Institute of Physics lecture

The Physics Department took a group of Sixth Form physicists to the Clarendon Laboratory at Oxford University to see Prof Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who co-discovered the first radio pulsars, credited as one of the most significant scientific achievements of the 20th century.

In this fascinating talk Prof Burnell updated the audience on recent developments in observing rapidly changing phenomena throughout our Galaxy and beyond. This included recent discoveries of ‘orphan planets’, violently separated from their home solar system by passing stars, as well as the unexpected detection of numerous colliding super-massive black holes.

The talk really opened pupils’ eyes to the rapidly evolving techniques of this type of astronomy and the challenges of processing vast quantities of big-data through machine learning. The talk is one of many physics and engineering lectures offered by the Department over the year, with other talks including subjects as diverse as weapon design, vehicle aerodynamics, aircraft carrier construction and quantum metaphysics.

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