lectures.

Joining the Evening Lectures

The evening lectures are going to be live streamed using Microsoft Teams.

To join, click on the link to your event (found on your e-ticket or confirmation email).

On the Microsoft Teams webpage, choose the option Watch on the web instead.

On the welcome to the live event webpage, use the option Join anonymously.

Throughout the lecture you will be able to ask questions to our presenters using a moderated Q&A.

To find more about Microsoft Teams Live check the following video:

You can join the lectures from any mobile device, laptop and desktop.

2020 programme

Lecture 1 – 08 OCT

Space Weather

Professor Clare Watt

Department of Mathematics Physics and Electrical Engineering at Northumbria University

The space surrounding the Sun, planets and moons in our solar system is not quite a vacuum, but a sparse domain of high energy electrons, protons and other ions. The amount and energy of these particles is controlled not by gravity, but by electromagnetic fields which have their sources on the Sun or other magnetised bodies, such as Earth. Changes in our space environment are known as space weather, and in this lecture I’ll describe its effects on our 21st Century technology and our efforts to forecast it.

Register here

Lecture 2 – 22 OCT

Scanning Electron Microscopy

Dr Pietro Maiello

Department of Mathematics Physics and Electrical Engineering at Northumbria University

The SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) is a remarkable piece of equipment used widely in materials science to characterise and explore the micro/nanocosmo through the use of accelerated electrons. The technique was developed nearly 90 years ago and today it is extensively used in many fields of science and technology as tool to better understand, develop and explore the small world around us not accessible by our senses.

Register here

Lecture 3 – 05 NOV

Interfacial science in material design

Dr Dominika Zabiegaj

Department of Mechanical and Construction Engineering at Northumbria University

The role of interfacial science is to design materials with unique properties by manipulating their physicochemical properties. In this talk Dominika will talk about a few of these materials with a focus on foams and emulsions as templates to achieve porous media with many applications: from water purification to bone replacement and bio-infiltration.

Register here

Lecture 4 – 19 NOV

The thrill to drill and the secrets from the mud

Dr Ola Kwiecien

Department of Geography at Northumbria University


Although modern lakes cover only roughly 3.7% of the non-glaciated Earth surface and contain only 0.013% of the global water, their sediments record millions of years of climate and environmental history. This history is fascinating, but often difficult to recover and to decipher. I will explain how we retrieve and work with lake sediments and what we can learn from them.

Register here

Lecture 5 – 03 DEC

The complex beauty of fractal geometry

Dr Matteo Sommacal 

Department of Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering at Northumbria University

In this lecture, Matteo will explain, with the aid of some computer graphics, how Fractals can be defined as geometrical objects characterised by two properties: self-similarity, and non-integer dimension. Differently from the ‘smooth’ figures of classical Geometry, such as circles or triangles, Fractals turn out to be ‘rough’ and infinitely complex.

Register here

Lecture 6 – 17 DEC

From Lasers to Masers

Dr Juna Sathian

Department of Mathematics Physics Electrical Engineering at Northumbria University

Lasers are used everywhere from CD players, industrial cutting to laser eye surgery. But before the laser, there was the maser and it produces microwaves instead of light in a laser. However, due to its extreme cooling requirement maser never became as widespread as the laser. In this lecture, we will explore briefly the history of laser and maser followed by the recent developments in solid-state laser technology (in Alexandrite), and the newly invented room-temperature maser (in Diamond).

Register here