Guest Lectures From Industry

To keep our Mathematics and Physics programmes relevant to the key industries that our graduates will one day end up in, we invite industry speakers to give special lectures on how they use mathematics and physics in their job. Our modules “Industrial and Financial Mathematics” and “Industrial and Econophysics” aim to expose students to some of the many ways in which physics and mathematics is used to solve “real world” problems. The modules are intended to showcase some of the industrial applications of physics and mathematics with a focus on the finance sector towards the end. Invited industry specialists give the lectures for the industrial, introducing mathematical techniques and physics they have not encountered before. Unlike traditional modules where content is delivered and then assessed, the industrial modules focuses on the ability to self teach complex and unfamiliar mathematics and physics. This simulates a more realistic approach to solving a problem in an industrial setting.

Past industry speakers have included:

  • Neil Main from Micrometric who gives a tour of Micrometric, which specialises in complex engineering using lasers, followed by a talk on how lasers are used to engineer many of their products.
  • Flick Levett, a past student, now works at BAE and gave a talk about how physics is used in her role as electrical engineer.
  • Dr Martin Cawley is Head of Radiotherapy Physics and Lead Healthcare Scientist at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust. Martin Dr Cawley introduces various instruments he uses and maintains as part of his job in the hospital.
  • Prof. Natasha Maurits is a Professor of Clinical Neuroengineering at the University of Groningen in the Faculty of Medical Sciences. Prof Maurits talks about a variety of mathematical techniques and how they can be applied to help improve the diagnostics doctors make in a clinical setting.
  • Prof John Tyrer from Loughborough University gives two talks . The first discusses ballistics with a focus on the physics of high to hyper velocity impacts. The second talk is about spacecraft engineering with a focus on the mathematics for designing orbits of spacecraft missions.
  • Dr Phil Sutton talks about vibration analysis and includes some real case studies with the help of Triumph Motorcycles.
  • Dr Phil Assheton who worked in MASH talks about financial mathematics with a focus on options.
  • Dr Festus Agbonzikilo from Siemens talks about mathematical modelling for the design of industrial gas turbines.
  • Nicholas Brusby from Rolls-Royce talks about how mathematical modelling used in the design of aircraft engines.
  • Tom Crabtree is a senior meteorologist at the Met Office and talks about the modelling and forecasting of UK weather.
  • Alan Cowdale is a Senior Scientific Advisor at RAF Waddington and talks about how mathematics is used in the defense sector with a focus on mission planning.
  • A team from SRC talked about how mathematics is used in radars.
  • Louise Wright is the Head of Data Science and Principal Research Scientist in Data Analytics & Modelling at National Physical Laboratory (NPL). Louise talks about the mathematics used in various divisions within the NPL.

Below are some images of our 2nd year students presenting their posters on industrial applications of mathematics and physics.

Astronomical Questions and Quantum Queries

Quantum physics and Astrophysics have been captivating the minds of Physicists and the general public for decades. In this event, two of our academics from the School of Mathematics and Physics here at the University of Lincoln will start the discussion with their ‘top tricky questions’ in the fields of astrophysics and quantum physics.

Astronomy (Dr Phil Sutton):

  • How many Moons does the Earth have?
  • Why are there no green stars?

Quantum Physics (Dr Matt Booth):

  • What is wave / particle duality?
  • What is a wave function?
  • What is superposition?

The online event for schools was organized Elizabeth Holland who is now a 2nd year physics student in the School of Mathematics and Physics. It was in part sponsored by the Ogden Trust grant PEGSU21\159 “Physics outreach undergraduate bursary”.

Student Contest Announced: Why human exploration of the outer solar system and the stars?

Dr Phil Sutton

Due to COVID-19 issues, the Limitless Space Institute (LSI) is unable to host student interns during the summer of 2020. As an alternate approach to still be able to engage with students on the topic of bold space exploration, LSI will instead sponsor and conduct a student paper contest with the pinnacle objective of addressing the question of why – why human exploration of the outer solar system and on to the stars? LSI is in the process of addressing the question internally and would like to hear some perspectives from the next generation on this topic. As some excellent examples of video vignettes somewhat related to the question, consider the following two videos titled Wanderers produced by Erik Wernquist and The Frontier is Everywhere produced by Reid Gower. In both videos the creators make excellent use of some eloquent, compelling, and succinct words spoken by Carl Sagan accompanied by…

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Lincoln Astrophysics Team

Lincolnshire-born former NASA astronaut, Michael Foale CBE, returns home to share his extraordinary tales from outer space.

An article on the event along with comments by Dr Phil Sutton, an astrophysicist at the University of Lincoln, is available on The Echo website. Below is further details about the event:

Pint of Science, in collaboration with the University of Lincoln and the International Space School Trust, are proud to launch the upcoming, “An evening with astronaut Michael Foale”. This unmissable event marks the homecoming of Lincolnshire-born astronaut, Michael Foale, so he can share tales and personal videos from his time in space. Join us in welcoming him home at the Isaac Newton Building, Brayford Campus, University of Lincoln, on Thursday, 17th January, to hear our local hero tell exciting tales from his time in outer space, including a nail-biting account of what happened when the Russian Mir space station…

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Physics Seminar by Dr Andrew Caruana

On 23rd January Dr Andrew Caruana visited the physics department at the University of Lincoln. He gave a seminar for 3rd year physics students in the afternoon about his current role at ISIS as a beamline scientist. He introduced some of the techniques that are being used in his experiment (polarised neutron reflectivity) and why it is a useful  for investigating many properties of a range of materials. Afterwards Dr Caruana moved on to some of his current research interests involving the spin Seebeck effect which he is working closely with collaborators at Loughborough University.

Dr Caruana also invited the students and members of staff to come and visit the institute and see the experiment he supports.


Physics seminar: Dr Andrew Caruana

On 23rd January 2018 at 14:00 Dr Andrew Carauna will give a physics seminar in room INB3305. Below is the title, abstract and summary of Andrew’s work.


Studying the spin Seebeck Effect using Polarised Neutron Reflectivity

Talk outline:

Thermoelectric generators (TEGs) are of increasing interest due to their potential use in energy harvesting of waste heat. The efficiency of such devices is often characterised by the thermoelectric figure of merit, zT[1], which is ultimately limited by the thermal and electric conductivities in conventional TEGs.  The ideal TEG material should have a high electrical conductivity (to reduce resistive losses), and low thermal conductivity (so that a large temperature gradient can be setup across the device) for the optimisation of zT. However, these properties are intrinsically linked to one another, as best described by the Weidemann-Franz Law (κ=σL0T), thus providing a limit to the upper value of zT.

The spin Seebeck effect (SSE) may overcome this limitation. When a thermal gradient is applied to a magnetised ferromagnet (FM) it can induce a spin current, JS [2]. By placing a heavy metal (NM) in contact with a FM material, JS can be converted to a charge current, JC, via the inverse spin hall effect (ISHE). Due to the separation of the active material (FM layer) and the electric circuit (NM layer) the FM layer can be chosen so that the thermal conductivity is minimised without affecting the electrical conductivity of the contact NM layer.

Polarised Neutron Reflectivity (PNR) provides information of the physical density and magnetic moment of a thin film or multilayer as a function of depth. Since PNR can probe buried interfaces, layer and interface parameters such as layer thickness, layer density, magnetic moment of the layer and the roughness at each interface can be determined. By the use of specific sample environment (magnets, cryostats, furnaces etc.), the depth profile of the magnetic moment can be probed under a variety of different conditions. In our recent work we have been investigating the magnetic depth profile of our SSE based devices[2] when a thermal gradient is applied across the device, using a custom built thermal cell. In this talk, I will provide an introduction to the SSE, PNR and the POLREF beamline at ISIS and show our recent work using the in-situ SSE-thermal cell.

[1] L. E. Bell, Science, 321, 1457 (2008)

[2] K. Uchida et al, J. Phys. Condens. Matter, 26, 343202 (2014)

[3] A. Caruana et al, Phys. Status Solidi RRL 10, No. 8, 613–617 (2016)


About Dr Andrew Carauna:

Studied for an undergraduate masters MPhys in pure physics at Loughborough University (graduated 2010). Conducted an experimental PhD in physics on pulsed laser deposition (PLD) of oxide thin films (graduated 2015, Supervisor Dr Mike Cropper). I was a postdoc for 1 year working under Dr Kelly Morrison on the Spin Seebeck Effect (SSE), growing thin film SSE devices using PLD. I now work as an instrument scientist on the POLREF polarised neutron reflectometer at the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source. My main research interests lie in magnetic thin film devices for use in spintronics, i.e. the Spin Seebeck effect, specifically looking at interfacial effects on the induced spin pumping within these devices. Additionally, I am also interested in developing sample environment for in-situ measurement techniques on the beamline, i.e. in-situ SSE and ferromagnetic resonance/spin pumping.