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Warwick astronomer among first UKRI Stephen Hawking Fellows

Dr Rebecca Nealon will join the Department of Physics to research protoplanetary discs as one of the first nine Stephen Hawking Fellows. Announced today, the fellows will continue Professor Stephen Hawking’s legacy by furthering our understanding of the universe and communicating the wonders of science to the public. As the planets in our solar system are all aligned so their orbits are in one plane, we might imagine that discs where planets are formed around other stars are also aligned. However, recent observations have shown that there are a number of systems where this is not the case. Dr Nealon’s research will focus on how these discs are created and evolve as well as their potential impact on planet formation, leading to a more comprehensive picture of disc and planet formation.

Fri 06 Mar 2020, 10:58 | Tags: Feature News

From Lab Bench to Backbench: Farzana Meru visits politicians in Westminster

Farzana Meru from the Astronomy and Astrophysics group will be swapping simulations for legislation when she visits Matt Western MP at the Houses of Parliament and Whitehall for a week in Westminster. The week (2 – 6 March) is part of a unique pairing scheme run by the Royal Society with support from the Government Office of Science.

During her visit, Farzana will shadow Mr Western, who is Member of Parliament for Warwick and Leamington, and learn about his work. As well as attending seminars and panel discussions about how evidence is used in policy making, Farzana will attend a mock Select Committee.

Mon 02 Mar 2020, 16:37 | Tags: Feature News

Physics Promotions

The department is pleased to confirm that the following staff have been awarded promotions as of 1 June 2020 (new position in brackets):

Animesh Datta (Reader)
Nick Hine (Reader)
James Lloyd-Hughes (Reader)
James McCormac (Senior Research Fellow)
Michael Pounds (Associate Professor)
Dimitri Veras (Associate Professor)

Congratulations to all.

Wed 19 Feb 2020, 14:21 | Tags: Feature News, announcements

Department of Physics Work Experience - 14-17 April

Warwick Physics has a small number of work experience placements available every year for students in Years 10-12.

For the 2019/20 academic year, these placements will take place between 14-17 April 2020.

Head to for more information, including how to apply.

Mon 10 Feb 2020, 15:37 | Tags: Feature News, Outreach, Public Engagement and Media

First direct observation of a torsional Alfvén oscillation in the corona of the Sun

Torsional Alfvén waves are promising candidates for transporting energy from the solar surface into the corona and have been theoretically predicted for decades. However, their detection is notoriously difficult and so far has mostly relied on indirect signatures.

Imaging and spectral data from the space-based IRIS observatory has been used to study a surge of cool solar plasma in the corona above the East limb of the Sun. The surge has been triggered by the magnetic reconnection of open and closed magnetic fields. Using imaging and spectral information the tell-tale torsional signatures of plasma rotation of alternating sense have been revealed.

This discovery was made by scientists from the University of Warwick's Physics Department and the University of Oslo's Rosseland Centre for Solar Physics and has been published this month as a letter in the journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics. This study provides the first direct observational evidence that magnetic reconnection leads to the generation of large-scale torsional Alfvén waves in the solar corona.

Petra Kohutova, Erwin Verwichte, and Clara Froment 2020, A&A, 633, L6

Tue 28 Jan 2020, 17:19 | Tags: Feature News, Research

Marin Alexe wins Humboldt Research Award

Marin Alexe of the Functional Electronic Materials group has received a prestigious Humboldt Research Award, recognising the breadth and depth of his research career in Condensed Matter Physics. Marin will work with academics in Germany to undertake research projects at the Martin Luther University, Halle/Saale and Technical University, Darmstadt.

Further information can be found at


Tue 28 Jan 2020, 12:12 | Tags: Feature News, Awards

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