PDF to download - Physics at Lancaster University

physics.lancs.ac.uk

PDF to download - Physics at Lancaster University

Physics at LancasterUndergraduate 2013


Contents2 Contents3 Welcome to Lancaster4 Studying physics at Lancaster5 Entry requirements6 Choosing your degree7 Degree scheme structure8 The core physics syllabusDegree schemes10 Physics11 Astrophysics and Cosmology12 Astrophysics and Space Science13 Particle Physics and Cosmology14 Theoretical Physics15 Theoretical Physics with Mathematics16 Physics (North America)Theoretical Physics with Mathematics(North America)18 OpenPlus with the Open UniversityAdditional information20 Awards for academic scholarship21 International students22 Projects24 After your degree25 A few of our graduates26 Is Lancaster the place for me?28 Research at Lancaster36 Student finance38 Interested? - What next?39 We are easy to find!The information given in this booklet was accurate atthe time of writing. Lancaster University reserves theright to make changes at any time. Some of our staff and students following the 2012 physics undergraduate mini-conference.2 Printing and design supplied by Tel: 01524 841286 www.promotional-goods.org.uk


Studying physics at LancasterAbout the DepartmentThe Department of Physics is a friendly, medium-sizeddepartment with about 40 permanent teaching staff. Wewelcome around 100 new students each year across therange of physics courses.We are centrally located on the campus, with all facilities,including living accommodation and the University library,within easy reach. We have well-equipped teachinglaboratories, an astronomical observatory and computingfacilities, all of which play an important role in learning.As one of our students, you will be part of a workingcommunity - your lecture rooms and laboratories arealongside our offices and research areas; therefore, youwill have regular informal contact with staff andresearchers.Our department is committed to fostering a diverse,supportive community as a source of academicexcellence, cultural enrichment, and social strength. Wewelcome applications from those who would further ouraim to create a positive atmosphere in which all studentsand staff are able to pursue the development of theirunderstanding of physics and the world around us.Lectures and seminarsThe university year is divided into 3 terms of 10 weeks. In atypical week you will have 12 lectures, each 50 minutes, inclasses of varying size. Weekly assignments set by thelecturer, perhaps from textbooks or past examinationpapers, will be chosen to reinforce the ideas introducedduring the lectures. After attempting these you will takepart in 3-4 hours of seminars per week where the lecturerwill run through the solutions and help with any difficulties.Computer programmingPhysics makes extensive use of computation in bothexperimental and theoretical work. To prepare for this, andto teach valuable transferable skills, all students are taughtmodern programming techniques using the JAVAcomputer language.Supporting your studyIn addition to the contact with physics lecturers throughseminars and weekly office hours, you will have adepartmental academic advisor responsible for youracademic well-being. You will also be assigned a collegetutor responsible for monitoring your progress, providingadvice and assisting with any personal difficulties you mayencounter. They will remain a point of contact for youthroughout your time at Lancaster.How we assess your progressThere is a considerable amount of continuousassessment as well as formal examinations. All theexperiments, seminar set work and projects will counttowards your final degree mark. As a rough guide, yourdegree will be based 60% on examinations and 40% oncourse work. We will keep you fully informed of yourresults and progress at all stages of the course.We value your feedbackWe value your comments on our courses and ourteaching. We have a joint student-staff committee, whichincludes elected student representatives from all years, todiscuss academic issues. We also ask you to completequestionnaires about each lecture unit as well as an endof-yearquestionnaire.In addition to the lecture material, you will be expected toread from recommended texts. The University library hasmultiple copies of the recommended course books andresearch periodicals. In addition, there is a Physics Libraryin the Physics Building where our students can find a copyof many of the texts that are used in their lecture courses.Laboratory workPhysics is an empirical science and laboratory work is animportant element of the course. You will spendapproximately 6 hours per week in the laboratory, workingin pairs and interacting closely with staff and otherstudents. Demonstrators will be on hand to guide you anddiscuss your work. You will participate in demonstrationsof the physical phenomena described in lectures, learn touse scientific equipment and develop skills in takingmeasurements, drawing conclusions and writing reports.You will use computers to control experiments and toinput, manipulate and analyse data.4www.physics.lancs.ac.uk


Entry requirementsInternational students : Please note that the requirements presented here areaimed mainly at UK students. We do accept a range of overseas qualifications;please contact the Physics Admissions Tutor for further information (see page 38for contact details).Code Degree Scheme Indicative A-levelrequirementsMPhys and MSci Courses (4 years)F303F3F5F373MPhys (Hons)MPhys (Hons)MPhys (Hons)PhysicsPhysics, Astrophysicsand CosmologyPhysics withParticle Physics and CosmologyA*AAPlease note that all applicationsare considered on an individualbasis.Applicants may be invited forinterview.All degrees require physics andmathematics at A-level orequivalent.International Baccalaureate:38pts (=A*AA) or 36pts (=AAA)overall with 17pts from three HLsubjects including physics andmathematics with typically 6pts or7pts in each.F3FAF321F305MPhys (Hons)MPhys (Hons)MPhys (Hons)Physics, Astrophysics and Space ScienceTheoretical PhysicsPhysics (North America)Year 3 spent in theUSA or CanadaA*AAAlternative Qualifications:We welcome enquiries fromapplicants with alternativequalifications and stronglyrecommend our OpenPlus degreeoperated in partnership with theOpen University as a flexible routeto joining us (see page 18).F3G1F3G5MSci (Hons)MSci(Hons)Theoretical Physicswith MathematicsTheoretical Physics with Mathematics(North America)Year 3 spent in theUSA or CanadaA*AAFor further information, pleaserefer to our web-site(http://www.physics.lancs.ac.uk) orcontact the Admissions tutor (seepage 38).BSc Courses (3 years)F300BSc (Hons)PhysicsF3FMBSc (Hons)Physics, Astrophysicsand CosmologyF372BSc (Hons)Physics withParticle Physics and CosmologyAAAF3FNBSc (Hons)Physics, Astrophysics and Space ScienceF340BSc (Hons)Theoretical PhysicsF3GCBSc (Hons)Theoretical Physicswith MathematicsAAAwww.physics.lancs.ac.uk 5


Choosing your degreeListed on the previous and opposite pages are the degreecourses we offer at Lancaster; the subsequent pagesprovide more detailed information. You have the flexibilityto change your degree course at any time up until thebeginning of the second year (excluding TheoreticalPhysics with Mathematics joint degrees).We offer MPhys, MSci, and BSc degree courses. The BScdegree takes 3 years to complete whereas the MPhys andMSci degrees require 4 years of study. The content of thefirst 3 years of our master's (MPhys and MSci) degrees isidentical to the corresponding bachelor's (BSc) degreebut, in addition, the 4th years of our master's degreesprovide the opportunity to study physics in greater depthand to undertake an extended research project.MPhys and MSci degrees are ideal if you are planning acareer as a professional physicist, and are therecommended route into higher research degrees.However, a good result from a BSc course is alsosufficient to continue your studies at the MSc or PhD levelor to enter a teacher-training programme. All of ourdegrees seek to provide you with skills valued byemployers in both the public and private sectors.More details on graduate destinations can be found onpages 24 and 25.It is possible to change from a 3 year to a 4 year degreecourse if you maintain sufficiently high marks in youruniversity coursework and exams. A change from a4toa3 year course is also possible. Any change must takeplace well before the end of your third year.The first year of theUndergraduate PhysicsDegree schemes is veryinteresting as everyone isdoing exactly the samething. It starts off withthings you are used tothrough M1 and C1-C4 ofthe A Level Maths you tookbut quickly moves on tolooking at something new inRigid Bodies. You are also rewarded with familiar topicsfrom A Level Physics such as Electromagnetism, Circuitsand Waves but these quickly surpass A Level standardand finally move to the world of strange and utterly bizarrephenomena called Quantum Physics. One of the mostenjoyable parts of first year is going through a worksheetor a past exam paper and realising you can actually dothe problems. This is second only to the feeling of utterrelief and joy when your final exam is over!Raphael Oyelade, currently studyingMPhys Physics, Astrophysics & Cosmology.If your academic performance in the first 2 years atLancaster is strong then you may want to take advantageof the opportunity we offer to spend a year in the USA orCanada as part of your degree (see pages 16-17).In addition to our physics degree we offer a range ofdegree specialisations at either the MPhys or BSc levelwhich are discussed in detail later in this prospectus.Additionally, our MSci in Theoretical Physics withMathematics may be a good option for students with akeen interest in the mathematical aspects of physics (seepage 15).A common first yearMost of our courses have common physics content in thefirst year. Our students undertake lectures in core physicsand mathematics courses that equip them with tools fortackling problems in physics. Additionally, studentsfollowing one of our Theoretical Physics with Mathematicsdegrees attend lectures in pure mathematics given in theDepartment of Mathematics and Statistics.Choices at the end of the first yearAfter you have completed the first year your courses willdiffer depending on which degree scheme you choose.You will attend core physics lectures with all of your fellowphysics students but each of the degree schemes hastheir own specialist additional lecture courses. Typically25%-30% of your second year courses will be related toyour choice of speciality. In the third and fourth year youhave further choices of courses and projects that let youtailor the degree to your interests.6www.physics.lancs.ac.uk


Degree scheme structureYear 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4Physics Core IMechanicsThermodynamicsElectromagnetismWaves and opticsQuantum physicsLaboratoryMaths CoreVectorsCalculusSeries MethodsComplex numbersVector calculusPhysics Core IIQuantum mechanicsElectromagnetismWaves & opticsProperties of matterSpecial relativityParticles and nucleiComputer programmingFurther MathematicsFurther linear algebraPartial differentialequationsFourier methodsPhysics Core IIIAtomic physicsPhysics of fluidsStatistical physicsParticle physicsSolid state physicsProject skillsPhysics Core IVExtended projectScheme specific coursesPhysicsAstrophysics& CosmologyParticle Physics& CosmologyAstrophysics &Space ScienceLaboratoryAstronomyIntroductory astrophysicsIntroductory cosmologyAstronomyParticle physics labIntroductory cosmologyAstronomyIntroductory astrophysicsSpace physicsProject/dissertation3 optional coursesStellar astrophysicsBig Bang cosmologyAstrophysics andCosmology labs2 optional coursesParticle physics labBig Bang cosmologyFlavour physicsGroups & symmetries1 optional courseStellar astrophysicsSolar windAurora/atmosphere2 optional coursesGraduate BSc OR continue toMPhys7 optional coursesAdvanced relativityand gravitationCurrent cosmology5 optional coursesAdvanced relativity andgravitationCurrent cosmologyFurther particle physicsGauge theory3 optional coursesSolar-planetary physics6 optional coursesGraduate MPhysTheoreticalPhysicsFurther classicalmechanicsClassical field theoryFurther quantummechanicsProject/dissertation3 optional coursesAdvanced magnetismand nanophysicsQuantum transport innanostructures5 optional courseswww.physics.lancs.ac.uk7


The core physics syllabusFirst year coursesIn your first year, the Physics element of your studies willconsolidate your pre-university knowledge, building uponbasic physical concepts and providing the understandingnecessary for the second year. The course will alsodevelop your mathematical skills and equip you withuseful techniques for making quantitative physicalpredictions.Topics discussed include Newtonian kinematics,Newton's Laws, force, energy, momentum and angularmomentum. We introduce you to the applications offundamental mechanics to real many-body systemsincluding gravitation, planetary motion, simple harmonicmotion, pendulums and elementary fluid mechanics.You will learn about the thermal properties of matter,kinetic theory, phase changes and the first law ofthermodynamics. Waves, optics and many connectedphenomena are discussed. You will also study electricand magnetic fields. After gaining this quantitativeunderstanding of classical physics, you will be introducedto the problems that require the introduction of a modernquantum understanding of the world.Second year coursesIn the second year, all physics students, study the coretopics listed in the diagram on page 7. The content of theoptional element is fixed by the degree scheme.Third and Fourth year coursesIn their third year, all physics students take the core topicsindicated in the diagram on page 7. You also chooseoptions from a range of topics reflecting the most recentareas of interest in physics. Studying areas such ascosmology, matter at low temperatures or lasers and theirapplications, not only brings you right up to date with thelatest scientific theories and techniques but also allowsyou to explore and enjoy the range and depth of the fieldof physics.Laboratory classes are an integral part of the first yearcourse. You will learn essential experimental techniquesand computer skills necessary to enable you to makemeasurements, account for any uncertainties, and theninterpret your results accurately. Our module inCommunication Skills is an integral part of this course andwill help train you to present your findings clearly andconcisely to others.The Mathematical element of the first year coursedemonstrates how a wide variety of physical andengineering problems can be solved by the application ofmathematical methods. You will be introduced to newmathematical techniques during lectures, and you willdevelop your skills by tackling exercises in weeklyworkshops.My first two years atLancaster have been veryenjoyable. I like the waythe Physics course isstructured, covering abroad range during thecommon first year beforechoosing options for theremaining years.Jess Werrell – Second Year MPhys Physics,Astrophysics and Cosmology8www.physics.lancs.ac.uk


A beautiful solar prominence eruption observed in extremeultraviolet light by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory on March30, 2010. The light recorded in this image is emitted by singlyionised Helium confined by the Sun's magnetic field andcorresponds to a temperature of approximately 50,000 degreesCelsius.Credit: NASA.9


PhysicsUCAS code: F303 (MPhys), F300 (BSc)Our Physics degree provides a broad conceptual andworking knowledge of physics along with key transferrableskills which will enable you to embark on a wide variety ofcareer paths.The basic structure is outlined on pages 7-8.Inaddition tothe core curricula, students are taught the key skillsrequired to perform modern state-of-the-art experiments.Skills include measurement techniques, project planning,report writing and presentation delivery. Students will useand become familiar with a wide range of sophisticatedequipment and associated software. Laboratory work willcomplement the core physics modules, giving greaterinsights into how modern physics is performed.Experiments will recreate some of the key discoveries inphysics, such as the quantization of light, the existence ofnuclei and electrons, the quantum nature of particles andwave-particle duality. Students will be able to co-ordinatetheir own investigations using:X-ray crystallography to investigate atomic structureCryostats to cool materials down to 1 degree aboveabsolute zero in order to observe exotic phenomenasuch as superfluid Helium and superconductorsComputer controlled state-of-the-art particle detectorsto investigate cosmic rays reaching the Earth's surface.Physics students are also able to undertake extendedprojects, researching a topic of their choice. Our strongresearch activity allows us to provide a wide range of highlevel projects. Some recent examples are:Scanning force microscopyUltrasonic measurementsSolar PV cells and haze monitoringUltra-miniaturised sensorsNano-scale imaging microscopySuperfluid helium-4Control of cardiovascular systemsLasersWind electricity generationQuantum turbulenceOne of the greatest thingsabout Lancaster'sDepartment of Physics isthe fact that you are part ofa community from themoment you join. You getto know and becomefriends with your lecturers,whilst automaticallybecoming a member ofLUPAS, the student society which arranges anything frominteresting guest seminars to nights out (some of whichyou will catch your lecturers joining in with!)Jorden Senior – First Year MPhys Physics10www.physics.lancs.ac.uk


Astrophysics and CosmologyUCAS code: F3F5 (MPhys), F3FM (BSc)You may choose from either our MPhys of BSc degreeschemes in Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology. Thesedegrees will develop your understanding of therelationship between the physical laws of the universe andthe astrophysical and cosmological domains. In additionto a thorough grounding in Quantum Physics andElectromagnetism in your first year, your degree schemeincludes lectures on Astronomy, IntroductoryAstrophysics and Introductory Cosmology in your secondyear.Our teaching of astrophysics and cosmology at Lancasterhas been enhanced by our observatory, the DameKathleen Ollerenshaw Observatory, named after a formerpro- Chancellor of the University. You will have theopportunity to use the telescope either through coursework or as part of a full year research project. The maininstrument is a 356 mm Schmidt-Cassegrain reflectingtelescope, with imaging carried out either visually or via aCCD camera. The CCD camera can be used to take blackand white or colour images. The telescope can also befitted with a high-resolution spectrometer. Theastrophysics laboratory attached to the observatorysupports associated experimental course work for opticaland radio astronomy using a number of smallerinstruments.Course topics include:Measurement and astronomyStructure of the UniverseSpecial relativityThe observable UniverseAdvanced relativity and gravityPhysics of starsThe early UniverseThe hot Big BangStellar and particle astrophysicsRecent advances in astrophysics and cosmologyLaboratory in observational astrophysicsCosmological modelling (computer project)A full year observational or theoretical projectSome of the recent and current project topics are:Variable starsStellar spectraLunar topographyRadio fluctuations of the SunRelic particles in the Universe (dark matter)A model of inflationary cosmologyOrigin of large-scale structure of the Universe A Star Party in our observatoryI completed manyinteresting modules duringmy degree. I enjoyed myMPhys project the mostbecause I was able to usethe departmental telescopeto take new data andattempt to interpret what Ifound. My fourth year waschallenging, but it was alsoincredibly rewarding. The range of modules offered by thedepartment is wide so I was able to tailor my degree to myinterests, thus making it very enjoyable. The support ofthe staff in the department, mixed with a lot of hard work,helped me to secure a PhD place at the University ofCambridge to continue my quest to become aresearcher/lecturer.Sarah Smedley, graduated MPhys Physics, Astrophysicsand Cosmology in 2011. Sarah is currently carrying outa PhD in astrophysics at the University of Cambridgewww.physics.lancs.ac.uk 11


Astrophysics and Space ScienceUCAS code: F3FA (MPhys), F3FN (BSc) A series of Hubble photos show Saturn's amazing auroraechanging under the influence of the Sun's magnetic field and thesolar wind.Credit: NASA/ESA/J. Clarke.Both the MPhys and BSc Physics with Astrophysics andSpace Science degree schemes are designed to teachyou about the physics underpinning processes in thespace environment that stretches from the surface of theSun to the limits of our solar system. The electromagneticcoupling between the Sun and the various bodies in thesolar system varies hugely from planet to planet,depending upon whether or not the planet is stronglymagnetised (like the Earth), weakly magnetised (like Mars)or unmagnetised (like Venus). Meanwhile, Jupiter andSaturn, the massively magnetised and rapidly rotating gasgiants of the solar system, both have complex interactionswith their systems of moons. Nevertheless, the universallaws of physics allow us to compare the similarities anddifferences between the family of planets orbiting our Sunand translate our knowledge and understanding of theEarth to distant alien worlds. Image credit: Pete Lawrence.http://aurorawatch.lancs.ac.uk/Project topics may include:Creation of artificial auroraeEffect of space weather on ground-based technologiesMapping plasma temperature in the Earth's magnetictailStudying the dynamics of the Earth's spaceenvironmentThe impact of solar wind particles on spacecraft lifetimeEnergy transfer in the Sun-Earth systemThe causes of magnetic stormsLancaster space scientists develop and deploy state-ofthe-artexperiments in the Earth’s arctic circle and exploitmeasurements from the latest NASA and ESA spacemissions, including Earth-orbiting satellites, spacecraftthat constantly sample the solar wind streaming from theSun and space probes orbiting our neighbouring planets.Specialised subjects include: the solar-terrestrialenvironment, atmospheric and aurora physics, the solarwind, and planetary magnetospheric systems.12www.physics.lancs.ac.uk


Particle Physics and CosmologyUCAS code: F373 (MPhys), F372 (BSc)lancasteruniversityparticle physics packagehttp://lppp.lancs.ac.uk/The universe is a mysterious place! How did it form?Where does mass come from? What is the nature of the"dark matter" or "dark energy" which we cannot see andwhich accounts for almost all of the mass of the Universe?Where did all the anti-matter go? What are the propertiesof the elusive neutrino? How can we truly understand theuniverse in which we live when there are still so manyunanswered questions?All of these questions are addressed by research intoparticle physics and cosmology. Lancaster particlephysicists work at state-of-the-art particle accelerators( CERN's LHC, JPARC's neutrino beam and, until recently,Fermilab's Tevatron) to investigate and identify the natureof space and time, while the resident cosmologistsemploy all of their creative and mathematical abilities toexplain the early history of the Universe in a way thatcomplements and supports observational andexperimental data.I decided to study particlephysics and cosmologybecause I find thedifferences between thequantum world and theNewtonian worldfascinating - especiallyhow all of thatcorresponds to the birth ofthe universe and how we gothere today. I am very glad that Icame to Lancaster University, the course is great, thepeople are as enthusiastic as I first found them and Iwouldn't want to be anywhere else.Bella Boulderstone – Second Year MPhys Physics withParticle Physics and Cosmology.This expertise is translated into an exciting, modernphysics course based on the foundation of our corephysics program.Subjects include:Big Bang cosmologyThe origin of large scale structure of the UniverseDark matterFundamental particle theoryGauge theories and grand unificationParticle acceleration and detectionFlavour physicsIn addition to learning about the Universe on its largestand its smallest scales during the first 3 years, MPhysstudents will also have an opportunity to collaborate withone of the active researchers in the department on a finalyearproject. This allows our students to explore some ofthe key questions more fully, and contribute towardsfinding the answers.Project topics include:Search for the Higgs particleNeutrino oscillationsThe physics of B-quark particlesDark matter and galaxy formation Final year students visiting CERNwww.physics.lancs.ac.uk13


Theoretical PhysicsUCAS code: F321(MPhys), F340 (BSc)Which mathematical laws govern the natural world? Howcan we best make accurate predictions or deducemacroscopic properties of matter from microscopicdescriptions? Which model describes a system orphenomenon most accurately and efficiently?Quite possibly the most astonishing aspect of the worldaround us is that so much of it can be understood using arelatively small number of physical laws; a few well-chosenmathematical equations can describe a vast range ofphysical phenomena. Theoretical physicists devotethemselves to uncovering the simplest possible set ofprinciples that describe experimental observation. Theirwork focusses on developing and investigating the mostappropriate mathematical laws and deducing the essenceof physical phenomena. The resulting microscopic andhigher-level descriptions provide the foundation of manybranches of modern science and are a vital component oftechnological innovation.Lancaster theoretical physics is dedicated to the study ofNature on all scales, from the quantum world ofmicroscopic matter and nanomaterials to geometry ofcurved spacetime and the large-scale structure of thecosmos. Our broad range of internationally recognisedresearch activities makes use of the two main pillars ofmodern theoretical physics: quantum mechanics andrelativity, which also underpin the specialist teaching inthis degree scheme.A degree in theoretical physics equips you with analyticalskills that are in high demand in academic and industrialresearch. Our theoretical physics degree exposes you toadvanced topics in quantum theory, electromagnetism,condensed matter, gravitation and cosmology, andfundamental particle physics. These topics are embeddedinto the general degree scheme structure shown on page7.Research project:MPhys students on this degree scheme undertake anindividual research project in theoretical physics in theirfinal year, carried out under the guidance of a member ofthe theoretical physics group. Some recent project topicsinclude:Geometry and electrodynamicsGravitational wavesQuantum computationPhysics of grapheneMPhys students who perform well may be afforded theopportunity to study towards a PhD in the theoreticalphysics group.Studying MPhys Theoretical Physics gave me theopportunity to attend great lectures on material that I'dpreviously read about in popular science books, but didn'tfully understand. In my 4th year I studied the latestdevelopments in theoretical condensed matter and tackledvery interesting quantum systems using techniques I'dlearned in my courses.Chris Poole graduated in 2007 and recently completed aPhD with our Condensed Matter Theory Group.14www.physics.lancs.ac.uk


Theoretical Physicswith MathematicsUCAS code: F3G1 (MSci), F3GC (BSc)Physics and mathematics enjoy a symbiotic relationship.While mathematics provides physicists with the mostappropriate language to formulate laws of nature, physicsoften motivates the development of new mathematicaltools, thus, giving birth to new branches of pure andapplied mathematics. Examples of fundamentalmathematical concepts that produced powerful tools ofmodern theoretical physics include: symmetry groups and operator algebras, with numerousapplications in quantum mechanics functional analysis, in application to field theories Riemannian geometry, in relation to special and generalrelativityOur Theoretical Physics with Mathematics (TPM) degreecombines core physics and specialized theoretical physicscourses taught by the Physics Department with classes inpure and applied mathematics provided by the MathematicsDepartment.The final-year MSci TPM programme includes advancedcourses in nanoscience, quantum fluids, general relativity,fundamental particle physics, and an individual researchproject carried out under the guidance of a member of theCentre for Nanoscale Dynamics and Mathematical Physics.The centre’s research was ranked among the strongest inthe UK by the RAE2008. The research interests of theCentre span over: low-dimensional materials and nanostructures, such asgraphene quantum many-body theory of ultra-cold atomiccondensates and quantum Hall effect quantum information and optics space-time geometry of ultra-relativistic plasmas continuum mechanics for industrial applicationsThe blend of physics and mathematics included in our MSciTPM degree course is very positive for our graduates’careers in industry, education, and for PhD studies.When I applied touniversity I wanted tostudy both maths andphysics, but wasn't surehow to do it; the MScicourse sounded like anideal way to learn aboutphysics and still learn puremaths. The scheme waschallenging but it was veryrewarding and a lot of funcame out of it. Both departments were very friendly andsupportive, and the small class sizes meant that we wereon good terms with most lecturers. Being taught by themaths department made the course unusually varied andgives me a unique perspective on many of the physicsproblems I encounter in my PhD.Stephen Flood graduated MSci Theoretical Physics withMathematics in 2010 and is now a PhD student in theLancaster Mathematical Physics Group.Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4Physics IMechanicsThermodynamicsElectromagnetismWaves and OpticsQuantum physicsMathematics ICalculusLogicMatricesProbabilityNumbersDifferential EquationsMSci/BSc Physics and Maths Joint Degree SchemePhysics IIQuantum mechanicsElectromagnetismWaves and opticsProperties of matterSpecial RelativityComputer programmingMathematics IIReal and ComplexAnalysisLinear AlgebraGroup TheoryPhysics IIIAtomic PhysicsPhysics of fluidsStatistical physicsParticle physicsSolid state physicsTheory mini projectsMathematics III**Hilbert SpacesDifferential EquationsGroups and SymmetryRepresentation TheoryGraduate BScPhysics IV*Extended projectAdvanced relativityand gravitationAdvanced electrodynamicsAdvanced magnetismand nanophysicsQuantum transport innanostructures1 additional courseMathematics IV***Topology andFractalsHilbert SpaceDifferential EquationsGroups and SymmetryOperator TheoryGraduate MSci*in addition to the compulsory extended project, students currently follow 3 courses from this list**students currently choose 2 courses from this list*** in addition to Topology and Fractals, students currently follow 2 courses from this list15


Physics (North America)Theoretical Physics withMathematics (North America)UCAS code: F305 (MPhys), F3G5 (MSci)A physics degree with a year inthe USA or CanadaA year studying in North America provides a uniqueopportunity to extend your higher educational experienceto the challenging environment of a select US or Canadianuniversity. You will be able to broaden your study ofphysics within a totally different academic and culturalcontext. Many former Lancaster students attest to thevalue of their year abroad for their personal developmentand the enhancement of their long-term career prospects.You take the year abroad as the 3rd year of a 4-yearMPhys or MSci degree. Whilst in Lancaster, you will studyon one of the standard degree schemes outlined on thepreceding pages. The courses taken in North America arechosen to be similar to those you would have studied inLancaster so that you will smoothly fit back in on yourreturn. All the work that you do whilst in North America isassessed and counts towards your final degree. Lancasterhas the greatest experience of any UK institution inorganising North American exchange programmes, withmore than 50 co-operating US and Canadian institutions.At present, physics students can choose between thefollowing universities:In USAPrior to the year abroad you will be given every assistancewith both academic and administrative aspects of theexchange. The North American tutor in the PhysicsDepartment will guide you in choosing a study programmebest suited to your interests, and will ensure that you arewell prepared both for the year abroad and for yoursubsequent return to Lancaster.You will also be given advice on matters of generalconcern: insurance, obtaining a visa, travel, banking andother financial aspects. A number of bursaries areavailable on a competitive basis for assistance towardsthe costs of travel. During the year abroad you will be inregular contact with a 'study abroad' tutor at the hostuniversity and (by e-mail) with the Lancaster tutor. Everyeffort is made to minimize the cultural shock – bothsocially and academically – of spreading your studybetween two continents!Entry requirementsOur North American courses are both more competitiveand more demanding than many of our other degreeschemes. If, after interviewing you, we are unable to makeyou an offer for F305 or F3G5, we will as an alternativeconsider you for one of our other degree schemes.Depending on progress in your first year and theavailability of places on the North American exchangeprogramme, it may be possible for you to transfer into theprogramme at the end of first year.Iowa StateMichigan StatePurdueGeorgiaKentuckyMarylandNorth Carolina State University (Chapel Hill)University of North Carolina (Charlotte)In CanadaMcMaster University (Ontario)Trent University (Ontario)University of WaterlooThis list is constantly reviewed and arrangements withother universities may be possible on request.My year in America hasbeen the most excitingyear of my life so far, full ofnew experiences. My timeat MSU has broadened myhorizons and given memountains of confidence.A year studying abroad isan experience everyoneshould try!Tim Patrick, graduated MPhys Physics (North America)in 2012. As part of his degree he spent a year atMichigan State University.16 www.physics.lancs.ac.uk


Tim Patrick visits the Statue of Liberty 2012It has been a most rewarding and enjoyable experience. Imust point out the value particularly of being able to carryout undergraduate research in the USA.David Evans graduated MPhys Physics (North America).He spent a year abroad at Iowa State University as partof his degree, and is now working as aphysicist/programmer at the Fermi NationalAccelerator Laboratory, Chicago.Photographs Trent Bridge taken which byseparates some of our thePhysics two halves (North America)students of Trentduring University their campus year studying Peterborough,(and playing) abroad.Ontario Tim Patrick on the beach 2012 Gemma Anderson in San Diego, California 2006/200717


OpenPluswith the Open UniversityLancaster University in partnershipwith the Open University offers aflexible route to a degree in physicsfor prospective students without A-level maths and physics (or theirequivalent).Typically two or three years are spent studying part timewith the Open University, allowing you to combine studywith other responsibilities or full time employment.Successful completion of this component allows directtransfer into the second year of our full time Physics BSc atLancaster. You study for a further two years as a full timestudent and graduate with a Lancaster University BScdegree in Physics. Based on academic performance,students can also qualify to study at Lancaster for a thirdyear and graduate with an MPhys degree – the usualqualification for a professional physicist.In your first year at Lancaster (year 2) fundamental topicsare explained further and you will be given training inadvanced mathematical techniques. Also you will beintroduced to more advanced physics topics in such areasas relativity and nuclei & particles. A useful transferable skilllearnt in year 2 is the object oriented computerprogramming language Java, an essential tool for laterprojects and a useful ability for future employment. In year 3,you will see further applications of quantum mechanics incore courses, as well as taking a number of optionalmodules from a selection covering many of the most recentareas of discovery in physics, allowing you to explore andenjoy the range and depth of physics knowledge andgraduate with a BSc. If you stay with us for a further year foran MPhys, you will hear more about the frontier topics inphysics and undertake a significant research-based project.Students apply for entry to the OpenPlus scheme directly tothe Physics admissions office, NOT to UCAS.If you would like to spend a year in Canada or USA, pleaseensure that we are made aware of this when you make yourapplication.How does it work?In your first two years of part time study with the OU (yourfoundation year and year one) you will get a thoroughgrounding in basic physics and mathematics via distancelearningcourses.Experimental work is included to give you the experienceand background knowledge necessary to undertakelaboratory work in physics at degree level. On successfulcompletion of all the OU courses you will be equipped totransfer to Lancaster University as a full time student tocomplete your degree. At Lancaster, you will study therequired core courses and the courses associated withyour degree specialism. The standard Physics scheme isshown below, but all of the options described in pages 10to 16 of this booklet are available.The university's open door policy means that someone isalways available to talk to about any problems I'm havingwith the courses. Inevitably there will be some topics taughtdifferently in the OU courses, but everyone has beenextremely helpful in making the transition to Lancaster aseasy as possible.Colin Henderson recently graduated MPhys ParticlePhysics and Cosmology on our OpenPlus scheme.OpenPlus Degree Scheme StructureOpen University Year 2 Year 3 Year 4PhysicsPracticing ScienceThe Physical WorldPractical PhysicsMathsUsing MathematicsExploring MathematicsPhysicsPhysics Core IIQuantum mechanicsElectromagnetismWaves & opticsProperties of matterFurther mathematicsSpecial relativityParticles and nucleiComputer programmingLaboratoryPhysics Core IIIAtomic physicsPhysics of fluidsStatistical physicsParticle physicsSolid state physicsProject skillsProject/dissertation3 optional coursesGraduate BScPhysics Core IVExtended project7 optional coursesGraduate MPhys18www.physics.lancs.ac.uk


Physics staff/studentannual football gameAnnual Physics relay racewww.physics.lancs.ac.uk19 23


Awards foracademic scholarshipRewarding excellenceEach year we reward our most successful undergraduateswith financial prizes and certificates for academicachievement. Awards are given to 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th yearstudents, and our very best students have won prizes at theend of every year of their studies. In addition to awards forexcellent overall performance in exams and coursework, wealso offer the Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw Prize for the verybest performance in an astronomy project and the AzzedineHammiche Prize for exceptional project work (see page 22for more details about projects).In addition to the prizes awarded by our department, everyyear Lancaster University awards the Chancellor's Medal toits very best undergraduates. The competition for this prizeis extremely fierce because it is open to all of the best finalyearundergraduates students across all departments, andonly up to six are awarded each year. We are very proud ofour physics students who have won this prestigious prize,and the fact that our department has produced winners inconsecutive years is testament to the quality of our physicsgraduates.Recent physics winners ofthe Chancellor's Medal2008 Cherry Canovan, MPhys Physics. Cherry is now aPhD student studying accelerator physics in theMathematical Physics Group, Department of Physics,Lancaster University.2009 Laura Nuttall, MPhys Physics, Astrophysics andCosmology. Laura is now a PhD student studyinggravitational waves in the Gravitational Physics Group,School of Physics and Astronomy, Cardiff University.2010 Jon Emery, MPhys Physics, Astrophysics andCosmology. Jon is now a PhD student studyingcosmology at the University of Portsmouth.2011 Andrew Woods, MPhys Physics. Andrew is nowstudying for a PhD with Lancaster's Low TemperaturePhysics group.2012 Kirsty Dunnett, MPhys Theoretical Physics. Kirstyis starting a PhD in superfluids at Warwick University. Andrew Woods, winner of the 2011 Chancellor'sMedal, being congratulated by Sir Chris Bonington,Chancellor of Lancaster University. Kirsty Dunnett, winner of the 2012Chancellor's Medal.20www.physics.lancs.ac.uk


International studentsLancaster is an international university and our campuscommunity is friendly, vibrant and cosmopolitan. Our staffand research students originate from many differentcontinents, including Europe, Asia, Australasia andAmerica. In the Department of Physics, our undergraduatestudents are mainly from the UK, so our internationalstudents are given ample opportunity to mix, work andsocialise with UK physics students.Support for international students at Lancaster is secondto none. Lancaster University's International StudentAdvisory Service http://www.lancs.ac.uk/sbs/international/provides dedicated support for both prospective andcurrent international students. Throughout the applicationprocess you will be able to access comprehensive adviceon how to prepare for studying at Lancaster, includingguidance about obtaining visas, travelling to Lancaster,planning your costs and accessing medical care in the UK.Being an internationalphysics student can behard, but the support I'vebeen given in the PhysicsDepartment helped medecide to follow my chosencareer path in physicsresearch.David Sangcheol Leegraduated BSc Physics with Space Science 2012.Once you are here we aim to help you settle in as quicklyas possible. The International Student Advisory Serviceruns a number of events during Introductory Weekdesigned to help you embrace life in a new country.These events continue throughout term-time and includea number of excursions to interesting and historiclocations such as York, Chester and the Lake District,providing you with the opportunity to explore your newhome in a friendly, supportive environment. A termlynewsletter will keep you informed of exciting social eventssuch as our International Student Evening, where you areguaranteed a fun night of great food and entertainment!Throughout your time as an international student atLancaster, the International Student Advisory Service willprovide support and advice on a wide range of issues.Important topics are covered by a comprehensive rangeof leaflets, available both in hard-copy and on the web.You may prefer to make an appointment for an informal,confidential chat with one of our International StudentAdvisors. Whether helping you deal with culture shock orproviding practical help as you become familiar with a newacademic system, our advisors have a wealth ofexperience to help you make the most of your timestudying at Lancaster.We greatly value the diversity of our international studentsand encourage applications from students with a widerange of academic qualifications. Please contact usdirectly for further information on how your qualificationsrelate to our entry requirements:physics-ugadmissions@lancaster.ac.ukPlease note that Lancaster Physics DepartmentScholarships are available to overseas students (see page36).I chose Lancaster Universitybecause it is one of the bestUK universities, while itsPhysics department is top forresearch in the country. It isthe perfect place for someoneto study physics as theteachers are leaders in theirresearch areas but will alwayshelp with any problems you have, spending time with youor even chatting with you if they see you around. Thecommunity in the department is international, with manyof the teachers, researchers and students being from manydifferent countries, which is something that makes aninternational student more welcome inside thedepartment. All these contribute so that the students feellike home in a lovely and friendly atmosphere on abeautiful campus.George Korpas graduatedBSc Theoretical Physics 2012.www.physics.lancs.ac.uk 21


Projects An undergraduate student presents her project work to some of her peers at our physics mini-conference.All MPhys students undertake amajor project in their final yearwith expert guidance from amember of staff .Project topics can be experimental or theoretical andshould be relevant to the student’s chosen degree theme,if any ( so Theoretical Physics students will do a theoreticalproject etc). The aim of project work is to provide anopportunity to study a particular subject in depth and tofurther develop transferrable skills that are highly soughtafter by prospective employers, such as independentstudy and thinking, planning, time management,communication skills (written and oral) and experimental ortheoretical research techniques. Projects give ourstudents an insight into physics research and provideexcellent training for those who want to pursue a researchcareer in academia or industry.The world-class research undertaken in our department isreflected in the broad range of project topics we offer,some examples of which are listed opposite. Studentsusually choose their project topic from a similar list, whichis renewed annually, but can also suggest their own,subject to there being a suitable project supervisorspecialised in the field. For this reason projects are usuallyrelated to the current research interests of the projectsupervisor and often uncover new results, occasionallyleading to a publication in a scientific journal. Someprojects are conducted in collaboration with industry orother external agencies.Students may work singly or in pairs on a project, but eachstudent writes up the results of their project in an individualfinal report, and presents their work to fellow students andstaff members at a mini-conference at the end of thesummer term. Since it comes after the final exams themini-conference has a relaxed and fun atmosphere,offering a chance to develop vital presentation andcommunication skills amongst friends. Researchcommunication skills, including professional poster design,are taught in a course given to MPhys and MSci students.It is not surprising that graduates often describe projectwork as the most useful, enjoyable and rewarding part oftheir degree course, and that many stay on to study for adoctorate in the same field as their project.I can't imagine not having done the 4th year project, whileit was some of the hardest work I did in my degree, it wasalso by far the most stimulating and rewarding. Whileworking on your project you are doing real researchalongside approachable and genuinely interested staff,research that could get published. I most definitely learneda lot working on my project, including how physicalprinciples can be used to study a new real life system. Ialso, and more importantly, discovered what kind ofphysics I liked doing and what kind of work I reallywanted to do following my degree. Without a doubt thiswas what prompted me to study for my PhD.Nathan Davies graduated in 2007 (MPhys Physics withTheoretical Physics) and is now a PhD student in theLancaster Condensed Matter Theory Group.22www.physics.lancs.ac.uk


The following list of final year projects offered to our finalyear students in 2011 shows the breadth of the researchinterests of our staff:Low Temperature, Solid State, Biomedical andGeneral PhysicsPressure-induced electrical signals in graniteSuperfluid helium-4 in aerogelSelf-assembled quantum dotsMicroelasticity of biological and biomimetic materialsNanoscale probe microscopy of low-dimensionalnanostructuresThermophotovoltaic cellsInfrared avalanche photodiodesLight analogues of matter wavesNonlinear dynamics of selectivity, conductivity andgating in biological ion channelsPhysics of non-autonomous systems: a newperspective on the time variability of complexsystemsQuantum turbulence in superfluid helium-4Novel InAsN dilute nitride quantum structuresParticle PhysicsDepolarisation at the interaction points of futureparticle collidersW bosons for polarimetry at electron-positroncollidersDesigning a source to produce very intense positronbeamsCP violation of B mesons using data from theTevatronStudy of the like-sign dimuon charge asymmetry atTevatronHiggs searches at the LHCCharacterisation of silicon sensors for ATLASB-hadron lifetime measurements with first ATLASdataQuarkonium physics with ATLAST2K – neutrino oscillation physicsAstronomy/Space Science Spectrographic measurements using the telescope The solar wind: origin and evolution The impact of Solar Flares on Cosmic Radio Noise(CNA) absorption Investigating the source mechanism for energeticparticle precipitation into the Earth's atmosphere Black aurora Atmospheric contraction and satellite lifetime Amateur radio telescope In-situ measurements of magnetosphere-ionospherecoupling Multi-wavelength solar observationsMy fourth year project was the most enjoyable aspect ofmy whole course. I was able to work with fellow studentswithout a pre-written instruction guide, allowing us acertain level of freedom to investigate low temperaturephenomena whilst under supervision by academic staff.This was the closest I came in an undergraduate contextto experiencing a research environment, which inconjunction with the excellent supervision I received mademe decide to stay on at Lancaster to do a PhD in the samearea as my fourth year project.Matthew Fear graduated MPhys Physics in 2007 andrecently completed his PhD at Lancaster. He is currentlya research associate at Manchester University.www.physics.lancs.ac.uk 23


After your degreeIf you enjoy physics at school it is probably because youare interested in discovering how things work in the worldaround us. Physics is an exciting subject that isfundamental to the developments in modern society. Thesubject has a broad range of specialisms, from the verypure to the very applied, reflected in our researchinterests at Lancaster.Our research interests include :Accelerator physics, biomedical physics, condensedmatter physics, cosmology and astroparticle physics,mathematical physics, microstructural physics ofmaterials, nanoelectronics, optoelectronics and lasers,particle physics, polymers, quantum fluids, semiconductorphysics and nanostructures, space plasma physics,theoretical physics, ultra low temperature physics.Graduates of physics are in demand in many careerareas:The early careers of our students18.07%Physics-relatedemploymentOther employmentMSc and similarnon-PhD full-timestudy10.84%The electronics and semiconductor industries employ alarge number of new graduates in research anddevelopment in the fields of device design,manufacturing techniques and materials research.Physicists are needed to exploit recent advances intelecommunications and medical physics.There are opportunities in local government in civil anddefence research, public health programmes andteaching.15.67%14.46%40.96%Many scientists originally trained in physics are workingin areas such as electronic engineering, metallurgy,geology, information technology and molecular biology.Additionally, many of our former students findemployment in a wide range of other careers where theskills gained during the course such as logical thinking,problem solving, communication skills, teamwork,numeracy and computer literacy are valued. Examplesinclude computer programming, accountancy, managerialand administrative positions.An insight into physics careersIn choosing to study physics, you may or may not have anidea about your future career options. In addition to givingyou opportunities to explore research in an academicenvironment and extracurricular opportunities to work withour physics teacher fellow in a school environment, weaim to help you to understand the significance of physicsin industry and to give you an insight into applications ofthe subject outside of a university setting. Industry andoutside agencies contribute to the range of our third andfourth year projects as well as funding some departmentalresearch in a number of areas including optoelectronicsand lasers, scanning probe microscopy and mathematicalphysics. These links with outside organisations are ofbenefit to our students in seeking employment.PhD(a research degree)PGCE(teacher training)The above chart was derived from HESA data from 2007-2010,obtained six months after graduation. 'Physics-relatedemployment' includes, for example, hi-tech engineering, defenceand energy companies. 'Other employment' includes jobs inmarketing and administration.24www.physics.lancs.ac.uk


A few of our graduatesWorking for BAE SystemsDetica, I routinely applythe knowledge and skills Ideveloped studyingPhysics at Lancaster. Thecourse is ideal preparationfor anyone seeking todevelop a career in thecomputing and defenceindustries, providing a solidfoundation in programming andcomplex problem solving IT. I have been able to applyspecialist knowledge from my degree to enhance businesscapability, particularly in the field of quantumcommunication. Physics at Lancaster offers you so manyopportunities throughout your degree and beyond.James Cornish – Consultant, BAE Systems Detica.Graduated from Lancaster in 2011 with MPhys Physics.My time at Lancaster hascertainly prepared me wellfor a career in physicsresearch. The mostrewarding part of myundergraduate degree wasthe 4th year project whichenabled me to pursue myinterests in infrared lasers.This subsequently inspiredme to continue my research as aPhD student. The high level of support in the departmentfrom staff and colleagues combined with the excellentresearch facilities enabled me to make a number ofbreakthroughs in this field, from which I was able tosecure my own funding which will help me build my ownresearch group and develop a long term career inacademia.Dr Peter Carrington obtained both his MPhys and PhDdegrees from Lancaster Physics Department, winning theChancellor's Medal in 2005. He has won an award forhis research from the British Vacuum Council and wasrecently awarded a five year Fellowship from theRoyal Academy of Engineering.Undergraduate life in Lancaster set me up for a career inphysics. I studied particle physics and cosmology andspent a lot of time in the exceptional low temperaturephysics labs, building and testing equipment, learningimportant skills needed by an experimental physicist. Myyears at Lancaster gave me the confidence and training topursue further research, ultimately leading to a job inphysics. It's not what I planned when I arrived in Lancasterbut my time there still remains some of the best of my life.Career highlights:MSc and PhD from UVic, Canada in 2001 and 2004respectively, working on particle physics at SLAC on theBaBar experiment.Postdoc and research positions at:The Ohio State University 2004-2006University of Rome "La Sapienza" 2006-2008Stanford, SLAC - National Accelerator Laboratory2008-2011.Dr Paul Jackson - Lecturer in Physics at the University ofAdelaide, working on the ATLAS experiment. Graduatedfrom Lancaster in 1998 with MPhys in Physics andCosmology.www.physics.lancs.ac.uk 25


Is Lancaster the place for me?If you are looking for a well-regardeduniversity that is friendly, flexible and offers agreat social life without the problemsassociated with large cities, then Lancastercould by the place for you.Going to university is not just about choosing the rightcourse, you also need to consider the place itself – after allyou will be making it your home, or at least spending aconsiderable proportion of your time there, for 3 or 4years. You will find the cost-of-living in Lancaster relativelyinexpensive and the campus well placed for travelling andfor enjoying some of the most beautiful scenery in theworld.A campus community…With around 12,000 students and staff on campus everyday, the University is like a small town. It has everythingyou will need within 10 minutes walk including banks,shops, eating places, art gallery, cinema, concert hall,theatre and a brand new £20m sports centre with aswimming pool.Competitive pricesOn-campus room prices are amongst the lowest in thecountry (rates for 2012 were £79-£102 per week or £102-£120 per week for an en-suite room where the exact costdepends on the college and the size of the room). Cateredoptions are also available. You will also benefit fromcheaper insurance than in many major cities around thecountry as Lancaster (LA1 postcode) is in the lowestinsurance group.Easy travelThe University is just off the M6 so there are good roadlinks to many parts of the country. National Expresscoaches stop at the campus. The city is on the WestCoast Inter-city rail line (London is about two and a half tothree hours away and Manchester one hour).Outdoor pursuitsLancaster is an ideal location if you are interested in theoutdoor life. The Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales arewithin easy reach for sailing, hiking, climbing, pot-holing,hang-gliding and other adventure sports.…in easy reach of the cityLancaster has a good reputation for student-friendly offcampusactivities. The Students' Union has its ownnightclub (The Sugar House) in the city and there are othernightclubs in Lancaster and in Morecambe. Lots of pubshave live music and a student atmosphere. There areeating places to suit all tastes and budgets, theatres,cinemas, concert venues, a bowling alley and a range ofsports facilities. Frequent bus services link the city andcampus and there is a cycle route avoiding busy roads.Lancaster is building on its experience as a cyclingdemonstration city and has a constantly-expandingsystem of on- and off-road cycling routes.Make friends quickly in collegeLancaster is one of only a handful of collegiate universitiesin Britain. The residential college system is great formeeting people from outside your own subject area. Eachcollege has its own social facilities and sportingprogrammes.A guaranteed room in our multi-award winningstudent accommodationWe retained the title of Best University Halls in the 2012National Student Housing Survey and if you chooseLancaster as your first choice, you are guaranteed a placein our on-campus accommodation in the first year. Mostfinal-year students who want to live on campus cannormally do so. Some rooms have en-suite facilities andthere are purpose-built rooms for students withdisabilities. All rooms have a telephone and points toconnect computers to the campus network and theinternet.I'm very glad that I choseLancaster; the town is abrilliant, friendly placewith a very active localcommunity. Throughoutthe course I have felt underpressure to keep up and dowell, but I can remindmyself that it will all beworth it because I amlearning incredible things about the world around me. Ihave already had the opportunity to share some of myknowledge with secondary school students due to teachertraining contacts at Lancaster.Nickie Wareing – Third Year MPhys Physics.26www.physics.lancs.ac.uk


Women in Physics GroupApproximately 1 in 5 undergraduates undertaking physicsdegrees in the UK are female and our Women in Physicsgroup was formed to support all of the women studyingand working in our Physics Department. The group meetsabout once a month and aims to provide a forum for thewomen in the department to get together to get to knowone another better, discuss physics and make newcontacts. They run an innovative partnership schemebetween undergraduates, postgraduates andpostdoctoral research staff, aiming to improve relationsbetween women at different stages of their careers and toprovide undergraduates with a first port of call for adviceon physics-related matters such as careers and researchoptions. Our Physics Department takes part in the Instituteof Physics' Juno project, which addresses the problem ofthe very low proportion of women in physics, especially inhigher academic posts. Our Physics Department attainedJuno Practitioner status and is now seeking to become aJuno Champion.Lancaster University Physics and AstronomySociety (LUPAS)LUPAS is a physics society run by our students for ourstudents, and is one of the most active and largeststudent societies on campus. Whether they are off havingpaintball battles, taking on their lecturers at football orgiving talks on the latest developments in physics, there isalways something entertaining going on! LUPAS has avery busy calendar throughout the year with at least oneevent every fortnight, including numerous socialgatherings and guest lectures on a multitude of differentphysics themes organized in conjunction with the Instituteof Physics. In addition, LUPAS gives our students theopportunity to undertake student-run extended practicalphysics projects that range from observing variable starsto studying muon decays with a weather balloon. For moreinformation you can find LUPAS on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/groups/LUPAS/ or on YouTubeat http://www.youtube.com/user/lancasterphysics or emailthem at lupas@lancaster.ac.uk. LUPAS Executive 2012The department fully supports the Juno initiative and seesit as a priority for us to attain Juno Champion status. Wesee our Women in Physics group as a welcomedevelopment in the department and a key component inour attempt to attain Champion status.Professor Peter Ratoff, Head of the Lancaster PhysicsDepartment.www.physics.lancs.ac.uk27


Research at LancasterWe carry out cutting edge research at the internationallevel. The Department was ranked number 1 in the countryin the last national research assessment (RAE 2008),confirming the international excellence of our research. Ourstaff are very research active and publish regularly in highimpact, peer-reviewed scientific and specialist journals.They regularly give invited talks and present the results oftheir work at international conferences and symposia allover the world. In addition our lecturing and research staffinclude several world authorities and the Department hasachieved a number of world firsts in key research areas. Asa Lancaster student you will benefit from this not onlythrough the range of optional courses and researchprojects which we provide in the 3rd and 4th years, but alsofrom well-informed and enthusiastic staff.You may decide that you would like to become a researchstudent yourself after you graduate from your degree.Research in physics is essential to gain new insights andunderstanding of matter and the Universe, in order to maketechnological advancements and improve the quality of lifein society. We have a range of opportunities available andencourage promising students to stay on in theDepartment and undertake PhD (research) degrees.The fact that the lecturersare active in their researchmeans that they have areal passion for what theyare teaching, and canexplain how it fits intowhat they do. Thelaboratory work is a greatexample of this, whereworld-leading researchers teachyou the methods they use every day.Gareth Davies graduated MPhys Physics in 2011. Garethis undertaking a PhD in gravitational waves at theInstitute of Gravitational Research,University of Glasgow.The following provides a flavour of our current research,most of which has strong international links. In addition tothe work done within our main research groups, there isalso much cross-group activity. This brings together theleading complementary expertise from widely differingareas of physics in order to address important problems.Examples of such topics include non-linear dynamics andchaos; cosmological experiments in liquid helium; and thedevelopment of gallium arsenide particle detectors. We arealso involved in many interdisciplinary areas including thebiological, chemical and medical interfaces.Space Plasma PhysicsResearch in this area investigates the physics of our localspace environment - the region from the surface of the Sunto the edge of the solar system. We collaborate withinternational research organisations, including ESA andNASA, to study the role that plasma processes have inelectromagnetically coupling the planets (and other bodies)in our solar system. This work offers insights into thephysics that drives breath-taking natural phenomena suchas the aurora borealis, shields delicate planetaryatmospheres like the Earth's from the onslaught of thesolar wind and powers a complex system of electricalcurrents throughout the solar system. We employ spaceandground-based experiments, as well as computersimulations, to explore this strange and excitingenvironment.The most rewarding experiences during my time atLancaster took place in the lab. I entered into my physicsdegree with the hope of a more practical orientation. Iwasn’t disappointed. Lancaster’s outstanding reputationfor research does not go unfounded. Low temperaturephysics, an area Lancaster is particularly famous for, hascaptured my interest in and out of the lab. From theMeissner effect through to quantum turbulence, every areahas been extremely enjoyable. My passion for this subjecthas resulted finally in a PhD at Lancaster.Above all the most enjoyable part of being at Lancastermust be working with a world leading set of academics.The inspiration that comes from being in such proximityto some of the leading minds in your field is unmatched.George Foulds, MPhys Physics, graduated in 2010 and isnow a PhD student in Experimental Condensed MatterPhysics at Lancaster. Research work from hisundergraduate project was presented at a nationalconference on semiconductors.28www.physics.lancs.ac.uk


Prof. G.R. Pickett FRSpreparing for anultra-low temperatureexperimentOne of the dilution refrigeratorswe use to study the quantum propertiesof helium at ultra-low temperatures.29


Low Temperature PhysicsLow Temperature research at Lancaster includesexperiments on superfluids and other materials with widerapplications in areas such as cosmology and turbulence.The group has a strong international reputation forperforming state-of-the-art experiments at the lowestachievable temperatures. Our custom made dilutionrefrigerators, built in-house, achieve world record lowtemperatures. We have pioneered several innovativeapproaches including: `Lancaster-style' nuclear coolingstages to cool superfluids to record low temperatures;`heat-flush' procedures to produce highly purified helium-4; ion transport measurement methods for quantum fluids;novel NMR systems; and various mechanical oscillatortechniques which provide extremely sensitivethermometry and bolometry at microkelvin temperatures.Low temperature physics gives unique access to largescalequantum phenomena, notably superconductivity insome metals and superfluidity in liquid helium-3, and wehave a broad research portfolio specialising in quantumfluids and solids research.We have performed ground-breaking research onnumerous topics, including: superfluid analogues ofcosmological processes; ion and vortex ring dynamics;ballistic quasiparticle beams; exotic superfluid spinphenomena; superfluid phase nucleation; phase boundarydynamics; wave turbulence; and quantum turbulence. TheUltralow Temperature cluster of cryostats has beendesignated a European Facility, providing experimentalaccess for visiting European scientists through the EUFramework 7 collaboration MICROKELVIN.Biomedical PhysicsBiomedical physics applies physics to living systems.Traditionally medical physics develops methods forimaging structures within the human body and therapeutictechniques for treatment of diseases, such as radiologicaltreatment of cancer. At Lancaster we also develop newtechniques for monitoring and imaging on all scales – fromcells to the whole body. We apply nonlinear physics tostudy human physiological functions, on scales rangingfrom the opening and closing of ion channels within a cellmembrane, to interactions between the heart, the lungsand the brain. Joint projects link us with the RoyalLancaster Infirmary and with partners within UK, Europe,USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.Our work aims to generate fundamental understanding ofthe oscillatory processes involved in energy andinformation transfer within the body, and then to apply thenew knowledge to hypertension, cardiac failure, diabetes,postmyocardial- infarction, anæsthesia, aging, cancer andmany other human conditions. Our studies of biologicaloscillations are revealing fascinating new insights intosystems designed by Nature and how they can functionrobustly despite their extraordinary complexity.Solid State PhysicsWe study the physics of semiconductor nanostructuresand devices, including the MBE growth of antimonides anddilute nitrides, with emphasis on mid-infrared (2-5µm)optoelectronics and spectroscopy of quantum structures.This is stimulated by a wide range of novel physicalphenomena and practical applications, such as midinfraredlasers; LEDs and detectors for environmentalmonitoring; fire detection and freespace opticalcommunications; devices for telecommunications; andcharge-based digital data storage memories.This research includes the growth, characterisation andhigh-magnetic-field spectroscopy of self-assembledquantum dots. These ‘artificial atoms’ are spontaneouslyformed when a few mono-layers of material are depositedon a substrate with a different lattice constant, and are anarea of intense scientific activity worldwide. Work isundertaken in an atmosphere of national and internationalcooperation supported, for example, by the PROPHETEuropean Network. Particularly strong links exist with TUBerlin, NTU Taiwan, the Ioffe Institute, KU Leuven andUniversity of Antwerp. Our UK industrial partners includeQinetiQ Ltd and Oclaro.Measuring blood flow in the Biomedical Physics Laboratory.30www.physics.lancs.ac.uk


One of three Lancaster Physics MBE (Molecular Beam Epitaxy)machines used for fabricating new semiconductor nanostructures.A self-assembled quantum ring grown in our MBE machine.Individual atoms and atomic rows can be seen in this image,which was taken using a cross-sectional scanning tunnellingmicroscope at the Eindhoven University of Technology.www.physics.lancs.ac.uk 31


Theoretical Condensed Matter PhysicsCondensed matter comprises a diverse range of systemswhere individual constituents (like atoms and electrons)are densely packed and interact strongly. Besidesnaturally occurring in solids and liquids, this also includescarefully designed and controlled artificial systems suchas electronic nanostructures, graphene (the first truly twodimensionalcrystal, and the subject of the 2010 NobelPrize for Physics), molecular conductors, photoniccrystals and trapped cold gases, which are at the focus oftheoretical research at Lancaster. Because of the intricateand varied nature of the interactions, such systems exhibitstriking effects of fundamental and practical significance,such as superconductivity, the quantum Hall effect orspin-dependent transport.Our theoretical investigations aim to provide an accuratemathematical and conceptual understanding ofphenomena which presently defy understanding, and todevelop and study models for conditions where newphysics may arise. This requires the advance andapplication of analytical and numerical methods fromquantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, andelectrodynamics.In recent years, the group contributed in particular to theunderstanding of the electronic properties of graphene,the coherence of excitations in quantum dots, theconductance of molecular bridges, the dynamics ofcondensed Bose gases and strongly correlated onedimensionalsystems, and the quantum statistics ofphotons generated in optically amplifying microstructures.Particle CosmologyCosmology is the study of the entire Universe as asystem. Particle cosmology uses what is known orconjectured about fundamental particle theory to modeland trace the history and evolution of the Early Universe,when the energy density was so immense that highenergy physics is necessary to describe the behaviour ofthe material filling the Universe. As such, particlecosmologists make use not only of astrophysical data,such as those from the WMAP and Planck satellites, butalso of the findings of accelerator experiments such asthe LHC at CERN. In turn, they use the Universe as a giantlaboratory to probe physics at energies well beyondcolliders on Earth.Our Cosmology group concentrates much of its researchin the physics of cosmic inflation, which is a period ofexplosive expansion of space at the onset of the knownhistory of the Universe, only a tiny fraction of a secondafter the Big Bang itself. Inflation is thought to be thereason why the Universe is so big and looks so uniform onvery large distances. It also produced the original ripples inthe Universe's density, which sourced the formation of theobserved structures such as galaxies and galacticclusters. These ripples are revealed in the CosmicMicrowave Background radiation, providing preciseinformation about the whereabouts of the physicalprocesses very close to the beginning of time.Another aspect of our research focuses on the nature andorigin of Dark Matter, whose presence is inferred by itsgravitational effects on galaxies and galactic clusters butwhich has not been as yet identified in spite ofconstituting more than 1/5th of the Universe's content.Finding exotic particles which can be the Dark Matter isone of the aims of the LHC particle accelerator.Furthermore, we study and develop mechanisms toexplain the observed imbalance between matter and antimatterin the Universe. We also investigate thecosmological effects of string theory and alternativetheories of gravity, and the possible generation of gravitywaves in the Early Universe, which may be observed in thenear future.32www.physics.lancs.ac.uk


Testing the powerfulelectromagnetic modes of aPhotonic Band Gap structure. Suchdevices hold considerable promisefor reducing the size of particleaccelerators.www.physics.lancs.ac.uk33


Experimental Particle PhysicsMatter and the forces that act upon it are described at thefundamental level by elementary Particle Physics. Thesestudies provide insight, not only into the composition ofthe ordinary matter around us, but also into the darkmatter and also into the development of the earlyUniverse following the initial Big Bang.Experiments in particle physics are carried out by largeinternational teams of physicists based at acceleratorlaboratories such as CERN (Geneva), JPARC (Japan) andpreviously at Fermilab (Chicago). We are involved in theATLAS experiment at the most powerful accelerator everconstructed, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN.There, we have used proton-proton collisions toinvestigate many open questions, including the discoveryof a new particle consistent with the Higgs boson, theparticle associated with the mechanism givingfundamental particles their mass. We are alsoinvestigating the matter-antimatter asymmetry andsearching for dark matter and new physics using particlescontaining beauty quarks, and studying the most massivequark, the top.The Lancaster team also assembled a calorimeter for usein the T2K experiment (near Tokyo, Japan), which they arenow using to study the nature of the elusive neutrino, andtheir ability to transform from one sort of neutrino toanother. In part, the T2K experiment, like the ATLASexperiment, aims to provide a better understanding of thefundamental reasons behind why matter predominatesover antimatter in our universe. It is hoped that theseexperiments will shed new light on the origin of mass andnew symmetries in nature.Accelerator PhysicsParticle accelerators are not just used for pushing theboundaries of elementary Particle Physics; their lowerenergy cousins have numerous applications in medicineand material science. Research at Lancaster spans all ofthese applications.Our mathematical physicists are developing new tools foranalysing the complex behaviour of large collections ofaccelerating charged particles. Furthermore, they areinterested in astrophysical scenarios in whichelectromagnetic field intensities and particle accelerationsare so large that new effective descriptions ofaccelerating charged matter deserve attention. The scopeof our theoretical research includes cavity QED, magnetoelectricmedia, plasmas and non-linear electrodynamicsand we use mathematical tools more commonly reservedfor general relativity and string theory.I decided to study at Lancaster University based on,among other reasons, the opportunity to study abroad inthe USA through the MPhys North America programme.This allowed me the chance to study in a differentenvironment and experience a new culture. Nevertheless Ialso thoroughly enjoyed my time at Lancaster. So much sothat I decided to continue for a further three years upongraduation to do a PhD in High Energy Physics. I work onthe Japanese based T2K project and am heavily involvedin constructing a neutrino detector in the Lancaster lab. Iam able to apply all of the skills acquired throughoutundergraduate life on a daily basis.Gavin Davies graduated with MPhys Physics NorthAmerica in 2006 and recently obtained his PhD inExperimental Particle Physics at Lancaster. Gavin nowworks as a postdoctoral research associate at IowaState University.Our experimentalists are currently developingexperiments using accelerator cavities to search directlyfor the existence of exotic, hypothesised particles such ashidden-sector photons. In addition, experimental work isbeing undertaken on the design, simulation andprototyping of positron sources that can produce intensepolarised positron beams for a range of applicationsincluding future proposed high-energy particle colliderssuch as the International Linear Collider (ILC), CompactLinear Collider (CLIC) and Large Hadron Electron Collider(LHeC). We are founder members of the CockcroftInstitute (http://www.cockcroft.ac.uk), a centre ofexcellence for accelerator science in the UK. Testing our 'Baby Prototype' of a layer of a neutrino detector.34www.physics.lancs.ac.uk


Near the pond on the Lancaster Universitycampus. A perfect spot to relax!This department is one of the most fun and rewarding tobe included in, due largely to the remarkable amount ofsupport offered and the facilities made available. Thebroad variety of courses and modules on offer allowed forme to choose my ideal degree, covering a wide range oftheoretical physics and maths topics.Moreover, on completion of my degree I have found that awide range of careers are open to me; next year I amstarting a teaching career where I hope to eventually focuson teaching A-level maths, helping to provide others withthe opportunity of a university experience as fulfilling asmine has been.Erica Richards graduated MSci Theoretical Physics withMathematics in 2011.www.physics.lancs.ac.uk35


Student financeLancaster University has committed £2.7m inscholarships and bursaries to help with your fees andliving costs. Our financial support depends on yourcircumstances and how well you do in your A-levels (orequivalent academic qualifications) before starting studywith us.Lancaster University's priority is to support every studentto make the most of their life and education. For studentsstarting their study with us in 2013, over 600 each year willbe entitled to bursaries and/or scholarships to help themwith the cost of fees and/or living expenses. For UKstudents entering in 2013 we will have the followingfinancial support available:An Academic Scholarship of £2,000 for the first year ofstudy to any student from the UK entering with A*, A*, Aor equivalent academic qualificationsAn Access Scholarship of £1,000 per year for all UKstudents from households with an income of less than£42,600 who achieve grades of A*, A, A or theequivalent academic qualificationsLancaster Physics Department scholarships (open toOverseas and UK/EU students):The Department of Physics is rewarding excellence byproviding scholarships of £1,000 in the first year of studyto those students who choose a Lancaster UniversityPhysics course as their firm choice and achieve A*A* in A-level mathematics and physics or equivalent grades forthose with alternative qualifications including overseas/EUstudents and OpenPlus students.Eliahou Dangoor Scholarship Scheme:The Eliahou Dangoor Scholarship Scheme was created togive talented British students the opportunity to studyscience, and related subjects, at leading edge researchuniversities. Each scholarship is worth £1,000. Please seewww.lancs.ac.uk for information about eligibility andapplication details. For UK students, this effectivelyupgrades the Lancaster University Academic Scholarshipto £3,000.A Lancaster Bursary of £1,000 per annum for allstudents from England with a household income ofmore than £25,000 but less than £42,600As part of the National Scholarship Programme, a£1,000 Bursary, a £1,000 Fee Waiver and a £1,000Accommodation Discount in the first year of study, forstudents from England with a household income of lessthan £25,000. Plus a Lancaster Bursary of £1,000 insubsequent years.For the latest information please see the LancasterUniversity student funding web pages athttp://www.lancs.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/fees-andfunding/.36 www.physics.lancs.ac.uk


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M6InvernessAberdeenGlasgowEdinburghNewcastleCarlisleM6LancasterLeedsKeswickRAILLiverpoolManchesterM6M1BirminghamM6M5CardiffM4LondonExeterWindermereWe areeasy to find!...by roadFrom the north or south: leave the M6 motorway atjunction 33 and take the A6 north towards Lancasterand continue for 1¾ miles (passing through thevillage of Galgate). Turn right at the third set of trafficlights into the University main drive. Take the first exitleft from the roundabout at the top of the main drive,then the first avenue on your right. This brings you tothe Reception Lodge where security staff will direct youto a Pay and Display car park and the PhysicsDepartment....by railThere are direct rail links between Lancaster and London(Euston), Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow andEdinburgh. The single journey between London andLancaster takes between 2.5 and 3 hours.The X1 bus stops outside the train station and runs to theUniversity every 20 minutes on weekdays and taxis arealso usually available from just outside the station. Busstops for other services to the University are a 5-10minute walk from the train station, and are located at theBus Station and by Lancaster market on Common GardenStreet....by coach and busLancaster city is on the national coach network; NationalExpress coaches call at the University. Local buses(numbers X1, 2, 2A, 3 and 4) from Lancaster bus stationrun to the University every 5 minutes on weekdays.Further details can be found on:www.lancs.ac.uk/travelMorecambeKendalLancasterLancasterUniversityFleetwoodBlackpoolM55RAILJct.33Preston39


The front cover illustration shows: (Top-Left) A snapshotof a time-evolution simulation showing the interactionbetween a surfactant molecule in salt solution on agraphene flake, generated using the molecular dynamicspackage DLPOLY-4. (Top-Right) Students admiring a 3dprojection of an aurora. (Bottom-Left) First year studentsbuilding and testing a Ruben's tube for investigatingstanding sound waves. (Bottom-Right) A reconstruction ofa neutrino interacting with material inside the T2K neardetector in Japan.www.physics.lancs.ac.uk

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