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. More information about the UK Cosmology initiative and future meetings can be found at their website


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.

To this purpose, the ExoMars Rover has been equipped with innovative, human-inspired technology. In its 218-sol mission, the rover will have to autonomously travel on the Mars surface, identify scientifically relevant sites, safely navigate towards them and perform experiments. This talk will unveil the technology on-board the rover that will make it accomplish its mission.


GRADnet PhD Studentship second Open Day

GRADnet PhD Studentship second Open Day

The GRADnet PhD Studentship second Open Day will take place at 13:00-16:00 on Thursday, 19th March 2015 at the Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London. Please register here for the event.

13:00 Students arrival in main lecture theatre for short presentation from Peter McDonald

13:20 Lunch in the Council Room & networking

15:00 Close

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. The School's Grade Point Average (GPA) of Physics research outputs (publications) are ranked joint first (with Imperial College) in London, 10th in the Russell Group and 14th in the UK (out of 41) hence cementing ourselves as among the very best Physics Departments in the UK.

These results are based on the research performed by the Astronomy Unit, Centre for Research in String Theory and the Particle Physics Research Centre. Research from the Centre for Condensed Matter and Materials Physics was submitted as Materials where QMUL was ranked 12th (out of 37) in the UK. This confirms the strength of physics research across all our fields.


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. While quantum gravity is normally expected to be important only at distances of order planck length, the situation changes when a large number N of particles are involved, as for instance in the situation where we make a large black hole. Then the length scale of quantum gravity effects grows with N, altering the black hole structure to a "fuzzball"; this effect resolves the paradox.

Speaker : Prof. Samir Mathur, Ohio State University. 

Astrophysics in Antarctica - Extreme Environment for Extreme Discoveries

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.

The 2014 National Student Survey (NSS) questioned UK undergraduates on various aspects of their student experience, including their overall satisfaction.

Students on the BSc Physics programme expressed a satisfaction rate of 100% with their overall experience of physics at Queen Mary with a 90% satisfaction score for teaching.  Our students are amongst the most satisfied in the Russell Group with satisfaction rates in the top quartile for all physics programmes. 

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’.

"We hadn't seen anything like this before," explained Professor Murray. "We may be looking at the act of birth, where this object is just leaving the rings and heading off to be a moon in its own right," he said.

Saturn's rings are a small-scale version of discs of ice and dust that surround young stars. One reason for high interest in how moons form in Saturn's rings is insight into how Earth and other planets may have formed and migrated within a disc around our star, the sun.