It’s the little things that make a big difference

Sticky Fingers – Helping out Debra during putting up research posters in the Isaac Newton Building.


Physics Seminar: David Wilkinson

Study Physics

There will be a physics seminar on Tuesday the 14th of November 2017, 14:00, in INB3305 (Isaac Newton Building): Forensic Physics by David Wilkinson, Midlands Regional Officer of the Institute of Physics.

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Summer Students Excited by Quantum Dots

Experimental Nanophysics & Nanotechnology Group

Dr Matt Booth was delighted to supervise two of our undergraduate Physics students over the summer as part of the University of Lincoln ‘UROS’ scheme.

Niall Garry and Robert Sharp were evaluating the effects of compositional perturbations on the optical and electronic properties of colloidal CuInS2 nanocrystals.

We were kindly hosted for two days by Dr Vin Dhanak in the Nanomaterials Characterisation Lab at the Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy. Both the valence and core electron states of copper poor CuInS2 and Fe-doped CuInS2 were measured by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.

When under UV illumination the copper poor nanocrystals showed up to an order of magnitude increase in photoluminescence emission, while the Fe-doped suspensions showed a systematic red-shift with increased Fe content (see images below).


Both Niall and Robert are extending the work they undertook during their UROS projects for their third year dissertation projects.

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Summer UROS project: getting to the root of high dental implant rejection rates

Experimental Nanophysics & Nanotechnology Group

Our third year Physics student Hannah Thurlbeck is currently working on the surface characteristics and composition of dental implants with reference to their effectiveness and success rate. Following on from a summer UROS project in which she characterised existing commercial implants with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), she will be depositing nanostructured materials onto similar surfaces for comparison.

Hannah has found that the surface roughness is consistent across all three commercial implants analysed. However, the types of surface anomalies found were not uniform. In two of the implants organic surface defects were identified by the resulting charge build up under the SEM as show in the first image, below. In the third implant tested such surface defects were not found, although there were still defects present as seen in the second image


InorganicIt was confirmed by EDX that the dental implant was made of titanium as…

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13 Things I learned about Lecturing to Large Audiences from Richard Ellis

I am annoyed at myself for missing Richard Ellis’s lecture on Wednesday 18th October 2017 at the University of Lincoln because I spent too much time with an external visitor from the Institute of Physics. 
I had booked with the explicit intention of attending. To make me feel worse Andrea Floris told me that I had missed an enthralling and extremely useful lecture.
Here are some points that you may find useful from the notes circulated.
  1. Arrive early. Check out the lecture room and equipment. Get everything ready before the students arrive. Make sure the room is well ventilated. 
  2. Think about how you can maximise engagement with the students.
  3. Too many and cramped slides can lead to diminishing returns. Make the slide clear. Font size large enough for everyone to see from the back of the lecture theatre/room.
  4. Use pauses, exercises and questions for listeners to think, reflect and do. 
  5. Make eye contact with your audience.
  6. Keep hydrated
  7. Pay attention to your posture, movement and positioning .
  8. Check ventilation and lighting in the room.
  9. Use conversational style. This helps the audience to engage.
  10. Tell stories. Give examples to illustrate, reinforce and anchor your points. 
  11. Consider fonts, colours, videos, whiteboards and positioning to get greatest clarity and engagement with the audience.
  12. Break long lectures into smaller chunks. Incorporate stretch breaks, comfort breaks etc. 
  13. Project your voice so that the people furthest away can hear you. Use microphones if necessary.
If you have great tips for lecturing to large audiences then please put them in comments section.

Historic Opening of the Isaac Newton Building at Lincoln by Sir Mark Walport

I was privileged to tour the our amazing new home with Sir Mark Walport, CEO Designate of the UKRI and Chief Scientific Advisor to the government, Professor Mary Stewart, Vice Chancellor, Professor Toby Wilkinson, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Professor Libby John, Pro Vice Chancellor.
The building is named after the world-famous mathematician and physicist who was born in Grantham, the building cost £28 million. It is the new home of the university’s Schools of Engineering, Maths and Physics and Computer Science. It houses the world leading Siemens training centre.
Sir Mark Walport with Vice Chancellor Professor Mary Stewart

Professor Libby John, Pro Vice Chancellor for College of Science

Siemens Training Centre

The hidden world of nanotechnology in plants

Flowers have a secret signal that’s specially tailored for bees so they know where to collect nectar. And new research has just given us a greater insight into how this signal works. Nanoscale patterns on the petals reflect light in a way that effectively creates a “blue halo” around the flower that helps attract the bees and encourages pollination

What Sir Mark Walport taught me during his visit to the University of Lincoln

I was privileged to witness Professor Sir Mark Walport opening today of the magnificent new Isaac Newton Building. This is the home of the Schools of Mathematics and Physics; Engineering; and Computer Science. Sir Mark gave the “Great Lives” lecture attended by over 400 students, industrialists, academics and important dignitaries. He gave a candid and entertaining reflection on his career ranging from his early interest in medical sciences to chair of the Welcome Trust to government’s chief scientific advisor through to being appointed as the CEO designate of newly formed United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Sir Mark Walport

Here are 10 things I learned from his visit.

  1. Sir Mark emphasised the importance of being curious and enthusiastic about things.   These drove his early interest in medical science. This is a key quality for any researcher regardless of the field of interest. It is the starting point in any discovery. The great physicist expressed this in the following way. “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” —Albert Einstein.
  2. To have major impact on society you need to ask big and bold questions that fascinate you. The answers to these questions will help large numbers of people in society. Focus on the big questions in your field of interest. They could be related to issues of significant interest most people such as health, economy, environment, space, energy and communication.
  3. A researcher needs to be humble.  As you climb the ladder you graduate from knowing a lot about one thing to knowing a little about many things and eventually to knowing nothing about everything. Despite his esteemed status in UK and World science, Sir Mark’s humility and down to earth attitude is strikingly attractive.
  4. To succeed it is essential to have mentors throughout your life to help, encourage and support you. Sir Mark named numerous mentors who helped him along the way from school teachers to PhD supervisor to heads of research and senior colleagues. Fittingly during his lecture in the new building Sir Mark quoted Isaac Newton; “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” It is important to put your best student on your top research project. You should encourage and celebrate their progress.
  5. By putting all the funding bodies such as EPSRC, BBRS, Innovate UK, etc under one roof of UKRI, Sir Mark hoped to encourage, support and energise multidisciplinary research in the UK. The Isaac Newton Building houses three schools in a seamless manner. This will enable conversations and shared access to world class facilities for this to occur at the University of Lincoln.
  6. Great careers are often un-planned. Sir Mark referred to his career as being un-planned. He modestly stated that the reason he got to chair funding panels was because he read all the papers meticulously. This gave him a greater insight than other people. This emphasises the importance of doing your homework and preparing well in advance – a characteristic shared by all the greats in any field.
  7. For great research to occur you need excellent facilities, infrastructure, and environment and be surrounded by great people. These need to be constantly improved to progress research and develop talent.
  8. Sir Mark emphasised the importance of teamwork. To go from an idea to its translation into a product or treatment a wide variety of people need to champion different stages of the cycle. A researcher making the discovery is often not the best people to develop and commercialise the discovery. Different skills and experiences are needed to take the idea to the marketplace and make it successful.
  9. Brexit was mentioned and Sir Mark was positive about the need to continue to work with people internationally and collaborate to advance bigger causes in science and many UK companies are operating globally. He hoped that many opportunities will still be available to UK scientists.
  10. The focus of research funding should be on excellence. The key question is, how will excellence and funding diffuse through to the Universities outside the Russell Group? Will the focus on the higher ranking universities starve and drive research and researchers out of other institutions to outside UK?

I found the visit illuminating and it was great to rub shoulders to one of UK’s top scientists.

Star Wars and Physics

Theory of Complex Matter

With a new Star wars episode airing this week, it is an opportunity to reflect on what we understand about the force in Star Wars and elsewhere…

Source: Star Wars and Physics

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International accolade for Lincoln’s leading algebraist

Congratulations. Great achievement. I am indeed honoured to be working with world leading mathematician and a fantastic gentleman in my team at Lincoln. If anyone wants to study Mathematucs and be taught by great mathematicians then University of Lincoln should be your No 1 choice.

Maths & Physics News

Dr Evgeny Khukhro and The President of the University of Brasilia Professor Márcia Abrahão Moura

On 3 July a ceremony was held in University of Brasilia on occasion of bestowing on Evgeny Khukhro the title of Professor Honoris Causa.

The ceremony began with the British national anthem, followed by the national anthem of Brazil. Then Dr Emerson de Melo delivered a presentation on behalf ofthe Department of Mathematics for the case of Evgeny Khukhro’s title. The President (Reitora) of the University Professor Márcia Abrahão Moura declared the Council’s decision of bestowing on Dr Evgeny Khukhro the title of Professor Honoris Causa, presented Evgeny Khukhro with the correspoding certificate, and adorned him with the academic stole in the colours of University of Brasilia. After that Dr Khukhro gave a short talk. He thanked the Reitora, other dignitaries present, colleagues and guests for the honour of the title, expressed his deep respect…

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