Author: Nick Moult

A Different Kind of Laser Experiment

by Sarah Ho, Department of Chemistry.

Lasers have had various uses in science, for example in the study of atoms and molecules via spectroscopy. On the 15th of January 2018 however, a group of postgraduates and staff from the Department of Chemistry were interested in very different way of using lasers. Physical and mental abilities were put to the test in the warzone of Bunker 51, a Laser Tag franchise in central London. Fast-paced action, military tactics and an out-of-breath professor were some of the highlights of our social initiative that spanned across both the Britovsek and Romain Groups where stronger bonds were formed over the course of several cooperative team deathmatches and a lovely dinner at Steak and Co.

Three things I learnt at the Global Postgraduate Retreat

by Selina Cao

This January I signed up for the Global Postgraduate Retreat – Impact and influence at Cumberland Lodge, Great Windsor Park. It is such an elegant lodge with long royal history. This is my first retreat experience and I would like to share with you the three things I learnt from it.

Bold and systematic answer for why

This retreat helps me start to think early in my academic career why I am doing what I am doing now – the potential outcomes and impact of my research. While you might think that we have this figured out already when we applied for Ph.D.

Theoretical Physics Student Research Seminars, Winter Term, Oct – Dec 2017

by Scott Melville

The Theoretical Physics cohort are a reclusive bunch. But nothing brings them out of their shells better than the promise of knowledge (and pizza). Thanks to the generous support of the Graduate School, this term saw the Theoretical Physics PhD students come together each week for a heart-warming exchange of ideas and discussion of how their research is progressing, bringing together not only the graduate students, but also a great number of Master’s students and postdocs to share in the fun.

The seminars took place every Thursday from 17.00-18.00 in Huxley 503. On average, 16 PhD students, 15 Masters students and 2 postdocs attended.

Meet the Scientist – Open Days at the Division of Brain Science

By Luigi Montibeller

The laboratories of Brain Division of Imperial College London (ICL) opened its doors on the 23rd and 25th of October to display it’s state-of-the-art technology, experiments and research through interactive talks and guided tours run by its researchers, specializing in the field of neurodegenerative diseases.

More than 100 people including patients, relatives and members of the public attended the event. The tour and presentations gave attendees the opportunity to talk to leading researchers and medical professionals, exploring the latest research, tackling conditions like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and brain injury.

A presentation about each specific neurological disorder was given followed by a visit through the labs and the Brain bank.

Diversity in Physics Ice Skating Group

For the post-grad Women in Physics Christmas social we organized an ice skating outing to the rink at the Natural History Museum. This event was also open to PG women in Computing, as we hope to run many events together in the future. The group was a mix of physics, maths and computing students and we had a mixture of all years of students and a couple of post docs. This was the first event combining the two departments. We all met and introduced ourselves in the Physics Department before walking over to the Natural History Museum together. Within the group there were a few girls who have never ice skated before and the rest of us have been at least a few times before.

Cross-CDT Fair – Pain Relief for Scientific Computing

Did you ever wonder what most of PhD students at the College have in common? They need to compute to finish their degree. The task can be as simple as a quick data analysis or as complex as creating a new software package. Did you also know that most of the students arrive with a minimal background in computing? A lot of them find themselves in a “sink or swim” situation. After experiencing this ourselves, we decided that we don’t want others to suffer the same fate and make the same mistakes. To bring the issue into the spotlight, we decided to organise a Fair that featured exhibits dedicated to essential computing skills that every student should know before they attempt to “swim”.  

The Fair happened on October 11th, 2017 and it was a success.

ESE Stress Less Campaign: a resounding success, valuable for all

Abstract On Thursday 22nd June 2017, Earth Science and Engineering Graduate Society (Grad Soc) begun their Stress Less campaign, made possible by funding received from the Graduate School’s Research Community Fund. A recent Grad Soc survey had highlighted the number of PhD students within the department who felt that work-related stresses had a significant impact on their daily lives. This campaign aimed to foster discussion about such issues and provide activities that introduced coping techniques.

PhD “stress less” lunch A sandwich lunch was set out informally on picnic blankets and was very well attended, drawing more than 30 PhD students, and providing an opportunity for all to voice concerns relating to any aspect of PhD life.

The Future of the Graduate Students’ Union – a Note From Your President

by Luke McCrone, GSU President

Getting Started…….

It’s been quite the ride so far. Since being elected into the role, it seems the Graduate Students’ Union has undergone quite the transformation, hopefully destined for something new and exciting. Thanks to the hard work of both th e outgoing and incoming committee, we’ve developed a new logo, promotional flyers, a website and more recently a strategy for our year ahead! And we are only getting started…

Yet I must be honest, it’s been quite the challenge. As a Constituent Union representing 7000 postgraduate students, our productivity has been limited by having only 3 members of our committee elected over the summer period: Paul and Alex, our two Vice Presidents, and I.

Environmental and Sustainability Mixer

by Daniel Hdidouan, PhD student in the Centre for Environmental Policy

The second annual Environmental and Sustainability Mixer took place on Wednesday 27th of September. The mixer is a cross-departmental initiative, the aim of which is to encourage the postgraduate research student community working in environmental and sustainability research to get to know each other. It was a fantastic event which saw high turnout for the social; students enjoyed pizzas and drinks in the Physics common room on Level 8 of the Blackett Building.


The event was devised because students in the past have found it difficult to find informal events for research students to build cross-departmental and cross-College relationships.

ICL-TUM Global Fellows Programme 2017

by Seth Wilson, PhD Student, Mechanical Engineering

After the successful completion of the ICL-TUM Global Fellows’ Programme 2017, entitled Cities of the Future, I was fortunate enough to remain in Munich, Germany for a further three-weeks. During this time, I carried out a short research project within the Lehrstuhl für Nuckleartechnik (Chair for Nuclear Technology) at the Technische Universität München (TUM) under the supervision of Professor Macián-Juan.

Germany has decided to discontinue its use of nuclear energy and will have phased-out its remaining functioning nuclear power plants by the end of 2022. Without wanting to completely abandon nuclear, research within this field has become more general to processes and systems, such as to have a wider range of applications.