Sixth Form Evening Lectures

How Physics and Maths Make a Difference in the World

2020 Lectures pending

We’ll be back in autumn 2020 with another series of lectures – watch this space. In the meantime, you can find out what you missed in 2019, below!

Physics and Maths Matter! are a series of Thursday evening talks (5:30 -6:30 pm) for sixth-form students at Northumbria University. Each talk is focused around different topic and aims to show why physics and maths matter and where they can lead. We encourage Y10 onwards students with an interest in these areas to attend. Teachers, parents/carers are welcome to come along. Below you can find information about the lectures available for 2019.

Week 1 - 03 OCT 2019

Renewables & Thermal Energy Storage

Dr Carolina Costa – Department of Mechanical and Construction Engineering at Northumbria University

Clean energy for all is part of the global sustainable development goals. Therefore, increase the share of renewable energy and improve the energy efficiency of different systems are topics of great interest. In this context, thermal energy storage technologies can play an important role in the renewable energy systems by facilitating temporal shifts to meet electricity and heat demands. During this lecture, we will introduce the use of latent heat thermal energy storage in concentrated solar thermal power systems.

Book here

Week 2 - 10 OCT 2019

Faster commercial flights:  counteracting flow instabilities

Dr Madeleine Combrinck – Department of Mechanical and Construction Engineering at Northumbria University

Commercial aircraft cruise speed is currently limited by a condition referred to as the buffeting boundary.  In this region of transonic flow, instabilities are causing significant fluctuations in the lift properties in certain situations.

Addressing the instabilities will result in safer, faster and more economical flights.

In this talk we will discuss the origin of the instabilities, the effects is has on the aircraft wing structure and possible abatement strategies to overcome it.

Book here

Week 3 - 17 OCT 2019

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/nanocosm 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.

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Week 4 - 24 OCT 2019

Liquid repellency

Dr Ciro Semprebon – Department of Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering at Northumbria University

Interaction of liquids with solid surfaces is of paramount importance in everyday life and technological applications ranging from medicine and biology to surface coatings for technical applications. In this talk I will describe the fundamental physics laws governing the problem, the most popular strategies to control the affinity between liquids and solids, and recent advances in the design of smart materials.

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Week 5 - 07 NOV 2019

Electrifying Women: the long history of women in engineering

Professor Graeme Gooday & Emily Rees – School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science – University of Leeds

One hundred years ago, the very first Women’s Engineering Society (WES) was founded in Britain – a society which is still active today – yet Britain now has one of the lowest rates of women engineers in Europe. This lecture will debunk the myth that women have always been excluded from engineering by highlighting the rich and varied contributions of women to the field since the late Victorian era, including pioneering inventions and patents.

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Week 6 - 14 NOV 2019

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.

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Week 7 - 21 NOV 2019

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).

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WEEK 8 - 24 NOV 2019

The magnetic sun

Dr Stephane Regnier – Department of Mathematics Physics and Electrical Engineering at Northumbria University 

The Sun is our closest star and plays an important role in the evolution of the planets and life in the solar system. During this lecture, we will look at how the Sun’s magnetic field is key to understanding this, producing magnetic explosions (solar flares) that expel high-energy particles into the solar system and interact with the Earth’s magnetic shield (magnetosphere). Further, we will discuss how physicists make measurements of the Sun and are working towards forecasting the Sun’s behaviour.

Book here

How to find us

All talks will be held in Northumbria University’s Ellison Building, Block A room 102a.