The Department of Physics public lecture series. An exciting series of lectures about the research at Oxford Physics take place throughout the academic year. Looking at topics diverse as the creation of the universe to the science of climate change.
Features episodes previously published as:
(1) 'Oxford Physics Alumni': "Informal interviews with physics alumni at events, lectures and other alumni related activities."
(2) 'Physics and Philosophy: Arguments, Experiments and a Few Things in Between': "A series which explores some of the links between physics and philosophy, two of the most fundamental ways with which we try to answer our questions about the world around us. A number of the most pertinent topics which bridge the disciplines are discussed - the nature of space and time, the unpredictable results of quantum mechanics and their surprising consequences and perhaps most fundamentally, the nature of the mind and how far science can go towards explaining and understanding it. Featuring interviews with Dr. Christopher Palmer, Prof. Frank Arntzenius, Prof. Vlatko Vedral, Dr. David Wallace and Prof. Roger Penrose."
IceCube: Opening a New Window on the Universe from the South Pole
Particle Physics Christmas Lecture, hosted by Prof. Daniela Bortoletto, Head of Particle Physics and senior members of the department with guest speaker, Professor Francis Halzen. Professor Francis Halzen is Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center and Department of Physics, University of Wisconsin - Madison.
Prof Halzen is a theoretician studying problems at the interface of particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology. In 1987 he began working on the AMANDA experiment, a prototype neutrino telescope buried under the South Pole. It provided a proof-of-concept for IceCube, a kilometer-scale detector completed in 2010 which in 2013 discovered an extraterrestrial flux of high energy neutrinos. More recently in 2018 the first cosmic source of such neutrinos was tentatively identified. IceCube has also made precision measurements of neutrino oscillations, searched for dark matter and even contributed to our understanding of glaciology. Prof Halzen will discuss these achievements as well as plans for a much bigger detector that will firmly establish neutrino astronomy as a new window on the universe.
The IceCube project has transformed a cubic kilometre of natural Antarctic ice into a neutrino detector. The instrument detects more than 100,000 neutrinos per year in the GeV to 10,000 TeV energy range. Among those, we have isolated a flux of high-energy neutrinos of cosmic origin. We will explore the use of IceCube data for neutrino physics and astrophysics emphasizing the significance of the discovery of cosmic neutrinos. We identified their first source: alerted by IceCube on September 22, 2017, several astronomical telescopes pinpointed a flaring galaxy powered by an active supermassive black hole, as the source of a cosmic neutrino with an energy of 310 TeV. Most importantly, the large cosmic neutrino flux observed implies that the Universe’s energy density in high-energy neutrinos is close to that in gamma rays, suggesting that the sources are connected and that a multitude of astronomical objects await discovery.
The State of the Universe
Our Universe was created in 'The Big Bang' and has been expanding ever since. Professor Schmidt describes the vital statistics of the Universe, and tries to make sense of the Universe's past, present, and future.
Unveiling the Birth of Stars and Galaxies (Slides)
The 2016 Hintze Biannual Lecture delivered by Professor Robert Kennicutt Understanding the birth of stars is one of grand challenges of 21st century astrophysics, with impacts extending from the formation of planets to the birth and shaping of galaxies themselves. The challenge has been all the more difficult because the most active birth sites are largely hidden in visible light. Thanks to a new generation of infrared and submillimetre space telescopes this veil has been lifted, and a complete picture of starbirth in the Universe is emerging. They reveal an extraordinary diversity of activities in galaxies, and an emerging history of star formation cosmic time, extending back to some of the first stars and seeds of galaxies. This talk will summarise what we have learnt about starbirth on cosmic scales, and highlight the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead.
Seeing the High Energy Universe with IceCube
Members of the Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics hosted the 3rd morning of Theoretical Physics covering the subject of Inner Space Meets Outer Space: Covering the Connections Between Cosmology and Particle Physics
The Einstein Lens and a Tale of Two Eclipses
Physics Colloquium 20th November 2015 delivered by Professor Tom Ray This year marks the centenary of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. As is well known, physicists became convinced that Einstein was right after Eddington’s and Dyson’s famous expedition to measure the gravitational deflection of starlight. Recently the speaker has found the equipment that proved critical in testing Einstein’s theory after it being lost for almost 70 years. Remarkably its discovery has led to the finding that earlier eclipse data may have been conveniently ignored. The finger of suspicion points at Sir Frank Dyson, the Astronomer Royal, who was trying to protect Eddington from being conscripted into the British Army during World War I.
LHC searches for dark matter
Members of the Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics hosted the 6th morning of Theoretical Physics covering the ways in which ideas from theoretical particle physics guide the high energy accelerator program at CERN