News archive

Inaugural lecture by Prof David Berman

On 14 November Prof. David Berman will give his inaugural lecture on “The symmetries of nature and hidden extra dimensions”. He will give an account of how our understanding of nature has progressed through a deeper understanding of its symmetries. By proposing extra, as yet undiscovered, dimensions to space these symmetries become explained by the geometry of the hidden space.

Congratulations to 2017 Physics Nobel Prize winners

The School of Physics and Astronomy offers warm congratulations to Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, recipients of this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics for their contributions to the detection of gravitational waves by LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory).

Cassini makes its dramatic exit

15 September.  At around 11:30 this morning the Cassini spacecraft sent its final signal to Earth as it plunged into the thick atmosphere of the planet Saturn, bringing to an end its 20-year voyage of discovery, a voyage that has provided scientists with a wealth of data about the ringed planet and its moons, and some of the most thought-provoking images ever captured.

We are first in London for overall student satisfaction

Physics and astronomy ranks first in London for overall student satisfaction according to the results of the 2017 National Student Survey (NSS), based on an overall satisfaction rating of 92%. The School has previously ranked first in London in the NSS in 2016, 2015, and 2014.

SKA Cosmology SWG Meeting

We will be hosting a Cosmology SWG meeting at Queen Mary, University of London, in December 2017. The aim of the meeting is to discuss various cosmology-relevant topics (e.g. recent changes to the SKA specifications), and to spend time working on collaborative projects within the focus groups (e.g. developing simulations, updating the Red Book, improving requirements documents).   


Next Undergraduate Open Day - 23rd and 24th June

Want to find out more about studying for a physics degree at QMUL?

Book a place on the University's next open day and come along to the department for taster talks, a session in our teaching laboratory, an observatory demo and more. Talk to staff and current students and get a real feel for what undergraduate life as a physicist is like.

Queen Mary astronomer on Time magazine list of 100 most influential people

Astronomer Guillem Anglada-Escudé of the School of Physics and Astronomy has been named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of 2016. His inclusion on this prestigious list, in the Pioneers category, recognises his discovery of the exoplanet Proxima b, in orbit around the nearest star to Earth (bar the Sun, of course).

Experimental Black Hole evaporation

Over the past decade it has become clear that one can, in analog systems, test Hawking's predition from 1974 that black holes have a temperature created by the properties of the metric near the horizon.

Stars get their discs in a twist

An international team of astronomers that includes Richard Nelson of Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have discovered a truly unusual example of planet formation around a star.

New Earth-like planet found around nearest star

Clear evidence of a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System, has been found by an international team of scientists led by astronomers at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

Top for Student Satisfaction in London

The School of Physics and Astronomy has been ranked first in London for overall satisfaction for the third year running in the 2016 National Student Survey (NSS 2016). 

The results of the nationwide poll of final year undergraduates are a reflection of the School’s commitment to provide a friendly and supportive learning environment with the highest quality of teaching.

Post exam open day - Undergraduate

Thinking again about where you'd like to study next year?

Join admissions staff and current students for a laid-back event designed to give you a second chance to find out about life as a student at the School of Physics and Astronomy at QMUL.

1.00pm - 3.00pm Thursday 14th July

Register for our Undergraduate Open Day

As part of a university-wide event, we're running demonstrations, talks, tours, activities and taster lectures over two days designed to give you an insight into life as a physics student. We'll also be on hand to answer questions about applications, study options and talk about what a physics degree from QMUL can do for your future!

Student blog gets underway

The School of Physics and Astronomy student blog has picked up momentum since its launch in February. The blog now features several stories by different student bloggers covering everything from MSc project choice and revision strategies to gender equality in physics and life as a student in London.

Gabriele Travaglini receives Bessel Award

Professor Gabriele Travaglini has been awarded one of the 2016 Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Awards of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The Bessel Award is given each year to researchers from all disciplines in recognition of their outstanding research record and exceptional future promise.

New video: MSc programmes in Astrophysics and Physics

Hear Simon and Alex, two of our current master's level students, talk about their work at the School of Physics and Astronomy. Find out about facilities, projects, academic supervision and taught modules as well as the inspiring nature of higher level physics and astronomy. 

New MSc Astrophysics scholarships

Students enrolling on an MSc in Astrophysics in 2016 are eligible to apply for a new scholarship scheme for both home/EU students and overseas students.

The 2 amounts of £2,250 (home/EU students) and one amount of £4,500 (overseas students) and are open to students with a first class bachelor's degree (or international equivalent) in related field.

LIGO’s cosmological revolution heralds new age for Queen Mary Physicists

Today’s announcement from LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory) concerning gravitational waves has rekindled excitement in the amazing predictions of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The detection of these waves provides experimental verification of Einstein’s relativity in even the most extreme circumstances, the collision of two black holes.

Postgraduate Open Evening - 10th Feb

We're running a postgraduate open evening on Wednesday the 10th Feb from 4.30 - 7.30.

If you're considering an MSc in Physics or Astrophysics, this is a great opportuntity to find out more. Join us for an evening of talks and a chance to chat to academic programme directors and admissions staff. 

Einsteins Legacy meeting

On the 28th and 29th of November we hosted a meeting to celebrate the 100th anniversary of general relativity. It was called Einstein's Legacy, and included plenary and public talks, as well as outreach events and a poster session. Around 500 people attended. Photos and videos can be found here.

School Colloquium: Antimatter particles in outer space

The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) experiment operates since May 2011 on board of the International Space Station to search for primordial anti-matter, to study the light anti-matter components in the Cosmic Rays (CR) and to perform a precision study of the CR composition and energy spectrum.

PhD Positions

The Astronomy Unit is now taking applications for PhD positions, to start in September 2016. The deadline is the 31st of January, and the minimum entry requirement is an upper second class degree in Physics, Astronomy or Mathematics. Available projects can be found here. Further details are available here.

Network Geometry

Networks are mathematical structures that are universally used to describe a large variety of complex systems such as the brain or the  Internet. Characterizing the geometrical properties of these networks  has become increasingly relevant for routing problems, inference and  data mining. In real growing networks, topological, structural and  geometrical properties emerge spontaneously from their dynamical rules.

National Student Survey Results 2015

Physics and Astronomy at Queen Mary University of London is ranked first in London for student satisfaction for the second year in a row, according to the results of a nationwide poll of final-year undergraduates.

STFC's Ernest Rutherford Fellowships

STFC's prestigious five-year fellowships are open to early career researchers of any nationality in the areas of Astronomy, Solar and Planetary Science, Cosmology, Particle Astrophysics and Particle Physics (including String Theory).

Juno Champion

QMUL’s School of Physics and Astronomy has been awarded Juno Champion Status by the Institute of Physics (IOP) in recognition of action they have taken to address the under-representation of women in university physics.

Quantum photonics with spins in semiconductor nanostructures

Electron and hole spins can be confined in a variety of semiconductor nanostructures, including quantum dots, nanowires or monolayers. These spins can have long coherence times and can be addressed using ultra-fast optical techniques. This makes them very suitable for quantum photonics, which promises advances in fields such as quantum communication, sensing and computation.

Sino-British workshop on molecular magnetism

As part of the Queen Mary University of London and Peking University joint research project on Molecular Magnetism, we will be holding a 1-day workshop to disseminate key results of the project, and open up a wider debate in the UK and Chinese scientific communities on open problems in molecular magnetism. Presentations will be given by academics and researchers involved in the project, as well as those from external institutions.

UK Cosmology Meeting

On the 27th February, the cosmology group in the Astronomy Unit hosted the UK Cosmology Meeting. This is a triannual informal meeting of the UK theoretical cosmology community and features short talks from young and experienced researchers alike. The meeting was a huge success with roughly 60 cosmologists attending from as far away as Edinburgh.


In the laboratories of Airbus Defence and Space Ltd, in Stevenage (UK), engineers and scientists are developing the ExoMars Rover, which will be sent to Mars in 2018. One of the objectives of the ExoMars mission, a joint enterprise of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), is to search for possible bio-signatures of life on Mars.

2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The School of Physics and Astronomy has strongly contributed to the excellent results obtained in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) by QMUL, which has been ranked 9th among multi-faculty institutions in the UK.


Abstract : Some 40 years ago Hawking found a remarkable contradiction: if we accept the standard behavior of gravity in regions of low curvature, then the evolution of black holes will violate quantum mechanics. Resolving this paradox would require a basic change in our understanding of spacetime and/or quantum theory. In recent years the paradox has found an interesting resolution through string theory.

Astrophysics in Antarctica - Extreme Environment for Extreme Discoveries

Antarctica has always been a fascinating place for us. Especially as the extreme environment of Antarctica is suitable for extreme science, such as neutrino and cosmic microwave background measurements. Queen Mary are hosting leading scientists from the UK who are working on astrophysics research on Antarctica. They will share their stories of extraordinary science and extraordinary discoveries!

National Student Survey Results 2014

Physics and Astronomy at Queen Mary University of London is ranked joint 1st in London with an overall student satisfaction rate of 94 per cent, according to the latest results of a nationwide poll of final-year undergraduates.

Saturn’s rings reveal how to make a moon

Writing in the journal Icarus this week, Professor Carl Murray from Queen Mary’s Astronomy Unit reports that recently discovered disturbances at the very edge of Saturn's outer bright A ring result from a small icy object that formed within the ring and which may be in the process of migrating out of it. They have nicknamed the object, ‘Peggy’.

SPA Colloquium : Showbiz Physics

Abstract : You've heard of Medical Physics, Geophysics, Astrophysics... but have you ever thought about the vital role physics plays in showbiz? Alix Pryde is the BBC's Director of Distribution. She also has a PhD in solid state physics, completed under the supervision of QML's Professor Martin Dove. She'll talk about her career journey from crystals to crystal sets and their modern equivalents.

The National Student Survey

The National Student Survey 2014 (NSS), of final year undergraduate students, officially opens at QM on Monday 13 January 2014 and closes on Wednesday 30 April 2014. The NSS website goes live on Monday 13 January, where students can complete the survey online: Students cannot complete the survey prior to Monday 13 January.

Physics Outreach draws in the crowds at largest ever Stargazing Live event

An estimated 1000 visitors flocked to Queen Mary’s inspirational Lego Universe stand at the BBC’s flagship Stargazing Live, last Thursday. Members of the public were led through a whistle-stop tour of the early universe by enthusiastic undergraduate Physics Ambassadors with the help of LEGO quarks and electrons, before helping to build a colourful two metre-wide LEGO spiral galaxy.

Junk the Jargon

On Wednesday 27 February, ten PhD students from QM competed in the annual Junk the Jargon competition. Junk the Jargon challenges participants to communicate their research topic in an engaging and fun way to a broad audience - in just three minutes.

Juno Practitioner Status

The School of Physics and Astronomy is pleased to announced that it has been awarded Juno Practitioner status by the Institute of Physics. The aim of Juno is to recognise and reward departments that can demonstrate they have taken action to address the under-representation of women in university physics and to encourage

Mini-jets make the Top 10!

Work carried out by planetary scientists in the Astronomy Unit has been chosen as one of the Top 10 Science Highlights of NASA's Cassini mission in 2012.  Nick Attree, Carl Murray, Nick Cooper and Gareth Williams reported their work on trails, or "mini-jets", in Saturn's peculiar F ring in April 2012.  The image was taken with Cassini's narrow angle camera just after the spacecraft entered orbit around Saturn on 1 July 2004.

VISTA creates huge nine-gigapixel zoomable image of 84 million stars

A nine-gigapixel zoomable image of 84 million stars has been created by an international team of astronomers using the UK-built VISTA infrared survey telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory. The image is so large that, if printed with the resolution of the average book, it would be nine metres long and seven metres tall.

Glittering Trails

PASADENA, Calif. - Scientists working with images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft have discovered strange half-mile-sized (kilometer-sized) objects punching through parts of Saturn's F ring, leaving glittering trails behind them.

Leverhulme Trust Award

The School of Physics and Astronomy is pleased to announce that the Leverhulme Trust has awarded Queen Mary, University of London over £158,000 for a research project conducted by Dr David Tsikaluri.  The research project titled, Advanced model of solar radio bursts via plasma kinetic simulation, will run for three years.  

Astronomy PhD Positions Available

The Astronomy Unit has a number of funded PhD studentships available for UK, EU and International applicants. The deadline for applications is 31st January 2012 (although later applications may also be considered). Students will join an active research centre involved in a broad range of activities from cosmology to solar system science.

Exoplanet discovery

The recent discovery of a new exoplanet provides further evidence that cold Neptune-like bodies may not be that uncommon. The new exoplanet is called MOA-2009-BLG-266Lb, after the survey that first issued the alert, and is about ten times more massive than the Earth.The planet's mass and orbital distance indicate that it may be a "failed Jupiter-core".

ESA Selects Solar Orbiter Mission

The ESA Science Programme Committee has selected Solar Orbiter as the M1 Medium Class mission in its Cosmic Vision programme, with a 2017 launch. David Burgess, of the Astronomy Unit, is on the Science Teams for three different instruments: the magnetometer, solar wind particle analyser and plasma wave instrument.

PhD Viva: Heidar Thrastarson

Congratulations to Heidar Thrastarson on the successful passing of his PhD viva on 19 September! His thesis is entitled: "General Circulation Modelling of Close-In Extrasolar Giant Planets."

The figure shows dynamic, planetary scale storms on a Hot Jupiter, with instantaneous flow (arrows) and potential vorticity (colour scale) in a simulation of a typical close-in extrasolar giant planet atmosphere.

RAS Fellowships 2012

The Royal Astronomical Society is offering up to 3 Fellowships from October 2012 from post-doctoral candidates, of any nationality, who are ordinarily resident in the UK. Full details available at the RAS web site. Application Deadline 9am, 1 November 2011.

New School of Physics and Astronomy

Queen Mary has approved the merger of the School of Physics with the Astronomy Unit, to form a new School of Physics and Astronomy from August 1st, 2011. This will open up new opportunities for research, and in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, with an expansion of the undergraduate Astrophysics programmes, new undergraduate projects, and integration with the existing M.Sc. in Astrophysics.