The Physical Sciences Colloquia are intended for a broad audience – from undergraduate students to retired professors. The topics encompass the interests of all research groups in the School: from Applied Optics, through Astrophysics, Planetary Science and Forensic Imaging to Functional Materials Physics and Chemistry.
The colloquia are held on Wednesdays at 2 pm in the Ingram Lecture Theatre (ILT) unless otherwise specified. The programme is constantly updated. Click on the speaker’s name and the talk’s title for biographical information/contact details and an abstract, respectively.
Everybody welcome!

Present Term

All our colloquia for this term will be on our Events Calendar which we regularly update when we have a confirmed speaker so make sure to check back regularly! You can also have a look at speakers for our present term by clicking on their entry below:

13th Dec 17 – Ass-Prof. Michael Reithofer, University of Vienna

From Molecules to Self-Assembly and Beyond; 2pm in Ingram Lecture Theatre, Ingram Building, Canterbury Campus

Inspired by nature’s ability to use small building blocks to form complex functional materials, we strive to understand and utilize such concepts to develop materials made of small biomolecules, which can be utilized for medical and optical applications. For example, self-assembling ultrashort peptides, which are able to form hydrogels, possess a great potential for medical applications. We demonstrate the use of such peptides for local drug delivery, and as template for the in situ synthesis of silver nanoparticles. Furthermore, positron emission tomography studies of these self-assembling peptides revealed their potential to selectively deliver anti-inflammatory drugs.

The talk will also discuss our efforts in utilizing the natural chiral pool to develop gold nanoparticles with chiroptical properties. Finally, examples of our work on small molecule activation and MOF chemistry will also be discussed.

Speakers Research Group

22nd Nov 17 – Prof. Julie Staunton, University of Warwick

Extending Density Functional Theory (DFT) to finite temperatures to describe spintronics, refrigeration and permanent magnetic effects; 2pm in Ingram Lecture Theatre, Ingram Building, Canterbury Campus

The DFT-based Disordered Local Moment Theory of magnetic materials and its quantitative description of the temperature and field dependence of magnetic phase transitions will be discussed [1,2]. The intricate interplay between itinerant and more localised spin degrees of freedom leads to temperature dependent spin-polarised electronic structure and transport properties. How caloric effects for refrigeration can be estimated will be explained [3] and results for the magnetic properties of rare earth – transition metal magnets such as SmCo5 presented [4].

[1] B.L.Gyorffy et al., J.Phys. F 15, 1337, (1985).
[2] J.B. Staunton et al., Phys. Rev. B 89,054427, (2014).
[3] J. Zemen, E. Mendive-Tapia et al., Phys. Rev. B 95, 184438, (2017).
[4] C. Patrick et al., Phys. Rev. Materials 1, 024411, (2017).

Speakers Profile

15th Nov 2017 – Agata Rozek, University of Kent

Applications of Machine Learning to Asteroid Shape Modelling — conclusions from NASA Frontier Development Lab; 2pm in Ingram Lecture Theatre, Ingram Building, Canterbury Campus

This summer I was involved in the NASA Frontier Development Lab, an intense 8-week study concentrated on tackling topics important to NASA using machine learning tools. During the programme interdisciplinary teams of early career researchers were looking at issues related to planetary defence, space weather, and space resources. The team I was a part of investigated shape modelling of near-Earth asteroids from radar data. These asteroids are the Earth’s closest neighbours in space, most accessible by space flight and with a potential for causing a threat to the planet. Even though they are constantly monitored, detailed characteristics, like shapes and sizes, are available for only a selected few. Physical models are required to successfully plan spacecraft missions and set up impact mitigation strategies. Additional incentive is in learning know how our space environment works and evolves. Reconstructing asteroid shapes and spins from radar data is, like many inverse problems, a computationally intensive task. Shape modelling also requires extensive human oversight to ensure that computational methods find physically feasible results. In this talk I will discuss the results of our work at NASA Frontier Development Lab 2017, exploring the application of machine learning tools to the shape modelling task.

31st Oct 2017 – Prof. Saiful Islam, University of Bath

From Batteries to Solar Cells: Atomic-Scale Insights into Energy Materials
Royal Society of Chemistry Award Lecture
; 2pm in Keynes Lecture Theatre 5, Keynes College, Canterbury Campus

For the next generation of clean energy technologies, the development of new materials is crucial. This talk highlights (with the aid of 3D specs) the use of advanced modelling and structural techniques to gain new insights into the chemistry of materials for lithium-ion batteries and perovskite solar cells.

24th Oct 2017 – Prof. A.Piatti, University of Cordoba

Lecture Title: The growing number of (new) star clusters in the Magellanic System; 4pm in Room 110, Ingram Building, Canterbury Campus

The adventure of catching up with new stellar clusters in the Magellanic System has been recently fueled from the ongoing relatively deep and extensive photometric surveys. Particularly, the presence of stellar clusters in the periphery of the Magellanic Clouds and beyond is currently an exciting issue. We present here a review of recently discovered stellar clusters in the Magellanic System. Particularly, we focus on the use of a wealth of wide-field high-quality images released in advance to the astronomical community. Additionally, we will show the performance of searching techniques for new stellar cluster candidates using suitable kernel density estimators for appropriate ranges of cluster radii and stellar densities.

Speaker Profile

27th Sept 2017 – Prof. Delia Haynes, University of Stellenbosch


Stephen Gray Lectures

The Stephen Gray Lectures are a series of talks celebrating both Stephen Gray’s work as well as related areas of Physical Sciences. Being one of Canterbury’s most prominent Physical Scientists the lectures will take place at the University of Kent’s main campus in Canterbury. See below for more specific details about each lecture.

Thursday 30th March 2017 –
Dr. David H. Clark: “Stephen Gray –
Canterbury’s Forgotten Hero of Science”
– view the lecture online here.

Past speakers are on the next page.