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March 2014, Collective strength: enhancing sensors
An optical sensor based on a plasmonic metamaterial nanorod array allows highly explosive hydrogen to be detected with the naked eye
Read more
February 2014, In a Parallel Universe, John Ellis, Lev Vaidman & David Wallace debate the possibility of parallel worlds

Some physicists now claim that we inhabit an eleven-dimensional reality with universes parallel to our own. But is this all a mathematical fantasy, good for book sales and little else? Is it possible to find evidence for the existence of 'many worlds' or is theoretical physics becoming as speculative as the metaphysics it seeks to replace?

More information about this debate can be found here.

February 2014, "When electrons play the musical chair game in high temperature superconductors" article published by Dr Weber in PRL

Abstract: How charges pair up in copper-oxide (“cuprates”) high-temperature superconductors has been a question under debates since the discovery of high temperature superconductivity in ceramics. This stems from the very rich physics observed in the copper-oxides, and from the subtle quantum many-body effects driven by strong correlations in those materials. Indeed, the cuprates are magnetic insulators, and superconductivity is obtained by doping the materials with extra holes. Experimentally, it is observed that the strong correlations drive many different competing long-range ordered phase upon the doping mechanism, e.g. magnetism, superconductivity, stripe orders, checkerboard charge density waves ...

Theorists have been able to derive minimal models which accounts for some of the here-mentioned phases, the so-called Hubbard hamiltonian. One of the quantum state of matter however resisted so far this minimal description: a phase where the electron go through orbital loop currents, chasing each other and cycling in triangular plaquettes defined by a copper and two of its neighbor oxygen atoms. This phase breaks the time-reversal symmetry, and so far couldn't be captured by a minimal
model containing only in-plane copper and oxygen atoms.

A recent proposition by Ole Andersen suggested however that the mechanism by which electron are transferred between two oxygens might involve contributions neglected so far: the transfer would involve a high energy Cu-4s orbital, neglected in the calculations, and provide a significant contribution to the direct transfer via second-order processes. In our work, we showed that once this contribution is accounted for, the orbital current quantum phase is stabilised in a minimal Hubbard-like theory, along with superconductivity and magnetism, for reasonable range of physical parameters.

C.Weber , T.Giamarchi, and C.Varma , Phys. Rev. Letters, in Press., 2014.
January 2014, Professor Zayats receives a Royal Societ Wolfson
Research Merit Award
We are proud that Professor Zayats has secured such a prestigious award

Further details can be found here.
December 2013, Double Nobel Prize Success
Today two alumni of the Department of Physics at KIng's College are to be awarded Nobel Prizes at the 2013 Nobel Prize Award Ceremony. Peter Higgs is a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physcis and Michael Levitt for Chemistry. Both studied Physics at King's, graduating in 1950 and 1967 respectively.

Peter Higgs FRS won the Nobel Prize for Physics. Awarded jointly with Francois Englert, the prize is in recognition for the theory of how particles acquire mass. Both Higgs and Englert proposed the theory independently of each other in 1964; their theory was confirmed in 2012 with the discovery of the so-called Higgs Boson particle at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.

Professor Higgs graduated with a First class Honours in Physics from King's in 1950. In 1954, he was awarded a PhD for a thesis entitled 'Some Problems in the Theory of Molecular Vibrations'; work which signalled the start of his life-long interest in the application of the ideas of symmetry to physical systems. 

Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh since 1996, Professor Higgs returned to King's to deliver the inaugural Annual Higgs Lecture in the School of Natural & Mathematical Sciences in December 2012.

Professor Michael Levitt FRS studied for a Bachelor of Science degree at King's, graduating in 1967. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry jointly with Martin Karplus and Arieh Warshel, for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems. 

After graduating from King's, Professor Levitt went on to gain a PhD from Cambridge University in 1971. He has since worked as the Robert W. and Vivian K. Cahill Professor in Cancer Research, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford.

October 2013, Professor Peter Higgs awarded Nobel Prize for Physics

We congratulate Peter Higgs on being awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize for Physics. In 1964 he and other theoretical physicists discovered a way to give masses to elementary particles. This is now the basis for the Standard Model that describes immensely successfully all the visible matter in the Universe. Peter Higgs pointed out that this theory required the existence of a new kind of particle, commonly called the Higgs Boson, which was discovered by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN in 2012, providing dramatic experimental confirmation of his theoretical ideas.

We are proud that Peter Higgs was a student in the King's Physics Department from 1947 to 1954, getting his BSc in 1950, his MSc in 1951 and his PhD in 1954. His links with King's continue: for example, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 2009 and gave the inaugural Higgs Lecture on the King's Strand campus in December 2012. Research on the properties of the Higgs Boson and related aspects of particle physics is an active theme of research in the King's Physics Department.

October 2013, The Alan Michette memorial Event

On Wednesday the 9th October the Physics Department will host The Professor Alan Michette Memorial Event to celebrate Alan's contribution to the subject, the College and to the various projects he was involved with.

This will be held in the Anatomy Lecture Theatre (King's building, Room K6.29) 1-4pm with a drinks reception in the Physics Department afterwards.

There will be four speakers: Jim Pinfold, Peter Doel, John Costello and Nick Mavromatos. David Richards will chair the event.

Attendance is first come/first served on the day.

In Memory of Professor Alan Michette

1.00 Doors open

1.15  Welcome

David Richards - Head of the Department of Physics

1.20  Welcome from the Maxwell Society

Jarveen Soor (President) and Luke Nicholls (President 2012/3) 

1.30 Jim Pinfold, University of Alberta

"From Neutral Currents to Cosmic Rays"

2.10 Peter Doel, University College London

"Smart X-ray optics"

2.50 John Costello, Dublin City University "Ultrafast and Intense X-ray Free Electron Lasers - A New Frontier in Einstein’s Photoelectric Effect?"   3.30 Nick Mavromatos, King's College London

"Biological microtubules as information processors"

3.50  Close (David Richards)

September 2013, Gordon Rogers Scholarship Programme

The Department of Physics is delighted to announce the start of the Gordon Rogers Scholarship Programme, a new scholarship for students who have shown strong academic performance.  

David Rogers, a Physics alumnus currently working in the finance industry, has set up a generous scholarship (named for his father, Gordon Rogers). This provides £3000 each for the five best second year students and the five best third year MSci students. The scholarship is awarded on academic merit. 

David Rogers took a BSc in Physics with Astrophysics from King’s in 1990.Mr Rogers is a co-founder and Director at Northwest Investment Management Ltd. He is responsible for investment management within the hedge fund focused on bond trading within South East Asian markets. Prior to working at Northwest David was Head of Convertible Bond Proprietary Trading at Caspain. Here he used the mathematical and analytical skills from his physics and astrophysics degree to develop portfolio strategies and optimisation models.

David feels that he owes much to the education he received at King’s. He greatly enjoyed the study and developing an in depth understanding of Physics. His degree provided him with the structured mathematical and analytical set of skills that has been a key element of his success in business. He feels that he was extremely lucky to be studying in the late 1980s when higher education was free. He now wants to give back to the department and support the next generation of Physics students by recognising those who strive for excellence in their studies. 

The Gordon Rogers Scholars 2013 are: 

3rd year

  • Luke Nicholls
  • Linde Van Parijs
  • Nathan Moynihan
  • William Emond
  • Jack Allen

2nd year

  • Damiano Sacco
  • Gregory Szep
  • Christoph Eigen
  • Matilda Peruzzo
  • Aldo Glielmo  

The Department of Physics would like to express its sincere thanks to David Rogers for his generous bequest and for his continuing support of current students and the pursuit of excellence in Physics.


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