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Discover how some of the smallest fundamental particles in the universe (electrons) are involved in creating the beautiful natural phenomenon that is the Northern Lights. We will bring the aurora to you with a live demonstration of the planeterrella. But should we be thinking of fundamental particles as particles, or rather as undetectably small vibrating strings? Challenge everything you thought you knew about the universe and explore some fascinating applications of string theory and the principle of holography. Please note that this event takes place on the first floor and is not accessible...
The Auroral Adventure
John Coxon (Postdoctoral research assistant in magnetic reconnection)
Dr John Coxon, a researcher in the Space Environment Physics group at the University of Southampton, will lead us through the history of auroral research, starting with the very first expeditions to discover the Northern Lights and ending in the present day. He will also demonstrate the Planeterrella, an artificial recreation of the aurora and an update to an experiment which is more than a hundred years old.
Is Our Universe a Hologram?
Andy O'Bannon (Royal Society University Research Fellow)
Dr. O’Bannon is a Royal Society University Research Fellow in theoretical physics. He worked in Seattle, Munich, Cambridge, and Oxford before arriving in Southampton in 2015. His research uses a sophisticated technique from string theory, called holography, to study the unusual properties of fluids made of strongly-interacting particles. Although the systems he studies are theoretical, they may reveal general principles applicable to real materials, including some with revolutionary potential, such as energy-efficient power cables, quantum computers, and next-generation electronics.
When Black Holes Collide
Emma Osborne (PhD student at the University of Southampton)
Emma Osborne is a theoretical astrophysicist at the University of Southampton, researching gravitational wave emission from neutron stars. On 14th September 2015, gravitational waves were detected for the first time as two black holes, millions of light years away, crashed into one other. In this talk, Emma will be looking at the surprises this cataclysmic event unveiled. From the unanticipated discoveries made at the time of the detection, to how the black hole event horizon may cause gravitational waves to echo, and how space never forgets with gravitational wave memory.