1pm - 4pm
Friday 14 December 2018

Inspirational physics

An afternoon of inspiring physics lectures for year 9 to 13 students at the University of Surrey. Featuring lectures from Professor Jim Al-Khalili and Dr Elizabeth Cunningham. Ideal for any students considering studying physics at A level or university or those with a keen interest in the subject.



Lecture Theatre D
University of Surrey
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Time Activity
1pm - 1:05pm Welcome and introduction
1:05pm - 1:45pm 'A Brief History of Gravity’ Professor Jim  Al-Khalili
1:45pm - 2:20pm ‘Scientific Adventures from inside a Sphere’ Dr Caroline Shenton-Taylor
2:20pm - 2:40pm Refreshment break
2:40pm - 3:10pm Careers in Physics’ Dr Elizabeth Cunningham
3:10pm - 3:45pm Dr Denis Eakle


A brief history of gravity from Professor Jim Al-Khalili

At school we all learn about gravity as one of the fundamental forces of nature, described by Newton hundreds of years ago. Even Einstein, who showed that gravity isn't actually a force at all but rather the shape of space and time themselves, didn't really shake us from our complacency. Now, things are coming to a head. We still don't have a proper theory that connects gravity to the other three forces in the Universe, gravitational mysteries like dark matter and dark energy have not yet been solved by physicists. We have black holes and gravitational waves and study the origins and destiny of our entire universe, and yet there's that nagging sense that something fundamental is missing. Are we waiting for another Einstein to come along and point to a new idea? This lecture will survey our current state of knowledge.

Jim Al-Khalili

Scientific adventures from inside a sphere from Dr Caroline Shenton-Taylor

From floating high above the Earth’s surface, to reaching the ocean floor, Auguste Piccard was a scientist who thrived on innovation and adventure. He engineered specially designed spheres, allowing him to venture into extreme environments. These journeys were risky and exciting, but his expeditions provided new scientific perspectives into space and the deep ocean. I will fly from the early days of manned ballooning, to the brilliant innovations of Piccard and his fights into the stratosphere. I’ll also share my own adventure in launching and chasing a space balloon across the UK involving a farm, sheep, breakfast cereal, a fire and the Civil Aviation Authority!

Caroline Shenton-Taylor

Careers in physics from Dr Elizabeth Cunningham

This talk will highlight some of the opportunities and benefits of choosing to study physics and describe Elizabeth’s path to making a life out of physics!

Elizabeth Cunningham
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