Birmingham – Physics

Monday 25th November 2019

10.45am to 3.30pm
University of Birmingham, Great Hall

plus examiner sessions with Michelle Oldfield

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The Scientists appearing on the day

Dr Suzie Sheehy

The secret life of particle accelerators

There are over 35,000 particle accelerators in existence today, whose purposes vary from uncovering the secrets of the universe to treating cancer. Dr Suzie Sheehy talks about the incredible atom smashing machines.

She is an accelerator physicist whose research focuses on developing new particle accelerators for future applications in areas such as medicine and energy. After finishing her degree in her native Australia in 2006, she completed a DPhil at Oxford, for which she worked on designing a new type of particle accelerator for cancer treatment using protons and light ions. Since 2016, she has been working on high power hadron accelerators at the University of Oxford.

Dr Jessica Wade

Plastic Electronics

She is a physicist from Imperial College London, based at the Centre for Plastic Electronics. Her cutting-edge research looks at creating new electronic devices out of carbon- based materials that will lead to cheaper, cleaner and lighter technologies in the future, which she will talk about at Science Live. She is a tireless and award-winning campaigner for gender inclusion and equality in science.

Prof Jim Al-Khalili

Quantum Biology

Theoretical nuclear physicist, author and broadcaster, Jim Al-Khalili talks about the exciting field of quantum biology, a new area of unfolding discovery, which shows how quantum effects may be the key to understanding some of biology’s greatest mysteries.

He is professor of physics at the University of Surrey and also has a chair in the Public Engagement of Science. He won a Faraday prize for science communication. His documentaries include Order and Disorder, Everything and Nothing, Chemistry: A Volatile History and The Secrets of the Quantum Universe on the BBC. He is also the presenter of the BBC Radio 4 series, The Life Scientific. He is the author of several science books, including Paradox: The nine greatest enigmas in science and Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science and most recently Life on the Edge: The Coming Age of Quantum Biology. His lecture will get to grips with one of the deepest questions mankind has ever asked. In 2018 he was elected fellow of the Royal Society.

Prof Frank Close

An introduction to Nuclear Physics

From the ‘father of nuclear physics’ Ernest Rutherford, to the discovery of quarks fifty years later, Professor Frank Close, gives us an historical and conceptual guide nuclear physics.

He is a particle physicist, Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford. He has written extensively on a range of subjects. His books include, The Infinity PuzzleAntimatter and Neutrino. He has previously given the Royal Institution’s Christmas Lectures and in 2013 was awarded the Michael Faraday Prize for excellence in science communication. 



Dr Michael Brooks


Science author and journalist, Michael Brooks explores one of the great pursuits of modern physics: understanding gravity. With the direct observation of gravitational waves, our knowledge is growing, but the picture is far from complete.

Michael Brooks, who holds a PhD in quantum physics, is an author, journalist and broadcaster. He is a consultant at New Scientist and writes  a weekly column for the New Statesman. He is the author of At The Edge of Uncertainty, The Secret Anarchy of Science and the bestselling non-fiction title 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense