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Department of Physics

Physics at Oxford aspire to be one of the best physics departments in the world by conducting cutting-edge research and by teaching and developing the careers of the next generation of physicists.
Physics work on major facilities worldwide, develop the most advanced experimental techniques and the most sophisticated theoretical methods to investigate nature at every scale.
Oxford University Physics Department pursues fundamental science and in doing so make discoveries that enable them to contribute directly to tackling the challenging problems facing society.

Series associated with Department of Physics

Oxford Physics Academic Lectures
Oxford Physics Public Lectures
Oxford Physics Research
Oxford Physics Short Talks and Introductions
Quantum Mechanics
The Oxford Solid State Basics
The Physics of Fine-Tuning
Theoretical Physics - From Outer Space to Plasma
# Episode Title Description People Date
410 Chirality in living systems Prof Alexander Mietke discusses recent findings in this field that have linked chirality in living systems to the formation of a left-right body axis in organisms and to a new kind of elasticity that is found in crystals formed by starfish embryos. Alexander Mietke 11 Jun 2024
409 Imaging living systems Dr Adrien Hallou presents a new methodology called 'spatial mechano-transcriptomics', which allows the simultaneous measurement of the mechanical and transcriptional states of cells in a multicellular tissue at single cell resolution. Adrien hallou 11 Jun 2024
408 Statistical physics of living systems Professor Julia Yeomans describes how mechanical models are being extended to incorporate the unique properties of living systems Julia Yeomans 11 Jun 2024
407 The Miracle of Quantum Error Correction In this talk, Benedikt Placke introduces QEC and explains how the unique interplay between the classical and the quantum world enables us to efficiently correct errors effecting such systems. Benedikt Placke 15 Mar 2024
406 Simulating physics beyond computer power In this talk Alessio Lerose discusses the seminal idea of simulating Nature via a controllable quantum system rather than a classical computer. He discusses recent advances that brought us closer to the ultimate goal of a universal quantum simulator. Alessio Lerose 15 Mar 2024
405 A liquid of quarks and gluons Jasmine Brewer covers recent progress on studying the properties of the quark-gluon plasma, and describe how we can capitalize on lessons learned from high-energy physics to provide new insights on this novel material. Jasmine Brewer 15 Mar 2024
404 Was there a strategic alternative to the atomic bombing of 1945? Delve into history with Dr Rob Johnson, Director of The Changing Character of War Centre at Oxford, as he explores a pivotal question. Rob Johnson 21 Dec 2023
403 Oxford Physics and the ‘remote and speculative project’ A lecture by Prof Stephen Blundell, Professor of Physics – Condensed Matter - (Department of Physics and Mansfield College). Stephen Blundell 21 Dec 2023
402 Nuclear Physics and the development of the bomb Explore the history of atomic bomb development with Dr. Georg Viehhauser, Particle Physics Research Lecturer at St John's College, Oxford. Georg Viehhauser 21 Dec 2023
401 Possible sources for the gravitational wave background Dr Yonadav Barry Ginat - Possible sources for the gravitational wave background Yonadav Barry Ginat 28 Nov 2023
400 Searching for the origin of black hole mergers in the Universe with gravitational waves Prof Bence Kocsis - Searching for the origin of black hole mergers in the Universe with gravitational waves Bence Kocsis 28 Nov 2023
399 Gravitational radiation: an overview Prof Steven Balbus - Gravitational radiation: an overview Steven Balbus 28 Nov 2023
398 How the weird and wonderful properties of magnetised laser plasmas could ignite fusion-energy research Archie Bott explains how a promising scheme for fusion relies on a novel feature of hot laser-plasmas: introducing a magnetic field of the correct strength alters the plasma’s fundamental properties in a highly counterintuitive yet beneficial manner. Archie Bott 02 Jun 2023
397 Stellarators: twisty tokamaks that could be the future of fusion Georgia Acton introduces stellarators, discusses the features that distinguish them from tokamaks, highlight the challenges we currently face, and discusses how we might overcome them. Georgia Acton 02 Jun 2023
396 Magnetic confinement fusion: Science that’s hotter than a Kardashian Instagram post Michael Barnes introduces the basic concepts behind magnetic confinement fusion, he describes why it is so challenging and discusses possibilities for the future. Michael Barnes 02 Jun 2023
395 The spaghettification of stars by supermassive black holes: understanding one of nature’s most extreme events The spaghettification of stars by supermassive black holes: understanding one of nature’s most extreme events - Andrew Mummery Andrew Mummery 03 Mar 2023
394 Extreme value statistics and the theory of rare events Extreme value statistics and the theory of rare events - Francesco Mori Francesco Mori 03 Mar 2023
393 Inflation and the Very Early Universe Inflation and the Very Early Universe - Georges Obied Georges Obied 03 Mar 2023
392 Axion Searches from Black Holes to the Basement Professor John March-Russell talks about the search possibilities for axions including many current and near future ultra-precise quantum `table top' experiments in the Beecroft basement. John March-Russell 01 Dec 2022
391 Axion Electrodynamics in Solid-State Materials Professor Siddharth Parameswaran gives the second talk on Axions. Siddharth Parameswaran 01 Dec 2022
390 The Axion: How Angles Become Particles Professor Joseph Conlon introduces the general idea of axions: particles associated to fields which are valued on a circle rather than a real line. Joseph Conlon 01 Dec 2022
389 Fluid-gravity duality and hydrodynamics of black holes Holography explains why black hole horizons have thermodynamic and hydrodynamic properties and inspires researchers to re-visit foundations and explore limits of relativistic hydrodynamics Andrei Starinets, Julia Yeomans 29 Apr 2021
388 Hydrodynamics of Quantum Many-Body Systems Out of Equilibrium Can we apply hydrodynamics to systems with extensively many conservation laws Bruno Bertini 29 Apr 2021
387 Why Hydrodynamics? What is hydrodynamics and why does it apply over 20 orders of magnitude in energy and length. Steve Simon, Julia Yeomans 29 Apr 2021
386 Strings and Fields Will strings be the theory of everything?, presented by Prof Luis Fernando Alday. Luis Fernando Alday 16 Jan 2021
385 Classical and Quantum Black Holes Prof March-Russell explains our latest understanding of black holes, some of the most mysterious objects in the Universe. John March-Russell 16 Jan 2021
384 Why is Quantum Gravity so hard? A pressing question in our quest to understand the Universe is how to unify quantum mechanics and gravity, the very small and the very large. John Wheater 16 Jan 2021
383 Machine learning techniques in modern quantum-mechanics experiments In this talk, Dr Elliott Bentine shall discuss how recent experiments have exploited machine-learning techniques, both to optimize the operation of these devices and to interperet the data they produce. Elliott Bentine 22 Mar 2020
382 Machine Learning and String Theory Professor Andre Lukas will discuss how string theorists have started to use methods from data science - particularly machine learning - to analyse the vast landscape of string data. Andre Lukas 22 Mar 2020
381 An Introduction to deep learning Professor Ard Louis gives a basic introduction to deep learning for physicists and addresses a few questions such as: Is the hype around deep learning justified, or are we about to hit some fundamental limitations? Ard Louis 22 Mar 2020
380 Welcome by Ian Shipsey Head of the Department of Physics Ian Shipsey give an update on the department and introduces the next three talk on 'AI in Physics'. Ian Shipsey 22 Mar 2020
379 IceCube: Opening a New Window on the Universe from the South Pole Particle Physics Christmas Lecture, hosted by Prof. Daniela Bortoletto, Head of Particle Physics and senior members of the department with guest speaker, Professor Francis Halzen. Daniela Bortoletto, Francis Halzen 20 Dec 2019
378 The First Image of a Black Hole Professor Heino Falcke of Radboud University, Nijmegen delivers the 19th Hintze Lecture - reviewing the latest results of the Event Horizon Telescope, its scientific implications and future expansions of the array Heino Falcke 19 Nov 2019
377 Cosmic acceleration revealed by Type la supernovae? In this talk Subir Sarkar will explain how deflagration supernovae have been used to infer that the Hubble expansion rate is accelerating, and critically assess whether the acceleration is real and due to `dark energy’. Subir Sarkar 01 Nov 2019
376 Supernova Explosions and their Role in the Universe In this talk, Philipp Podsiadlowski will explain how this energy (sometimes) creates a visible fireball, before going on to explain the role of supernovae in the production of the heaviest elements in the periodic table. Philipp Podsiadlowski 01 Nov 2019
375 What makes stars go bang? In this talk, James Binney will outline the physics that leads to prodigeous release of energy in core-collapse and deflagration supernovae. James Binney 01 Nov 2019
374 Creative Commons The Many Universes of Quantum Materials Professor Stephen Blundell explores the many universes of quantum materials for the 2019 Quantum Materials Public Lecture. Stephen Blundell 07 Oct 2019
373 Gravitational Waves and Prospects for Multi-messenger Astronomy Professor Barry C Barish gives a talk on the quest for the detection of gravitational waves. Barry C. Barrish 30 Jul 2019
372 Finding aliens – An update on the search for life in the Universe Bill Diamond, President & CEO The SETI Institute gives an an update on the search for life in the Universe. Hosted by Ian Shipsey, Head of Physics. Bill Diamond, Ian Shipsey 30 Jul 2019
371 Cherwell-Simon Memorial Lecture: The XENON Project: at the forefront of Dark Matter Direct Detection What is the Dark Matter which makes 85% of the matter in the Universe? We have been asking this question for many decades and used a variety of experimental approaches to address it, with detectors on Earth and in space. Elena Aprile 08 Jul 2019
370 Is Dark Matter Made of Black Holes The 2019 Halley lecture Marc Kamionkowski 04 Jun 2019
369 The Role of Gas in Galaxy Evolution Professor Jacqueline van Gorkom delivers the 18th Hintze Lecture. Jacqueline van Gorkom 03 Jun 2019
368 ... from collisions to the Higgs boson To study the Higgs boson at the LHC we also need to understand how highly energetic quarks and gluons interact, among themselves and with the Higgs. Fabrizio Caola 16 May 2019
367 From protons to collisions… We learn about the Higgs Boson and its interactions at the LHC by examining the debris produced by colliding protons head-on at unprecedented high energies. Lucian Harland-Lang 16 May 2019
366 What the Large Hadron Collider is telling us about the Higgs sector and its new interactions Over the past two years, CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has started to directly probe a qualitatively new class of interactions, associated with the Higgs boson. Gavin Salam 16 May 2019
365 The oldest light in the Universe In this short stargazing talk, Luke Jew looks at the topic - The oldest light in the Universe. Luke Jew 05 Apr 2019
364 The brief history of the Universe Sergio Martin describes the evolution of the Universe. Sergio Martin 22 Mar 2019
363 Electron Paramagnetic Resonance - Past, Present and Future Professor Mark Newton describes some of the key events in the discovery and development of Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR). Mark Newton 18 Mar 2019
362 Creative Commons All the dark we cannot see - the state of the art in direct searches for particle dark matter Professor Laura Baudis, University of Zurich, discusses the nature of dark matter. Laura Baudis 18 Mar 2019
361 Why the world is simple - Prof Ard Louis The coding theorem from algorithmic information theory (AIT) - which should be much more widely taught in Physics! - suggests that many processes in nature may be highly biased towards simple outputs. Ard Louis 15 Feb 2019
360 Topology in Biology - Prof Julia Yeomans FRS Active systems, from cells and bacteria to flocks of birds, harvest chemical energy which they use to move and to control the complex processes needed for life. Julia Yeomans 15 Feb 2019
359 Welcome from the Head of the Physics Department Ian Shipsey delivers the welcome speech for the Saturday Mornings of Theoretical Physics. Ian Shipsey 15 Feb 2019
358 Entropy from Entanglement Siddharth Parameswaran, Associate Professor, Physics Department. Siddharth Parameswaran 03 Dec 2018
357 Entropy: two short stories John Chalker, Head of Theoretical Physics, gives a talk on entropy. John Chalker 03 Dec 2018
356 Entropy: Gaining Knowledge by Admitting Ignorance Alexander Schekochihin, Professor of Theoretical Physics, gives a talk on entropy. Alexander Schekochihin 03 Dec 2018
355 The Quantum and the Cosmos The 17th Hintze Lecture, given by Professor Rocky Kolb, Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, The University of Chicago. Rocky Kolb 14 Nov 2018
354 The Search for Life on Earth, In Space and Time Dr James Green, current Chief Scientist of NASA gives a talk on the how life may be distributed on Earth and in the Solar System with consideration of the age of our sun. James Green 29 Oct 2018
353 Networked Quantum Information Technologies This talk reviews the developments in quantum information processing. Dominic O'Brien 06 Jul 2018
352 Quantum logic with trapped-ion qubits This talk reviews testing and developing ideas in quantum computing using laser-manipulated trapped ions. David Lucas 06 Jul 2018
351 The ultimate limits of privacy and randomness...for the paranoid ones This talk explains how qubits are used to represent numbers in a way that permits 'quantum-mechanical parallel' computing. Artur Ekert 06 Jul 2018
350 “Open” Quantum Systems This talk reviews how to deal with quantum systems that are coupled to the outside world, as in reality all systems are. Fabian Essler 06 Jul 2018
349 Quantum Systems from Group up This talk reviews the modern formulation of the basic ideas of quantum mechanics. James Binney 06 Jul 2018
348 How do we find planets around other stars? The 3rd Wetton lecture, 19th June 2018 delivered by Professor David W. Hogg, Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics, New York University David W Hogg 02 Jul 2018
347 Creative Commons The Quest for Nearby Habitable Worlds The 16th Hintze lecture, 25th April 2018 delivered by Professor René Doyon, Director, Mont-Mégantic Observatory & Institute for Research on Exoplanets, University of Montreal, Canada Rene Doyon 22 May 2018
346 Fine-Tuning Discussion Simon Friederich, Natalja Deng, and Erik Curiel participate in a roundtable discussion addressing questions around probability, fine-tuning, and arguments for a multiverse or deity. Simon Friederich, Natalja Deng, Erik Curiel 24 Apr 2018
345 Erik Curiel: Measure, Topology, and Probability in Cosmology. Erik Curiel explains the challenges in making assessments of probability by making assumptions about the space of universes--or cosmological models--that our theories allow. Erik Curiel 24 Apr 2018
344 Natalja Deng: What Kind of Fine-Tuner? Natalja Deng discusses whether the apparent fine-tuning of the universe for life can be evidence for a divine creator. Natalja Deng 24 Apr 2018
343 Simon Friederich: Fine-Tuning for Life in the Universe, A Panoramic View Simon Friederich reviews the challenges that arise in using empirical evidence that the universe is tuned for life to evaluate multiverse hypothesis. Simon Friederich 24 Apr 2018
342 Evidence in the Multiverse Erik Curiel and Simon Friederich hash out the problems we encounter when we look for evidence of a multiverse. Erik Curiel, Simon Friederich 24 Apr 2018
341 The Hard Fact of Life in Big Physics City How similar is the fine-tuning of our universe to probabilistic reasoning we use and understand? Simon Friederich and Erik Curiel go through a series of examples. Erik Curiel, Simon Friederich 24 Apr 2018
340 Stability and Probability Erik Curiel and Simon Friederich discuss how reasoning in cosmology sometimes conflates topological stability with probability, and why that might be wrong. Simon Friederich, Erik Curiel 24 Apr 2018
339 Problems with Probability Simon Friederich and Erik Curiel discuss the problems fine-tuning arguments raise for our understanding of probability. Simon Friederich, Erik Curiel 24 Apr 2018
338 ALMA and the Birth of Stars Across Galaxies The 2018 Astor Visiting Lecture 14th March 2018 delivered by Professor Adam Leroy, Ohio State University. Adam Leroy 28 Mar 2018
337 Rushing Robots and Tons of Glass: Building the WEAVE Spectrograph Ellen Schallig gives a short talk on building the WEAVE spectograph. Ellen Schallig 21 Feb 2018
336 Quasars: Are They As Cool As They Sound? In this flash talk, Josie Peters presents on the topic of quasars. Josie Peters 21 Feb 2018
335 The Big Bang and a Multiverse Darsh Kodwani gives a short talk on The Big bang and a multiverse. Darsh Kodwani 21 Feb 2018
334 I'm Spinning Around: Watching Galaxies Rotate (Or Not) Mark Graham gives a short talk on the rotation of galaxies. Mark Graham 21 Feb 2018
333 It's a Star's Life In this short talk, Rebecca Esselstein gives an overview of a typical star's lifespan. Rebecca Esselstein 21 Feb 2018
332 Galactic Archaeology: Mining Stellar Fossils in the Milky Way Halo Payel Das gives a short talk on mining stellar fossils in the Milky Way halo. Payel Das 21 Feb 2018
331 Weighing Black Holes Oxford astrophysicist Martin Bureau gives a talk on black holes. Martin Bureau 21 Feb 2018
330 Taking Real Photos of Planets Outside the Solar System Jean-Loup Baudino gives a short talk on planets outside the solar system. Jean-Loup Baudino 21 Feb 2018
329 Merging Galaxies: Making the Biggest Mess! Nathan Adams presents a short talk on merging galaxies. Natham Adams 21 Feb 2018
328 Galaxy Dynamics: The chemical evolution side Dr Ralph Schoenrich will talk about the chemical evolution side Ralph Schoenrich 25 Jan 2018
327 Galaxy Dynamics: The dynamics of galaxy discs Dr John Magorrian will talk about the dynamics of galaxy discs John Magorrian 25 Jan 2018
326 Galaxy Dynamics: Stellar systems: a new state of matter Prof James Binney FRS will talk about stellar systems: a new state of matter James Binney 25 Jan 2018
325 The State of the Universe Our Universe was created in 'The Big Bang' and has been expanding ever since. Professor Schmidt describes the vital statistics of the Universe, and tries to make sense of the Universe's past, present, and future. Brian Schmidt 20 Nov 2017
324 Superfluids in Flatland: Topology, Defects, and the 2016 Nobel Prize In this talk, Siddharth Parameswaran discusses how a topological approach to 2D systems reveal that they can indeed become superfluid, and lead to surprising and beautiful universal results whose implications continue to resonate today. Siddharth Parameswaran 03 Nov 2017
323 Quantum mechanics on the human scale Stephen Blundell reviews a theory of superconductivity that was developed in Oxford in the 1930’s by Fritz London. Stephen Blundell 03 Nov 2017
322 From Identical Particles to Frictionless Flow John Chalker discusses how the laws of quantum mechanics lead us from the microscopic world to macroscopic phenomena. John Chalker 03 Nov 2017
321 Superconductors: Miracle Materials An introduction to the fascinating world of superconductors and the many surprising phenomena they exhibit, from zero resistance to quantum levitation. Andrew Boothroyd 25 Oct 2017
320 Quantum physics and the nature of computing How can we test a quantum computer? An exploration of some of the theoretical puzzles of this field and how we can investigate them with experimental physics. Jelmer Renema 25 Oct 2017
319 Superconductors: why it’s cool to be repulsive A family-friendly demonstration of superconductors in action. Fran explores the low temperatures we need to make them work, and how we can use superconductors for levitating trains. Fran Kirschner 25 Oct 2017
318 Cassini-Huygens: Space Odyssey to Saturn and Titan Public Lecture organised by the Aeronautical Society of Oxford in conjunction with the Department of Physics. David Southwood 18 Oct 2017
317 Observation of the mergers of binary black holes: The opening of gravitational wave astronomy The 2017 Halley Lecture 7th June 2017 delivered by Professor Rainer Weiss, MIT on behalf of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration Rainer Weiss 27 Jun 2017
316 Ghost Imaging with Quantum Light Physics Colloquium 26th May 2017 delivered by Professor Miles Padgett, University of Glasgow Miles Padgett 27 Jun 2017
315 Pulsars and Extreme Physics - A 50th Anniversary Physics Colloquium 5th May 2017 delivered by Dame Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell Jocelyn Bell Burnell 27 Jun 2017
314 Starquakes Expose Stellar Heartbeats The 14th Hintze Biannual Lecture 4th May 2017 delivered by Professor Conny Aerts - Director, Institute of Astronomy KU Leuven Connie Aerts 27 Jun 2017
313 Exploring the very early universe with gravitational waves John March-Russell gives a talk about gravitational wave signals of stringy physics, a ‘soundscape’ connected to the landscape of string vacua. John March-Russell 10 May 2017
312 The birth of gravitational wave astronomy Subir Sarkar reviews the detection of the ‘chirrup’ signal from a pair of merging massive black holes by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, as well as subsequent experimental developments. Subir Sarkar 10 May 2017
311 From action at a distance to gravitational waves James Binney gives a talk about the mathematics that describe Gravitational waves. James Binney 10 May 2017