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We rely on the energy that surrounds us. We use it to power our smartphones and heat our homes. We begin this year's festival by looking into the future and how we can solve our energy related problems. This venue serves pies and bar snacks, and is fully accessible.
From bits to batteries
Dr Chris Handley (Department of Materials Science & Engineering)
The search for novel materials to address the economic, ecological and phenomenological challenges of our modern world means we are now modifying materials by manipulating 1 atom in a hundred or more. We do this to fine tune the properties of batteries, electronics components, metal alloys, glasses, cements, ceramics. This also means we can make these materials greener, less toxic, and cheaper to make. in this talk we explain the methods we use to design materials, atom by atom, on a computer.
Limbo state: current and future status of UK plutonium
Lewis Blackburn (PhD Student)
The UK currently possesses a large stockpile of separated Plutonium. Its past use in nuclear weapons and its potential use in certain nuclear reactors means it could be viewed as a dangerous material or valuable asset. There is no definite consensus as to the future of UK plutonium. This talk will outline the current government position and an analysis of the credible options that are being discussed by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
Things fall apart: the final fate of everything
Dr Matthew Malek (Department of Physics & Astronomy)
This "Atoms to Galaxies" talk covers the final fate of both atoms AND galaxies! At the largest scales: I will discuss how a mysterious "dark energy" is causing galaxies to move away from each other at an ever-faster pace, leaving the Universe a cold and empty place. At the smallest scales: I will describe the search for a "grand unified theory" (GUT) of matter. I will also explain how a GUT (if it exists) will cause all atoms to decay away. Eventually, the whole universe will be isolated and full of cosmic clutter. Attractive, isn't it?