This Week Archive

This Week

Week Commencing 22 May

ASR Management Meeting

Tuesday 23 May 2017, 1pm, Physics West 229

Astrophysics & Space Research Group and HiROS Group Seminar

Tuesday 23 May 2017, 11.00-11.30, Physics West Lecture Theatre 117
Speaker: Dorottya Szecsi, Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences
Title: Homogeneous evolution and binarity: the progenitor behind various cosmic explosions

Astrophysics & Space Research Group and HiROS Group Seminar

Tuesday 23rd May 2017, 11.30-12.00, Physics West Lecture Theatre 117
Speaker: Fabian Schneider, Oxford
Title: A top-heavy stellar initial mass function in 30 Dor and consequences for massive star feedback

Journal Club

Wednesday 24 May 2017, 12.00, Physics West Library

Physics Colloquium

Wednesday 24 May 2017, 16.00, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre S06
Speaker: Prof Mikhail Shifman, University of Minnesota
Title: Quantum Field Theory after Revolution

I give a broad review of field theory from its inception, focusing on the last
revolution –– the discovery of supersymmetric gauge theories and various
impacts it produced on the basic concepts of field theory. Some recent
applications are also discussed .

Astrophysics & Space Research Group and HiROS Group Seminar

Friday 26 May 2017, 13.00, Physics West Lecture Theatre 117
Speaker: Emma Chapman, Imperial College London
Title: Uncovering the First Stars

The Epoch of Reionization (EoR) signals the end of the Dark Ages of the
Universe and the birth of the first stars.  The race is on to make the first
statistical detection of this epoch however the foregrounds swamp the
cosmological data by several orders of magnitude and their removal remains a
significant challenge for both current and future telescopes. I will speak
broadly about the foreground mitigation techniques currently being used with
EoR data, with a focus on blind source separation techniques. Overcoming the
challenges such as the huge foregrounds has not been merely an inconvenience
on the way to the prize ... The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is due to be
built in 2019 and it is vital we embed the lessons learned
from the current EoR experiments before the design of the instrument is
finalised. I will introduce the software OSKAR that I have helped develop in
order to simulate EoR data, such that we can test design options and truly
exploit the incredible power of the SKA.

Publications

Ultra-luminous X-ray sources and neutron-star-black-hole mergers from very
massive close binaries at low metallicity

ASuthors:Marchant, Pablo; Langer, Norbert; Podsiadlowski, Philipp; Tauris,
         Thomas; de Mink, Selma; Mandel, Ilya; Moriya, Takashi
Accepted for publication in A&A
https://arxiv.org/abs/1705.04734>https://arxiv.org/abs/1705.04734

Week Commencing 15 May

ASR Management Meeting

Tuesday 16 May 2017, 1pm, Physics West 229

ASR Group Meeting

Wednesday 17 May 2017, 12pm, Physics West Library

Physics Colloquium

Wednesday 17 May 2017, 16.00, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre S06
Speaker: Sarah Bohndiek, University of Cambridge
Title: Making waves in biomedical optics

Several hallmarks of cancer, such as aberrant metabolism, are associated with
highly aggressive disease and poor prognosis. These hallmarks lead to changes
in tissue optical properties that can now be detected non-invasively thanks to
technological advances emerging from telecommunications and remote sensing. In
this talk, I will first provide an overview of the metabolic processes of
interest to our laboratory, particularly in the context of the tumour
microenvironment. I will then detail the technical development of several new
imaging modalities that have the potential to increase early cancer detection
and also improve patient stratification. In each case, I will provide examples
of their biomedical application in living subjects.

Astrophysics & Space Research and HiROS Group Seminar

Thursday 18 May 2017, 2.30pm, PW 117
Speaker: Robert Izzard, University of Cambridge
Title: (Ex-?) Binary stars in the Galactic thick disc

Recent studies of old stars in the Galactic thick disc suggest it contains a
population of “young” giant stars. These are chemically and kinematically
members of the thick disc, but their masses – measured by asteroseismology –
are up to a factor of two greater than expected given the age of the thick
disc. Galactic astronomers have suggested they come from a population of stars
that have migrated from the bar of the Galaxy. Because migration away from a
bar is anathema to us, we show that they could instead be (ex-?)binary stars.
These stars have undergone mass transfer, a process similar to that which
forms blue stragglers in globular clusters, or they have merged. Through the
carbon–to–nitrogen ratio we relate stellar surface chemistry to stellar mass
using single and binary star models. The latter match the observations far
better than we could have expected. We also predict binary fractions and other
properties of these “young” stars ready for comparison with ongoing and
upcoming observational programmes.

Week Commencing 8 May

ASR Management Meeting

Tuesday 9 May 2017, 1pm, Physics West 229

Journal Club

Wednesday 10 May 2017, 12pm, Physics West Library

Astrophysics & Space Research and HiROS Group Seminar

Wednesday 10 May 2017, 2.30pm, PW 117
Speaker: Dan Smith, Hertfordshire
Title: The 850um properties of galaxies in the SCUBA2 Cosmology Legacy Survey

I will present some multi-wavelength studies of galaxies in 0.8 deg2 of 850um
observations over the UDS field from the SCUBA -2 Cosmology Legacy Survey.
Firstly I will present some new results on the first complete optical/
near-infrared redshift distribution of sub-millimetre galaxies, the most
star-forming galaxies in the Universe. I will then describe a study of the
dust and gas properties of a sample of 20,000 K < 24.0 galaxies at z > 1,
as a function of their rest-frame colours. Finally, I will conclude with some
brief highlights of the planned WEAVE -LOFAR survey, which is due to begin in
2018.

Birmingham / Frankfurt Workshop

Wednesday 10 – Friday 12 May 2017
Alberto Sesana will be hosting the above workshop. A detailed schedule has
already been circulated.

Astrophysics Seminar

Friday 12 May 2017, 2pm, PW 117
Speaker: Dr Alison Farmer
Title: Adventures in Theoretical Astrophysics and Beyond

Dr Farmer was on a stellar trajectory in astrophysics: Cambridge undergrad,
Caltech PhD with Sterl Phinney and Peter Goldreich, a super-prestigious
postdoc at the Harvard Society of Fellows... Until she decided to switch to
“green" engineering, and embarked on an equally stellar career in the design
of energy-efficient laboratories, working with clients including Stanford
and Harvard universities, AstraZeneca and others, chairing one of the working
groups of the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories, and giving
expert lectures on energy-efficient design and benchmarking.  So please join
me in hearing about Dr Farmer’s adventures in academia and beyond, and get
inspired, whether you are contemplating a career in astrophysics or a switch
to the great world outside.

Publications

Title: Formation of the first three gravitational-wave observations through
       isolated binary evolution.
Authors: Simon Stevenson, Alejandro Vigna-Gómez, Ilya Mandel, Jim W. Barrett,
         Coenraad J. Neijssel, David Perkins & Selma E. de Mink
Nature Communications, 8, 14906 (2017) http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14906

Title: Hierarchical analysis of gravitational-wave measurements of binary
       black hole spin-orbit misalignments.
Authors: Simon Stevenson, Christopher P. L. Berry, Ilya Mandel
https://arxiv.org/abs/1703.06873

Week Commencing 23 January

ASR Management Meeting

Tuesday 24 January 2017, 1pm, Physics West 229

ASR Group Meeting

Wednesday 25 January 2017, 12pm, Physics West 115

Physics Colloquium

Wednesday 25 January 2017, 4pm, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Speaker: Anna Watts, University of Amsterdam

Title: Thermonuclear burst oscillations: where firestorms meet fundamental
physics


Neutron stars offer a unique environment in which to develop and test
theories of the strong force. Densities in neutron star cores can reach up
to ten times the density of a normal atomic nucleus, and the stabilising
effect of gravitational confinement permits long-timescale weak
interactions. This generates matter that is neutron-rich, and opens up the
possibility of stable states of strange matter, something that can only
exist in neutron stars. Strong force physics is encoded in the Equation of
State (EOS), the pressure-density relation, which links to macroscopic
observables such as mass M and radius R via the stellar structure equations.
By measuring and inverting the M-R relation we can recover the EOS and
diagnose the underlying dense matter physics.

One very promising technique for simultaneous measurement of M and R
exploits hotspots (burst oscillations) that form on the neutron star surface
when material accreted from a companion star undergoes a thermonuclear
explosion (a Type I X -ray burst). As the star rotates, the hotspot gives
rise to a pulsation. Relativistic effects then encode information about M
and R into the pulse profile. However the mechanism that generates burst
oscillations remains unknown, 20 years after their discovery. Ignition
conditions, flame spread, and the magnetohydrodynamics of the star's ocean
all play a role. I will review the progress that we are making towards
cracking this long-standing problem, and establishing burst oscillations as
a tool par excellence for measuring M and R. This is a major goal for future
large area X-ray telescopes such as eXTP and STROBE -X.

Astronomy in the City

Wednesday 25 January 2017, 5.30pm, Poynting Large lecture Theatre

Tickets and full details of the evening are available here:

http://www.sr.bham.ac.uk/observatory/astronomyinthecity.php

We will be having a talk from Tiago Campante asteroseismology and hunting
for exoplanets as well as the usual activities.

Publications

Using red clump stars to correct the Gaia DR1 parallaxes

Davies, G.R. and Lund, M.N. and Miglio, A. and Elsworth, Y. and Kuszlewicz, 
J.S. and North, T.S.H. and Rendle, B. and Chaplin, W.J. and Rodrigues, T.S. 
and Campante, T.L. and Girardi, L. and Hale, S.J. and Hall, O. and Jones, C.
D. and Kawaler, S.D. and Roxburgh, I. and Schofield, M.  [adsabs.harvard.edu]

Week Commencing 6 March 2017

ASR Management Meeting

Tuesday 7 March 2017, 1pm, Physics West 229

Astrophysics & Space Research and HiROS Group Seminar

Tuesday 7 March 2017, 2.30pm, Barber Institute of Fine Art, G11

Speaker: Antonio Garufi, ETH Zurich

Title: The moment planets form: the SPHERE view of protoplanetary disks

The ALMA image of HL Tau is only one of the many spectacular images of
protoplanetary disks obtained during the last five years. With specific
focus on near-IR scattered light images from VLT /SPHERE, I show how these
observations are changing our view of the processes of the planet formation.
It turned out that peculiar features like spirals, rings, shadows, and
cavities are ubiquitous in disks. The increased number of observations
allows us now to draw the first conclusions on the evolution of disks and
their interaction with (forming) planets.

ASR Group Meeting

Wednesday 8 March 2017, 12pm, Physics West 115

School Colloquium

Wednesday 8 March 2017, 4pm, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Speaker: Clare Burrage, Nottingham University

Title: Detecting Dark Energy: from cosmology to the laboratory

I will discuss why current theories of dark energy, which attempt to explain
the acceleration of the expansion of the universe, lead to the introduction
of new light scalars and associated fifth forces. I’ll introduce non-linear
screening mechanisms, which allows these scalars to have interesting
cosmological effects whilst remaining compatible with terrestrial and solar
system tests of gravity. I will then go on to discuss prospects for
detecting these fields, and explain why our best hope of learning more about
dark energy may be with table top scale experiments.

Astronomy in the City

Wednesday 8 March 2017, 6pm, Poynting Building
See here for details

Alberto Sesana will speak about the Universes biggest black holes and how
they evolve with their host galaxies.

Week Commencing 27 February

Second Floor Coffee Lounge

Monday 27 February 2017

This is a reminder that Particle Physics have booked the second floor coffee
lounge for the duration of Monday to host their PhD Open Day

ASR Management Meeting

Tuesday 28 February 2017, 1pm, Physics West 229

Journal Club

Wednesday 1 March 2017, 12pm, Physics West 115
Serena will lead this week's journal club.

I would like to discuss networks in nature and in particular on the
Large-Scale Structure, this are the main papers I will use:

Statistics of Caustics in Large-Scale Structure Formation [arxiv.org]

Network Cosmology [www.nature.com]

The Network Behind the Cosmic Web [arxiv.org]

if you like some background readings this should work: [icc.dur.ac.uk]

I found also some notes from lectures here  [www.astro.rug.nl] which might be useful.

Week Commencing 13 February

Astrophysics Seminar

Tuesday 14 February 2017, 12pm, Physics West 106
Speaker: Dr Julian Stirling, NIST Gaithersburg, USA
Title: Determining Big G and the Art of Measuring Small Forces

The Newtonian constant of gravitation, or Big G, is arguably the mostr
frustrating fundamental constant of Nature to measure. Cavendish first
measured Big G in 1798 with an uncertainty of about 1%. After two centuries
of scientific development the uncertainty of G has only fallen by two orders
of magnitude, and many experiments produce conflicting results. By comparison,
in just over one century the Planck constant was both theorised and then
measured with an uncertainty of just twelve parts per billion.

Big G is so hard to measure as the gravitational coupling between matter is so
weak, but with measurements disagreeing by over 10 sigma it is clear something
more has gone awry. We have to wonder, are we seeing effects of undiscovered
physics, or are we simply chasing down the mistakes of other researchers? A
history of improperly calibrated electrostatic servos, unaccounted
anelasticity, and unnoticed Abbe errors have plagued mechanical balances of
the past. With atom interferometer measurements poised to steal the show, or
at least add more results into the fray, NIST is adopting a different approach.
Instead of building a new experiment we are acquiring, investigating, and
repeating suspect experiments to shed light on what is causing the
discrepancies.

We have taken the BIPM torsion balance (currently measuring 9 sigma above the
CODATA recommended value) and placed it on a state of the art coordinate
measuring machine housed in the NIST advance measurement laboratory,
surrounded by world leading calibration laboratories. We are expecting a new
measurement of Big G to be completed in 2017, both with the original copper
source masses and new single crystal sapphire masses.

In this talk I will outline the experimental challenges of performing accurate
measurements of small forces, from atomic force microscopy to optomechanics,
before concentrating on the NIST's new measurement of Big G.

ASR Management Meeting

Tuesday 14 February 2017, 1pm, Physics West 229

Journal Club

Wednesday 15 February 2017, 12pm, Physics West 115
Sam Cooper will lead on a couple of papers on the beam rotation sensor used
at LIGO.

Astrophysics & Space Research and HiROS Group Seminar

Wednesday 15 February 2017, 2.30pm, Physics West 117
Speaker: Iain Murray, Edinburgh
Title: Bayesian inference: by MCMC or machine learning methods

Week Commencing 6 February

Second Floor Coffee Lounge

Monday 6 February 2017

This is a reminder that Particle Physics have booked the second floor
coffee lounge for the duration of Monday to host their PhD Open Day

Astrophysics Seminar

Tuesday 7 February 2017, 12pm, Physics West Library
Speaker: Dr Brett Shapiro, Stanford University
Title: Cryogenic LIGO Test Masses for Next Generation Gravitational Wave Observatories

Abstract:
Now that the 2nd generation of LIGO, Advanced LIGO, is running and making
gravitational wave observations, plans for the 3rd generation are now in
development. The 3rd generation, known as LIGO Voyager, intends to
improve upon Advanced LIGO’s sensitivity by a factor of 3 over a broad
frequency range, increasing the rate of gravitational wave detections by
more than an order of magnitude. One of the proposed upgrades to realize
this improvement involves cooling silicon mirror test masses to cryogenic
temperatures to reduce the thermal noise in the the mirror coatings and
the mirror suspensions. This talk discusses a method to cool these mirrors
to 120 K without compromising the strict vibration isolation requirements.
Recent results and ongoing experimental work from the LIGO group at Stanford
University will be shown.

ASR Management Meeting

Tuesday 7 February 2017, 1pm, Physics West 229

ASR Group Meeting

Wednesday 8 February 2017, 12pm, Physics West 115 

School Colloquium

Wednesday 8 February 2017, 4pm, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre
Speaker: Dr Andrew Howard, Science Director Geology and Regional Geophysics,
         British Geological Survey
Title: The role of Geophysics and geophysicists in a national geological
       survey organisation - as seen by a geologist

Most of the world's nations have an organisation, or allied groups of
organisations, that are responsible for acquiring and communicating spatially
referenced knowledge and understanding of national and regional geology. That
knowledge is needed to secure critical mineral, water and energy resources,
inform decisions on sustainable land use and development, forecast and de-risk
the impacts of environmental change and hazards, and provide essential data
for scientific research.

Week Commencing 30 January

Special Astrophysics Seminar

Monday 30 January 2017, 1pm, Nuffield G17
Speaker: Dr Jenne Driggers, Caltech (LIGO Observatory)
Title: Advanced LIGO's second observing run, and beyond
Abstract:
After Advanced LIGO's successful first observing period, during which
gravitational waves were detected, the detectors were turned off for several
months of upgrades and improvements. On November 30th, 2016, the detectors
began their second observing run, which is currently ongoing. In this talk I
will describe some of the upgrades that are now in place, as well as some of
the challenges that were faced. I will conclude with an outlook on future
upgrades that may be added after the next observing run, to further improve
our ability to detect gravitational waves.

ASR Management Meeting

Tuesday 31 January 2017, 1pm, Physics West 229

Journal Club

Wednesday 1 February 2017, 12pm, Physics West 115

Siyuan Chen to lead the discussion around
"Gravitational encounters and the evolution of the Galactic nuclei", a
series of papers by David Merritt. The focus will be on paper IV with papers
I-III recommended for further reading.

IV: https://arxiv.org/abs/1511.08169
III: https://arxiv.org/abs/1509.01263
II: https://arxiv.org/abs/1506.03010
I: https://arxiv.org/abs/1505.07516

Astrophysics & Space Research and HiROS Group Seminar

Wednesday 1 February 2017, 2.30pm, Physics West 117

Speaker: Tamara Rogers, Newcastle
Title: Internal Gravity Waves in Massive Stars
Internal Gravity Waves (IGW) can lead to angular momentum transport and
chemical mixing in stellar interiors. In this talk I will present numerical
simulations of these waves in massive stars and discuss how they might
contribute to the understanding of a variety of observational mysteries.

Visitors

Jose Maria Gonzalez Castro, a PhD student at the University of Pisa, Italy,
will be visiting for three weeks commencing today, Monday 30 January 2017.
He will be working with Daniel Toyra and Serena Vinciguerra and be based in
G26.

Week Commencing 23 January

ASR Management Meeting

Tuesday 24 January 2017, 1pm, Physics West 229

ASR Group Meeting

Wednesday 25 January 2017, 12pm, Physics West 115

Physics Colloquium

Wednesday 25 January 2017, 4pm, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Speaker: Anna Watts, University of Amsterdam

Title: Thermonuclear burst oscillations: where firestorms meet fundamental
physics


Neutron stars offer a unique environment in which to develop and test
theories of the strong force. Densities in neutron star cores can reach up
to ten times the density of a normal atomic nucleus, and the stabilising
effect of gravitational confinement permits long-timescale weak
interactions. This generates matter that is neutron-rich, and opens up the
possibility of stable states of strange matter, something that can only
exist in neutron stars. Strong force physics is encoded in the Equation of
State (EOS), the pressure-density relation, which links to macroscopic
observables such as mass M and radius R via the stellar structure equations.
By measuring and inverting the M-R relation we can recover the EOS and
diagnose the underlying dense matter physics.

One very promising technique for simultaneous measurement of M and R
exploits hotspots (burst oscillations) that form on the neutron star surface
when material accreted from a companion star undergoes a thermonuclear
explosion (a Type I X -ray burst). As the star rotates, the hotspot gives
rise to a pulsation. Relativistic effects then encode information about M
and R into the pulse profile. However the mechanism that generates burst
oscillations remains unknown, 20 years after their discovery. Ignition
conditions, flame spread, and the magnetohydrodynamics of the star's ocean
all play a role. I will review the progress that we are making towards
cracking this long-standing problem, and establishing burst oscillations as
a tool par excellence for measuring M and R. This is a major goal for future
large area X-ray telescopes such as eXTP and STROBE -X.

Astronomy in the City

Wednesday 25 January 2017, 5.30pm, Poynting Large lecture Theatre

Tickets and full details of the evening are available here:

http://www.sr.bham.ac.uk/observatory/astronomyinthecity.php

We will be having a talk from Tiago Campante asteroseismology and hunting
for exoplanets as well as the usual activities.

Publications

Using red clump stars to correct the Gaia DR1 parallaxes

Davies, G.R. and Lund, M.N. and Miglio, A. and Elsworth, Y. and Kuszlewicz, 
J.S. and North, T.S.H. and Rendle, B. and Chaplin, W.J. and Rodrigues, T.S. 
and Campante, T.L. and Girardi, L. and Hale, S.J. and Hall, O. and Jones, C.
D. and Kawaler, S.D. and Roxburgh, I. and Schofield, M.  [adsabs.harvard.edu]

Week Commencing 9 January

ASR Management Meeting

Tuesday 10 January 2017, 1pm, Physics West 229

Physics Colloquium

Wednesday 11 January 2017, 4pm, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre S06
Speaker: Alexei Grinbaum, CEA Saclay/LARSIM
Title: Quantum and postquantum correlations

The amount of correlations allowed by quantum entanglement is higher than the
classical bound but lower than what is mathematically possible. Why this
arbitrary limit? Is it a constant of Nature, a complexity bound or an
artefact of human mind? I'll review several recent attempts to give it a
meaning by studying "postquantum" models.

AstroSoc Lecture

Thursday 12 January 2017, 7pm, Poynting Large Lecture Theatre S02
Speaker: Professor Cole Miller, University of Maryland, USA

Title: Mysteries of Black Holes

To register https://mysteriesofbhs.eventbrite.co.uk

New Starter

Dr Matteo Bianconi

Dr Matteo Bianconi, has arrived from Innsbruck and has joined us on a
post-doctoral position. We are very fortunate to have Matteo in the group.
He is an expert of galaxy evolution and clusters, but has very broad
interests so I am sure there'll be plenty of opportunities for many of us
to talk and work with him. You can find Matteo in the post-docs office on
the second floor (next to David's office).

Alberto Vecchio

Publications

Christopher P. L. Berry, Robert H. Cole, Priscilla Cañizares, Jonathan R. Gair

Importance of transient resonances in extreme-mass-ratio inspirals
https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevD.94.124042a
https://arxiv.org/abs/1608.08951

Week Commencing 6 December

ASR Management Meeting

Tuesday 6 December 2016, 1pm, Physics West 229

ASR Journal Club

Wednesday 7 December 2016, 12pm, Physics West 115

I would like to bring your attention to the following paper:
Evidence for vacuum birefringence from the first optical-polarimetry
measurement of the isolated neutron star RX J1856.5−3754 which was
covered by the media two days ago.

This seems to be the first observational evidence for the interesting vacuum
birefringence effect, a prediction of the quantum electrodynamics (QED).

Just a side note: Hartmut Grote (AEI) proposed the use of gravitational-wave
detectors for observing this effect: On the possibility of vacuum QED
measurements with gravitational wave detectors

Haixing

Astrophysics & Space Research and HiROS Group Seminar

Wednesday 7 December 2016, 2.30pm, Physics West 117

Speaker: Emily Petroff (ASTRON)
Title: Detection and follow-up of fast radio bursts

Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are quickly becoming a subject of intense interest
in time-domain astronomy. FRBs have the exciting potential to be used as
cosmological probes of both matter and fundamental parameters, but such
studies require large populations. Advances in FRB detection using current
and next-generation radio telescopes will enable the growth of the population
in the next few years. Real-time discovery of FRBs is now possible with 6
sources detected in real-time within the past 2 years at the Parkes telescope.
I will discuss the developing strategies for maximising real-time science with
FRBs including polarisation capture and multi-wavelength follow- up.
Particularly, I will focus on the real-time detections of four new sources
that provide a test bed for fast radio burst science. I will also discuss how
our response to these events can inform next generation surveys and pave
the way for the enormous number of FRB discoveries expected in the SKA era.

Publications

Haster, Antonini, Kalogera, Mandel
N-BODY DYNAMICS OF INTERMEDIATE MASS-RATIO INSPIRALS IN STAR CLUSTERS
Astrophysical Journal, Volume 832, Number 2 (2016)
http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/0004-637X/832/2/192/meta

Week Commencing 28 November

Special Seminar

Monday 28th November 2016, 1pm, Physics West Lecture Theatre 117
Speaker: Prof Hsien-Chi Yeh, Tianqin Research Center for Gravitational Physics,
School of Physics and Astronomy, Sun yat-sen University, China
Title: Tianqin Mission - space-based gravitational waves detection

TianQin is a proposal for a space-borne detector of gravitational waves in the
millihertz frequency range. The experiment relies on a constellation of three
drag-free spacecraft orbiting the Earth. Interspacecraft laser interferometry
is used to monitor the distances between the test masses that are moving along
geodesics. The experiment is designed to be capable of detecting a signal with
high confidence from a single source of gravitational waves within a few
months of observing time. In this talk, I will introduce the preliminary
mission concept for TianQin, including the candidate source and experimental
designs. I will also present the progress on developing key technologies and
the roadmap of whole mission. We expect TianQin to be flown in the second half
of the next decade.

ASR Group Meeting

Wednesday 30 November 2016, 12pm, Physics West Library

School Colloquium

Wednesday 30 November 2016, 4pm, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre S06
Speaker: Prof Simon Portegies-Zwart, Leiden University, Netherlands
Title: Foreigners welcome in the Solar System

Dwarf planets live at the edge of the Solar System. Some of these ice-rocks
are best explained if they have been abducted from another star. Do we have
extra-solar material in the Solar System?

Visitors

Dr George Howitt will be visiting Prof Ilya Mandel on Monday 28 & Tuesday 29
November 2016

Week Commencing 21 November

ASR Management Meeting

Tuesday 22 November 2016, 1pm, Physics West 229

ASR Journal Club

Wednesday 23 November 2016, 12pm, Physics West Library

Astrophysics & Space Research and HiROS Group Seminar

Wednesday 23 November 2016, 2.30pm, Physics West 117
Speaker: Chris Copperwheat (LMJU)
Title: The Large Robotic Telescope: a facility for the new era of time domain
       astronomy

The Liverpool Telescope is a fully robotic, 2-metre class optical/infrared in
operation on the Canary island of La Palma. The rapid response and flexibility
of robotic telescopes make them ideal tools for study of the time variable sky.
With the field of time domain astronomy set to be revolutionised by new
discovery facilities such as LSST, plans are being made in Liverpool for a new
robotic telescope to capitalise on this new era. This facility has the working
title 'Liverpool Telescope 2' or the 'Large Robotic Telescope' and we aim to
have it in operation on La Palma by ~2022. The core goal of the facility will
be the follow-up of transients.

The current generation of optical surveys have opened up a new era of
transient astronomy, but at the same time have introduced a new problem: our
discovery capability has dramatically outpaced our follow-up capacity, such
that less than 10 per cent of new transients receive a spectroscopic
classification, let alone any scientific exploitation. The follow-up gap is
going to increase in size by orders of magnitude as we move into the LSST era.
The same problem is inherent in the gravitational wave follow-up programme,
the uncertainty in the sky position of any Advanced LIGO / Virgo detection is
of the order of degrees. Surveying this error box is not the biggest problem
in identifying an electromagnetic counterpart: the real challenge is
distinguishing the counterpart from the many unrelated transient events in
the region. The Large Robotic Telescope will be designed for the follow-up
role: a fully robotic 4-metre telescope with a lightweight, fast-slewing
design, providing a world-leading rapid response capability for efficient
programmes of classification spectroscopy and the follow-up of fast-fading
sources. In this talk I will detail the science case and provide an update
on development of this new telescope.

Astronomy in the City

Wednesday 23 November 2016, 6pm, Poynting Large Lecture Theatre

This month, our new Observatory Director, Sean McGee, will speak about his
research in his talk Nature vs Nurture: The formation of galaxies. We'll also
have our usual talk on the night sky, chance to ask questions, and
(weather-dependent) observing. More details are on our website and tickets are available now from here

Publications

Model-independent inference on compact-binary observations

Ilya Mandel; Will M. Farr; Andrea Colonna; Simon Stevenson; Peter Tio;
John Veitch

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 2016; doi: 10.1093/mnras/stw2883

Week Commencing 7 November

ASR Management Meeting

Tuesday 8 November 2016, 1pm, Physics West 229

Dr Massimo Dotti Lectures 3 and 4


Dr Massimo Dotti from Universita` di Milano Bicocca will visit our department
from October 31st to November 16. Massimo is a recognized expert of massive
black hole (binary) evolution and dynamics and galaxy formation at large.
Among other things, he will give a series of lectures particularly targeted
to PhD students but open to everybody on the subject of massive black hole
astrophysics.

Lecture 3:
-MBH evolution through the cosmic history: approaches and open issues -MBH
 spins: how do they evolve, observational estimates, what do they tell us
Lecture 4:
-MBH binaries: cosmological context, formation and dynamical evolution -MBH
 binaries: proposed observational features in the EM landscape

Focus Group - Does the academic journal have a future?

Tuesday 8 November 2016, 1pm Physics West 106
You are invited to the focus group detailed below, for further details about
the project and focus groups please see www.oamj.org or contact Dr Jenny Fry j.fry@lboro.ac.uk

Buffet lunch provided - for catering purposes rsvp: n.mycock@sheffield.ac.uk
Does the academic journal have a future?
We want to know your views.
As part of our AHRC-funded project you are cordially invited to a focus group
in your school. Open-access mega-journals are a relatively new phenomenon.
Such journals are typically very large, with a broad subject scope and
operating an open access publishing fee. They also tend to operate a peer
review system that seeks to evaluate only the scientific soundness of papers,
rather than their potential impact or importance to the field. Well known
mega-journals include PLOS ONE, Scientific Reports and Sage Open.
We do not expect participants to know about specifics of mega-journals, or
indeed even to have heard of them.

We want to know:
- Where you publish and why?
- Have you already published in a mega-journal, or would you consider it in
  the future?
- What constitutes 'scientific soundness', and should editors and reviewers
  be filtering for significance to the discipline?

ASR Journal Club

Wednesday 9 November 2016, 12pm, Physics West 106

Astrophysics & Space Research and HiROS Group Seminar

Wednesday 9 November 2016, 2.30pm, Physics West 117
Speaker: Steve Kawaler, Iowa State
Title: More than a theory - connecting highly evolved stars with their younger
selves through space based asteroseismology

Within the last 10 years and at an accelerating pace, space-based observations
have been exposing the interiors of stars at all stages of their development.
The number of stars subject to these studies range from dozens to thousands
depending on the specific type of star. Prior to this era, our studies relied
on in-depth study of individual targets, mostly subject to the handicap of
observing from a rotating, cloud-dotted platform. In this talk, I'll discuss
several recent revelations about how stars evolve after they've left the main
sequence. In particular, we'll look at what the Kepler and K2 missions have
revealed about the interior structure of white dwarfs and core helium-burning
sdB stars – and how internal properties these geriatric stellar types are
connected with their red giant predecessors.

EPS Inaugural lecture

Wednesday 9 November 2016, 5.15pm, Physics West Lecture Theatre 117
Followed by a drinks reception in the Physics Library.
Professor Ilya Mandel, Professor of Theoretical Astrophysics
School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Birmingham

Singing binaries: listening to the chirps of black holes

In this lecture, Professor Mandel will discuss the detection of gravitational
waves and explore the potential research opportunities arising from this
revolutionary discovery.  On September 14, 2015, the instruments of the Laser
Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detected a disturbance.
This tiny signal was the echo of a very loud song, sung by a pair of black
holes merging more than a billion years ago during the last fraction of a
second of their lives. This discovery heralded the conclusion of a
decades-long search for one of the most difficult to test predictions of
General Relativity, Einstein's theory of gravity.

At the same time, this black-hole was the first note of a beautiful symphony
to reach us through a newly opened window on the Universe. Through this window
of gravitational-wave astronomy, we are already beginning to probe the secrets
of strong-field gravity. In the next few years, we anticipate hearing many
more songs coming from the mergers of compact remnants of massive stars:
neutron stars and black holes. Like palaeontologists who use the skeletons of
dinosaurs to discover what living dinosaurs looked like, we are beginning to
study the evolutionary history of massive stars by observing their merging
remnants.

If you wish to attend this event, please complete the online registration form

For further information please contact: epscommunications@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Awards

Callum Bellhouse

Callum Bellhouse has won a poster competition at a conference in Venice, Italy;
"The galaxy life-cycle: From activity to quiescence, and back, across cosmic
times" which enabled him to give a short presentation.

Serena Vinciguerra

Serena Vinciguerra has recently won the Hartle Award for the best student talkr
in her session at the 21st International conference on General Relativity and
Gravitation in New York (GR21) at the Columbia University Campus
https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/strategic-framework/eps/influence/Serena-wins-Hartle-Award.aspx

Week Commencing 31 October

TESS Data for Asteroseismology Workshop

Monday 31 October - Wednesday 2 November 2016, Lucas House
HiROS are hosting the above workshop, more details can be obtained via the
following link

ASR Management Meeting

Tuesday 1 November 2016, 1pm, Physics West 229

Dr Massimo Dotti Lectures

Tuesday 1 - Tuesday 15 November 2016, 10am, Physics West Library

Dr Massimo Dotti from Universita` di Milano Bicocca will visit our department
from October 31st to November 16. Massimo is a recognized expert of massive
black hole (binary) evolution and dynamics and galaxy formation at large.
Among other things, he will give a series of lectures particularly targeted
to PhD students but open to everybody on the subject of massive black hole
astrophysics.

Following a survey among PhD students, lectures will take place in the Physics
West Library from 10 to 11am on: 1 Nov, 4 Nov, 8 Nov, 11 Nov and 15 Nov 2016

Lectures will involve a mixture of blackboard writing and slides, and will be
a great opportunity for whoever is interested to learn more on this fascinating
and prominent subject in today's astrophysics.

Below I attach a provisional schedule of the topics covered in the lectures.
I look forward to seeing many of you there. Dr Alberto Sesana

Lecture 1:
-Why are we talking about massive black holes (MBHs)
-MBH: an operational definition
-MBH masses (and compactness) from observations. 1: direct methods

Lecture 2:
-AGN phenomenology and introduction to accretion processes -MBH massesr
 (and compactness) from observations. 1: indirect methods -MBH-host galaxy
 scaling relations

Lecture 3:
-MBH evolution through the cosmic history: approaches and open issues -MBH
 spins: how do they evolve, observational estimates, what do they tell us

Lecture 4:
-MBH binaries: cosmological context, formation and dynamical evolution -MBH
 binaries: proposed observational features in the EM landscape

Lecture 5:
TBD

ASR Group Meeting

Wednesday 2 November 2016, 12pm, Physics West 106 (NOTE THE ROOM CHANGE)

School Colloquium

Wednesday 2 November 2016, 4pm, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre S06
Speaker: Dr Richard Stainsby, National Nuclear Laboratory
Title: Generation IV Reactors: Opportunities and Challenges

Generation IV reactors offer the promise of reliable, low-carbon, on-demand,
safe and economic nuclear energy which has the potential to be sustainable
for millennia. Closing the nuclear fuel cycle such that 96% of the material
in spent fuel is repeatedly recycled overcomes the limitations imposed by the
very finite natural uranium resource and dramatically reduces the volumes and
long-term radiotoxicity of fuel cycle wastes. Generation IV reactors improve
sustainability by creating the opportunity to use high-grade nuclear heat to
displace conventional fossil-fuelled heat sources to supply process heat to a
diverse range of industrial uses. Novel fuel and coolant combinations, such
as those found in molten salt reactors offer the possibility of integrated
recycling of fuel thus closing the fuel cycle within the boundary of a
reactor site.

Clearly, the above benefits will not be obtained easily. At the moment six
basic systems, based on fuel, coolant, and neutron spectrum combinations are
proposed for further development. Each system faces its own challenges with
regard to materials performance, engineering, economics, the requirements of
licensing and safeguards systems, and public acceptability.

This lecture presents the current status of a selection of Generation IV
reactor technologies, explores applications and opportunities for deployment,
including the prospects to have small modular variants, and address their
main challenge

Week Commencing 17 October

ASR Management Meeting

Tuesday 18 October 2016, 1pm, Physics West 229

School Colloquium

Wednesday 19 October 2016, 4pm, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre S06

Speaker: Eleanor Campbell, Edinburgh University

Title: Free-flying fullerenes

Fullerenes were discovered over 30 years ago but continue to throw up
surprises and provide convenient model systems for developing theoretical
techniques and studying the fundamental properties of complex molecules.
The recent laboratory confirmation of the presence of fullerenes in
interstellar space by the Maier group in Basel may have far-reaching
consequences for our understanding of astrochemistry.

In this talk I will briefly review some of the fundamental studies of ther
properties of fullerenes in the gas phase that my group has been involved
with over the years that can help explain how fullerenes survive the harsh
conditions of space. I will also discuss our more recent studies of the
seemingly contradictory nature of fullerenes that can be explored by using
angular-resolved fs photoelectron spectroscopy: the appearance of
thermoelectric electrons (modelled with a two-temperature model more familiar
in condensed matter physics) along with evidence for the excitation of well-
resolved states based on the population of diffuse hydrogenic molecular
orbitals. The study illustrates the interesting position of fullerenes, with
properties bridging the gap between atomic/molecular systems and bulk matter.

Astronomy in the City

Wednesday 19 October 2016, 6pm, Poynting Large Lecture Theatre

Astronomy in the City is a series of free all-ticket public events, each
packed with astrophysics; stargazing, and tea and biscuits. Evenings begin
with talks covering astronomical highlights and recent research, and a
question-and-answer session (for everything from beginner's questions about
the night sky to the latest work done here in Birmingham). Afterwards, (if
the weather cooperates) we have observing with telescopes on campus, and a
lucky few will be taken out to the University’s Observatory.

Events are planned for:

* Wednesday 19 October 2016
* Wednesday 23 November 2016
* Wednesday 25 January 2017
* Wednesday 8 March 2017

For this month's research talk, Hannah Middleton will tell us about pulsars -
short for "pulsating radio stars". She will introduce us to these strange
objects and discuss how she and others use them as tools to study the
universe.

More details are on our website

Visitors

Camilla Compton will be visiting Conor Mow-Lowry on Thursday and Friday this
week.

Week Commencing 10 October

ASR Management Meeting

Tuesday 11 October 2016, 1pm, Physics West 229

Astrophysics Special Seminar

Tuesday 11 October 2016, 2.30pm Physics West 106

Speaker: Dan Foreman-Mackey, Washington

Title: Long-period transiting exoplanets and their population

Abstract: The Kepler Mission has discovered thousands of exoplanets and
revolutionized our understanding of their population. This large, homogeneous
catalog of discoveries has enabled rigorous studies of the occurrence rate of
exoplanets and extra-Solar planetary systems as a function of their physical
properties.  Transit surveys like Kepler are most sensitive to planets with
shorter orbital periods than the gas giant planets that dominate the dynamics
of our Solar System. I have developed a fully-automated method of discovering
and characterizing long-period transiting planets with only one or two
transits in the Kepler archival light curves. Since the method involves no
human intervention, I can also precisely measure the completeness function of
the discoveries and place constraints on the occurrence rate of exoplanets
with orbital periods longer than 2 years. I will present this method and the
statistical tools developed as part of this project.

ASR Group Meeting

Wednesday 12 October 2016, 12pm, Physics West Library

Group meetings will no longer be on the same day as seminars, a new schedule
has been posted on the webpage.

Astrophysics & Space Research Group and HiROS Group Seminar

Wednesday 12 October 2016, 2.30pm, Physics West 117

Speaker: Ed Daw, Sheffield

Title: The ADMX search for QCD axions in the Galactic Halo

Abstract: Axions are a sometimes-neglected candidate solution to the dark
matter problem. They don't require any new physics at the electroweak scale,
and their existence would complete the standard model by explaining the
observed conservation of CP in the strong interactions. Detecting axions is
not easy because their couplings to more conventional particles are feeble,
but since 1994 the ADMX experiment has been searching for axions with a very
sensitive and beautiful detector based on an RF frequency cryogenic
electromagnetic resonator and the world's lowest noise AM radio! Sheffield
has collaborated on ADMX since 2007. I will summarise both the experiment in
general, as it approaches the beginning of its new run, and on Sheffield work
to solve the long-standing problem of how an RF resonator can be tuned over a
very large range of resonant frequencies.

Special Astrophysics Seminar

Friday 14 October 2016, 2pm, Physics West Library

Speaker: Lee Whittaker, Manchester

Title: The mitigation of intrinsic alignments in future high precision weak
lensing surveys

Visitors

Gerald Bergmann, AEI will be visiting Conor Mow-Lowry on Wed 12 Oct through
to the 14 Oct 2016.

Sean Leavey, Glasgow will be visiting both Conor Mow-Lowry and Andreas Freise
on Wed 12 Oct through to the 14 Oct 2016.

Week Commencing 3 October

ASR Management Meeting

Tuesday 4 October 2016, 1pm, Physics West 229

Journal Club

Wednesday 5 October 2016, 12pm, Physics West Library

This week's journal club will be in a classical style, with Christopher
Berry leading the discussion on a pair of classic papers by Bahcall and
Wolf.  [adsabs.harvard.edu] [adsabs.harvard.edu]

School Colloquium

Wednesday 5 October 2016, 4pm, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Speaker: Prof. Sheena Radford (FRS) from the University of Leeds

Title: Proteins Folding and Failing to Fold: How Good is Nature at Origami

Abstract: Evolution has provided humans with more than 30,000 genes that
encode the sequences of amino acids that make up our repertoire of proteins.
Proteins emerge from the ribosome during their synthesis as linear chains of
amino acids. Folding into a unique three dimensional structure, and avoiding
degradation, is then needed in order for proteins to become functional.
Folding is highly controlled in cells, with a myriad of folding factors,
chaperones and proteases being carefully controlled and tuned so as to
recognise correctly folded proteins from their misfolded counterparts.
Failure of these mechanisms leads to severe human diseases, the majority of
which lack successful therapies. One class of these diseases is amyloidosis,
which includes Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and type II diabetes, which are
major threats to health in the developed and developing worlds.

In this lecture I will introduce current concepts and understandings of how
proteins fold and how and why they misfold, garnered from a host of
structural, biophysical and computational methods. How small changes in
protein sequence enhance the probability of nucleated growth of amyloid
fibrils will be discussed, as well as the properties of amyloid fibrils
themselves which act as toxic nanomaterials.

Week Commencing 26 September

ASR Management Meeting

Tuesday 27 September 2016, 1pm, Physics West 229

ASR Group Meeting

Wednesday 28 September 2016, 12pm, Physics West Library

Astrophysics & Space Research Group and HiROS Group Seminar

Wednesday 28 September 2016, 2.30pm, Physics West 117

Speaker: Aris Karastergiou, University of Oxford

Title: Understanding the clock: physics with pulsars

The canonical picture of pulsars as well behaved clocks is being challenged
by recent observations, that reveal time variability of the radio emission
and the rotational properties of a number of sources. The data point towards
intrinsic, magnetospheric, and propagation related effects. I will review
the technique of pulsar timing, which is providing stringent GR tests and
promise of nHZ GW detections in the future, show the ways in which pulsars
are "misbehaving", and discuss the physics we can address while trying to
"correct" the clocks.

Week Commencing 19 September

ASR Management Meeting

Tuesday 20 September 2016, 1pm, Physics West 229

Astrophysics & Space Research Group and HiROS Group Seminar

Wednesday 21 September 2016, 2.30pm, Physics West 117

Speaker: Riccardo Sturani, University Estadual Paulista

Title: The General Relativistic two body problem: recent results

Gravitational Waves emitted by inspiraling and coalescing compact binary
systems requires for their detection accurate theoretical modeling. In the
early inspiral phase the post-Newtonian (PN) approximation to General
Relativity needs to be pushed to high order for data analysis purposes and
high accuracy comparison with Numerical Relativity computations describing
the final merger and ringdown phases also demand extreme precision. In this
talk an overview of the problem of deriving the equation of motion of
compact binaries will be given, with emphasis on the recent efforts applying
effective field theory techniques within the PN framework, which are also
important for applications to self-force comparisons and effective-one-body
calculations.

Week Commencing 12 September

ASR Management Meeting

Tuesday 13 September 2016, 1pm, Physics West 229

Publications

Ilya Mandel, Will M. Farr, Andrea Colonna, Simon Stevenson, Peter Tiňo,
John Veitch

Model-independent inference on compact-binary observations [arxiv.org]
--
S. J. Smartt et al. 2016.

A search for an optical counterpart to the gravitational wave event
GW151226. ApJL, 827, L40. [dx.doi.org]
--
Thomas Callister, Letizia Sammut, Shi Qiu, *Ilya Mandel*, Eric Thrane

Limits of Astrophysics with Gravitational-Wave Backgrounds 
Phys.  Rev. X 6, 031018 [journals.aps.org]
--
Simon Daley-Yates, Ian R. Stevens, Tom D. Crossland

Sub-mm free-free emission from the winds of massive stars in the age of ALMA [adsabs.harvard.edu]
--

Astrophysics & Space Research /HiROS Groups Seminar

Friday 29 July 2016, 12pm Physics West 106

Speaker: Dr Nimish Hathi, (LAM - Marseille)

Title: Galaxy Formation and Evolution in the JWST Era

Abstract: A comprehensive analysis of star-forming galaxies (SFGs), including a
crucial sub-population of Lyman alpha emitters (LAEs), at high redshifts (z>2)
using multi-wavelength photometry and deep spectroscopy is vital for
understanding the physical processes that govern the star formation activity
and galaxy assembly through cosmic time. Until now, such studies were limited
to small number of galaxies because of the lack of large area, deep observations
at high redshifts.

With extensive multi-wavelength photometry from HST deep fields, and deep
ground-based spectroscopy from ESO/VLT, we can now investigate physical
properties of a large sample of SFGs/LAEs at z~2-6. I will present results from
recent studies based on spectroscopic and photometric data of SFGs/LAEs at high
redshift with a look towards upcoming surveys/missions.

Publications

Ghosh, A., Ghosh, A., Johnson-McDaniel, N. K., Kant Mishra, C., Ajith, P.,
Del Pozzo, W., Nichols, D. A., Chen, Y., Nielsen, A.B., Berry, C. P. L. &
London, L.; Testing general relativity using golden black-hole binaries
[adsabs.harvard.edu];
Physical Review D [dx.doi.org]; 94(2):021101;2016
arXiv:1602.02453 [gr-qc] [arxiv.org].

Farr, B., Berry, C. P. L., Farr, W. M., Haster, C.-J., Middleton, H.,
Cannon, K., Graff, P. B., Hanna, C., Mandel, I., Pankow, C., Price, L. R.,
Sidery, T., Singer, L. P., Urban, A. L., Vecchio, A., Veitch, J. & Vitale, S.;
Parameter estimation on gravitational waves from neutron-star binaries with
spinning components
[adsabs.harvard.edu];
Astrophysical Journal [dx.doi.org]; 825(2):116; 2016;
arXiv:1508.05336 [arxiv.org]

Week Commencing 4 July

Journal Club

Wednesday 6 July 2016, 12pm Physics West Library

Sebastian Gaebel will be leading a discussion about hierarchical
modelling.

Sebastian says he will address the famous 8 schools problem
and a problem from astrophysics 
 

Visitors

George Hau - 4-8 July 2016

George Hau (ESO, Santiago) will be visiting the group on July 4-8.
George is the SINFONI, EFOSC2 and MUSE instrument scientist.  He has
broad interesting in extragalactic astronomy, including galaxy
formation and galaxy archaeology.  Let me know if you'd be interested
in talking to George. Sean McGee

Publications

S. J. Smartt et al.  2016.

A search for an optical counterpart to the gravitational wave event
GW151226. [arxiv.org]

N-body dynamics of Intermediate mass-ratio inspirals in globular
clusters Carl-Johan Haster, Fabio Antonini, Vicky Kalogera, Ilya
Mandel [arxiv.org]

Week Commencing 6 June

LSST UK Cluster Meeting

Tuesday 7 June 2016, 10am, Physics West 106

Graham Smith will be hosting this meeting.

Science Jamboree

Tuesday 7 June 2016, 11-1pm Physics West Coffee Lounge

Please see Maggie Lieu for more details.

ASR Management Group

Tuesday 7 June 2016, 1pm, Physics West 229

Astrophysics & Space Research Group and HiROS Group Seminar

Wednesday 8 June 2016, 2.30pm Watson LT B Room 101

Speaker: Mathilde Jauzac, University of Durham

Title: Hubble Frontiers Fields: Some insights after 2 and half years of
       observation

The Hubble Frontier Fields (HFF) initiative constitutes the largest commitment
ever of HST time to the exploration of the distant Universe via gravitational
lensing by massive galaxy clusters. This program devotes 140 orbits of HST
time to deep imaging observations of each of six cluster lenses reaching
m~29 (AB) uniformly from the optical to the near-infrared. These clusters were
chosen for their strong lens properties, and are all highly disturbed objects,
showing major and minor merging on-going processes, making them ideal targets
to trace the Cosmic Web assembly. While combining strong and weak-lensing
regimes to map the total mass with X-rays observations of the hot gas and
spectroscopy of cluster galaxies to look at their direction of motion, we can
thus study the dynamical scenarios in place within these massive galaxy
clusters, and trace the sub-structures engaged. I will present a new
multi-wavelength picture of the first two HFF clusters. The depth of these
dataset makes these clusters amazing Cosmic Telescopes, but also enables us
to get an unprecedented understanding of the cluster physics. I will present
a comparison of the dark matter, light and gas distributions, that will lead
us to the distribution of substructures within the MACSJ0416 , and Abell 2744
vicinities. Finally I will discuss the different clues that these observables
provide on the evolution processes in massive galaxy clusters.

If time permits, I will discuss one of the most beautiful HFF discovery,
SN Refsdal, the first multiply-lensed supernovae discovered by Kelly et al.
(2015) in MACSJ1149 . This particular event is a rare chance to test our mass
modelling techniques, and hopefully improve our methods. I will thus give an
overview of the lensing community's work on SN Refsdal, and discuss the
appearance of its last multiple image.

Visitors

Tatsuya Narikawa - Tuesday 7 June 2016
Tatsuya Narikawa will be visiting the group until the 14 June 2016.

McKenna Davis and Patrick Blackstone - Monday 6 June 2016
Summer students McKenna and Patrick both from the US, will be working with
Haixing & Clive until the 31 July 2016.

Week Commencing 16 May 2016

ASR Management Group

Tuesday 17 May 2016, 1pm, Physics West 229

Journal Club

Wednesday 18 May 2016, 12pm, Physics West Library

Here are a couple of references ahead of my journal club on Wednesday;
[www.youtube.com] (A nice introductory lecture)
[www.astro.caltech.edu] (A summary article of a few of the potential astrophysical interpretations)

My rough plan is to spend the first half of my talk introducing neural
networks in a general sense, then I'll lead a discussion on their pros and
cons, especially in an astrophysical setting. Jim Barrett

School Colloquium

Wednesday 18 May 2016, 4pm, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre S06

Speaker: Prof Chris Pickard, University of Cambridge

Title: Random explorations of material structure space

The use of stochastic optimisation strategies for first principles structure
prediction is now well established. There are many examples of these
techniques making genuine discoveries. Ab Initio Random Structure Searching
(AIRSS), in which initial starting structures are randomly generated and
relaxed repeatedly, is extremely simple, reliable and suited to high
throughput computation. Typical functional materials are ternary, or
quaternary compounds. It is important to perform a search over compositional
space as thoroughly and broadly as possible. I will discuss how AIRSS may be
used to do this, paying particular attention to pulling apart structures we
have already found, to make new, random ones.

Publications

Moore, C. J., Chua, A. J. K., Berry, C. P. L. & Gair, J. R.

Fast methods for training Gaussian processes on large data sets; Royal
Society Open Science; 3(5):160125; 2016; arXiv:1604.01250.

Week Commencing 9 May 2016

Astrophysics & Space Research Group and HiROS Group Seminar

Monday 9 May 2016, 2pm, Physics West Lecture Theatre 117

Speaker: James Guillochon, Harvard CfA

Title: Tidal disruptions of stars by supermassive black holes: dynamics, light
       and relics

Most supermassive black holes in the local universe lie dormant, with only one
in a hundred accreting at their Eddington limits.  Aside from this active
minority, and the black holes in nearby galaxies that we can observe to
influence the dynamics of stars and gas, most remain difficult to study. Tidal
disruptions of stars by supermassive black holes give these dormant black
holes a chance to be seen once every ~10,000 years, and each tidal disruption
brings along with it a host of observable signatures that can be studied from
gigaparsecs away, from the moment of the disruption to millennia after a
disruption has occurred. In my talk I will present work I have done on tidal
disruptions of stars, and describe their dynamics, observational signatures
from real-time monitoring, and relics of disruption that may exist in plain
sight.

ASR Management Group

Tuesday 10 May 2016, 1pm, Physics West 229

Astrophysics & Space Research Group and HiROS Group Seminar

Wednesday 11 May 2016, 2.30pm, Physics West Lecture Theatre 117

Speaker: Sean Matt, University of Exeter

Title: Rotation, Magnetic Activity and Mass Loss of Sun-Like Stars

An enormous amount of what we know about the universe and our own place on
Earth depends on our understanding of stars. Yet, even for the most familiar
stars, there are still major unsolved questions related to rotation, magnetic
activity, and mass loss. I will discuss an emerging self-consistent picture
that links all of these processes together and to the overall evolution of
Sun-like and low-mass stars. This progress is due to large and diverse new
datasets, advances in physical models for the loss of angular momentum (which
itself depends upon magnetism and mass loss), and the incorporation of these
models into long-term stellar evolution calculations.

Week Commencing 25 April 2016

ASR Management Group

Tuesday 26 April 2016, 1pm, Physics West 229

ASR Group

Wednesday 27 April 2016, 12pm, PW Library

Astrophysics & Space Research Group and HiROS Group Seminar

Wednesday 27 April 2016, 2.30pm, PW Lecture Theatre 117

Speaker: Moira Jardine, St Andrews

Title: The Space Weather of other Suns

Abstract: "Space Weather" describes the impact that the Sun has on its
environment through the magnetically powered flares, mass ejections and wind
that it produces. Although the Sun is a relatively inactive star, the impact
of a large solar mass ejection can damage satellite electronics, shut down
terrestrial power grids and disrupt radio communications. On more active
stars, we might expect even more dramatic space weather and a greater impact
on any orbiting planets. In this talk I will describe how we can use
observations that reveal the geometry of stellar magnetic fields to
understand the nature of the accompanying space weather.

HiROS Lectureship Position

Thursday 28 & Friday 29 April 2016, PW Lecture Theatre 117

We will be holding interviews later this week for a lectureship position inr
the HiROS group. On Thursday 28th, the candidates will be giving open talks
on their research plans in Physics West 117. Please do come along, all are
welcome. The schedule is below:

Lectureship talks, Thu 28th, W117:

11.00 - 11.45 Dr Anne-Marie Broomhall (Warwick) "Seismological insights into
the magnetic activity of the Sun and other stars"

11.45 - 12.30 Dr Guy Davies (Birmingham) "The unseen interior of stars:
Finding our place in the Universe"

15.00 - 15.45 Dr Paula Jofre (IoA, Cambridge) "Using the stars we know most
about to help understanding the stars we know nothing about"

15.45 - 16.30 Dr Hannah Schunker (Max Planck, Göttingen), "Solving the Solar
Dynamo Problem"

Visitors

Wednesday 27 April 2016

This is just to let you know that Phil Evans from Leicester will be visiting.
Phil works with the Swift satellite, looking at GRBs and their afterglows.
He's been very active in the joint LIGO-Swift analyses during the O1
observing run and is interested in how we can use LIGO's distance estimation
to improve follow-up strategies. Walter and I have planned to discuss this
topic with Phil, and others are welcome to join too if interested.
Alternatively, if you want to arrange a meeting with Phil while he's here
then let me know; or you can simply come along for lunch at Staff House 

Dr John Veitch.

Publications

Analysis Framework for the Prompt Discovery of Compact Binary Mergers in
Gravitational-wave Data 
Cody Messick et al. (including Gareth Thomas)
http://arxiv.org/abs/1604.04324

Dynamical Formation of the GW150914 Binary Black Hole
Carl L. Rodriguez, Carl-Johan Haster, Sourav Chatterjee, Vicky Kalogera,
Frederic A. Rasio
http://arxiv.org/abs/1604.04254

Going the Distance: Mapping Host Galaxies of LIGO Sources in Three Dimensions
Using Local Cosmography and Targeted Follow-up
L. P. Singer, H.-Y. Chen, D. E. Holz, W. M. Farr, L. R. Price, V. Raymond,
S. B. Cenko, N. Gehrels, J. Cannizzo, M. M. Kasliwal, S. Nissanke, M. Coughlin,
B. Farr, Alex L. Urban, S. Vitale, J. Veitch, P. Graff, C. P. L. Berry, S.
Mohapatra, I. Mandel
https://arxiv.org/abs/1603.07333

The limits of astrophysics with gravitational wave backgrounds
Thomas Callister, Letizia Sammut, Eric Thrane, Shi Qiu, Ilya Mandel
https://arxiv.org/abs/1604.02513

Congratulations to Professor Mandel & Others

I am very pleased to announce that promotions have been conferred by the
University's Promotions and Titles Committee for:

Nicola Wilkin, Professor (TF)
Ilya Mandel, Professor
Paul Norman, Reader (TF)
Dima Gangardt, Reader
Andrey Kaplin, Senior Lecturer

I am sure you would like to join me in congratulating them on their
achievements which recognise contributions ranging from research to
teaching and impact.

 Martin Freer

Week Commencing 14 March 2016

ASR Management Group

Tuesday 22 March 2016, 1pm, Physics West 229

Astrophysics & Space Research Group and HiROS Group Seminar

Wednesday 23 March 2016, 14.30, Physics West Lecture Theatre 117

Speaker: Daisuke Kawata, UCL

Title: Structure and Metallicity Distributions of Chemically Decomposed
Thick and Thin Disk Populations of the Milky Way Disk

We first summarise the thick and thin disk formation scenario commonly seen
in cosmological N-body simulations. As suggested in Brook et al. (2004), a
hierarchical clustering scenario causes multiple minor gas-rich mergers, and
leads to the formation of kinematically hot disk, thick disk population, at
a high redshift. Once the mergers become less significant at later epoch,
the thin disk population starts building up. Because in this scenario the
thick disk population forms intensively at high redshift through multiple
gas-rich mergers, the thick disk population is compact and has
systematically higher [α/Fe] abundance than the thin disk population. In
addition, we show that the current cosmological simulation also naturally
predict that the thin disk population is flaring at the outer region.
Consequently, at the high vertical height from the disk plane, the compact
thick disk population (low metallicity and high [α/Fe]) is dominant in the
inner region and the flaring thin disk population (high metallicity and low
[α/Fe]) contributes more in the outer region. This helps to explain the
positive radial metallicity gradient and negative radial [α/Fe] gradient
observed at the high vertical height in the Milky Way stellar disk.

We then discuss how radial migration impacts the metallicity distribution of
the thin disc population. We demonstrate that the flaring star forming
region could be required to explain the negative vertical metallicity
gradient observed in the thin disc population.

School Colloquium

Wednesday 23 March 2016, 4pm, Physics West Lecture Theatre 117 (NOTE CHANGE
OF VENUE)

Speaker: Prof Stephen Smartt, Queens University, Belfast

Title: Collapse of massive stars to black holes - the missing progenitors of
supernovae
Massive stars collapse to form neutron stars and black holes. In doing so
they produce the population of core-collapse supernovae we see in the nearby
Universe.  Over the last 15 years we have been able to directly identify
the progenitors of supernovae, link them with explosions and in some cases
confirm the disappearance of the star. The number of discoveries of
progenitors now allows some interesting comparisons between observational
data and explosion models.  There appears to be a distinct lack of bright
supernovae from the most massive stars, which suggests that stars over a
certain mass limit produce black holes with no visible explosion.

I will discuss this mass limit, which could be as low as 16 solar masses and
the implications in the LIGO/Virgo era of detections of compact binary
mergers.

Publications

Published:

Detectability of Gravitational Waves from High-Redshift Binaries Pablo A.
Rosado, Paul D. Lasky, Eric Thrane, Xingjiang Zhu, Ilya Mandel, and Alberto
Sesana Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 101102 – Published 10 March 2016
[journals.aps.org] 

Inference on gravitational waves from coalescences of stellar-mass compact
objects and intermediate-mass black holes Carl-Johan Haster, Zhilu Wang,
Christopher P. L. Berry, Simon Stevenson, John Veitch, Ilya Mandel MNRAS
457, 4499 [mnras.oxfordjournals.org] 

Submitted:

The Chemically Homogeneous Evolutionary Channel for Binary Black Hole
Mergers: Rates and Properties of Gravitational-Wave Events Detectable by
Advanced LIGO Selma de Mink and Ilya Mandel [arxiv.org]

Week Commencing 7 March 2016

ASR Management Group

Tuesday 8 March 2016, 1pm, Physics West 229

ASR Group Meeting

Wednesday 9 March 2016, 12pm, Physics West 106

Gareth Thomas to deliver the science talk

Astrophysics & Space Research Group and HiROS Group Seminar

Wednesday 9 March 2016, 14.30, Physics West Lecture Theatre 117

Speaker: Guy Davies, University of Birmingham

Title: Solar activity, stellar rotation and anomalous weakened magnetic
braking

Abstract: The rotation of Sun-like stars plays a key role in the generation
of magnetic fields by dynamo action. These magnetic fields act as a brake on
the rotation, so that Sun-like stars spins down over their lifetimes. Or so
we thought. Using 4 years of observations from NASA's Kepler space
telescope we have discovered that stars that are more evolved than the Sun
stop spinning down. The most likely cause of this reduced magnetic braking
is that a significant change in the strength or topology of magnetic field
occurs at around the age of the Sun. This has huge implications for our
understanding of the dynamical evolution of Sun-like stars, and suggests
that the Sun may be approaching a significant change in behaviour in the
not-too-distant future (in stellar evolutionary terms!).

Astronomy in the City

Wednesday 9 March 2016, 6pm Poynting Large Lecture Theatre

The fourth of our talks celebrating the 100th anniversary of General
Relativity. Dr Graham Smith will speak about the bending of light,
Einstein's greatest blunder, cosmic acceleration, and the exciting future of
the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.  [www.sr.bham.ac.uk]

Publications

Improving gravitational-wave parameter estimation using Gaussian process
regression

Moore, C.J., CPLB, Chua, A.J.K. & Gair, J.R.

Physical Review D; 93(6):064001(24); 2016 [dx.doi.org] [arxiv.org]

Week Commencing 29 February 2016

PhD Admission Day

Tuesday 1 March 2016, Physics West Library

Tuesday, March 1, is our PhD admissions day. I've been in touch with some
of you already about direct involvement, but I hope everyone takes part. 
It's very important for our future success to attract the top students by
showing them what an active, engaging, collaborative and vibrant group of
scientists we are in HiROS and ASR! In particular, many students will be
spending the afternoon (from 1:30 PM onwards) in the second-floor coffee
lounge waiting for their turn to interview. Please come by whenever you can
during that time to chat with them - and in particular at 2:30 PM, when
catered coffee will be served!

Thank you in advance for your help and participation!
Best,

Ilya Mandel

Journal Club

Wednesday 2 March 2016, 12pm, Physics West Library

School Colloquium

Wednesday 2 March 2016, 3pm (NOTE THE TIME CHANGE) Poynting Small Lecture
Theatre

Speaker: Jun Ye, JILA/NIST, Colorado
Title: TBC

Paper of the month award

Congratulations to Guy Davies et al for winning the College Best Paper of
the Month

"Weakened magnetic braking as the origin of anomalously rapid rotation in
old field stars"

DOI: 10.1038/nature16168

The rotation of Sun-like stars plays a key role in the generation of
magnetic fields by dynamo action. These magnetic fields act as a brake on
the rotation, so that Sun-like stars spins down over their lifetimes. Or so
we thought. Using 4 years of observations from NASA's Kepler space telescope
we have discovered that stars that are more evolved than the Sun stop
spinning down. The most likely cause of this reduced magnetic braking is
that a significant change in the strength or topology of magnetic field
occurs at around the age of the Sun. This has huge implications for our
understanding of the dynamical evolution of Sun-like stars, and suggests
that the Sun may be approaching a significant change in behaviour in the
not-too-distant future (in stellar evolutionary terms!).

Week Commencing 22 February 2016

ASR Management Group

Tuesday 23 February 2016, 1pm, Physics West 229

ASR Group Meeting

Wednesday 24 February 2016, 12pm, Physics West 106 NOTE THE ROOM CHANGE

Simon Daley-Yates to deliver the science talk

Astrophysics & Space Research Group and HiROS Group Seminar

Wednesday 24 February 2016, 2.30pm, Physics West 117

Speaker:  Davide Gerosa, University of Cambridge
TITLE: A NEW PARADIGM TO BLACK-HOLE SPIN PRECESSION

The dynamics of precessing black-hole binaries in the post-Newtonian regime
is deeply characterized by a timescale hierarchy: the orbital timescale is
very short compared to the spin- precession timescale which, in turn, is
much shorter than the radiation-reaction timescale on which the orbit is
shrinking due to gravitational-wave emission. The binary dynamics is
typically studied in an orbit-averaged fashion: one only cares about the
orbit itself, not the instantaneous position of each black hole. Here we
also average over the precessional time, thus considering the precessional
cones "as a whole", without tracking the spin's secular motion. These
solutions improve our understanding of spin precession in much the same way
that the conical sections for Keplerian orbits provide additional insights
beyond Newton's 1/r^2 law. Double averaging leads to impressive
computational speed-up: post-Newtonian inspirals can now be computed from
arbitrarily large separations, thus bridging the gap between astrophysics
and numerical relativity. We also present the discovery of a new dynamical
instability in binary black holes with aligned spins. The onset of the
instability lies in the sensitivity windows of future detectors LIGO /Virgo
and eLISA, thus predicting binaries that start precessing while being
observed. More on arXiv 1411.0674 and 1506.09116 (PRL).

Outreach

Hannah Middleton and Carl Haster won an IOP Public engagement award of £275

Week Commencing 8 February 2016

ASR Management Group

Tuesday 9 February 2016, 1pm, Physics West 229

Vice-Chancellor's Open Forum

Tuesday 9 February 2016, 12.30-1.30pm,Elgar Concert Hall, Bramall Music Building

During the forum, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir David Eastwood, will be
interviewed by Stephen Khan, Editor of The Conversation UK, on key issues
facing the Higher Education sector and the University of Birmingham

ASR Group Meeting

Wednesday 10 February 2016, 12pm, Physics West 106 NOTE THE ROOM CHANGE

Anna Green to deliver the science talk

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Thursday 11 February 2016

11th February is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
We're sharing our favourite female scientists using #WomeninSTEM and
this poster . Pin it up in your lab - and tweet us a picture on 11 February!

Week Commencing 1 February 2016

ASR Management Group

Tuesday 2 February 2016, 1pm, Physics West 229

Journal Club

Wednesday 3 February 2016, 12pm, Physics West Library

Physics Colloquium

Wednesday 3 February 2016, 4pm, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre S06

Speaker: Prof Natasha Ivanova, University of Alberta, Canada

Title: Common envelope physics and the transients

Visitors

Jana Goldstein a new PhD student will be visiting the group on Thursday 4 and Friday 5
February 2016

Asteroseismology and Exoplanets: Listening to the Stars and Searching for New Worlds

IVth Azores International Advanced School in Space Sciences

17-27 July 2016, Horta, Faial, Azores Islands, Portugal
Website: [www.iastro.pta] Tiago Campante (Chair)

This International Summer School will cover two scientific topics that share many
synergies and resources: Asteroseismology and Exoplanetary Science. Therefore, the
proposed program aims at building opportunities for cooperation and sharing of methods
that will benefit both communities. The School will include both a teaching and a
hands-on components, while bringing together a group of young and dynamic lecturers who
have already established themselves as leaders in their respective fields of research.
It is mainly aimed at PhD and MSc students (although postdocs are also encouraged to
apply) in any field of Astrophysics. Students will also be given the opportunity to
present their own research work by bringing a poster to the School.

The School will take place in the town of Horta, located in the island of Faial. Faial
is one of the nine islands that make up the beautiful archipelago of the Azores,
situated in the North Atlantic Ocean about 1,360 km (850 mi) west of mainland Portugal.
The Azores are served by frequent flights from Europe and the US/Canada.

There is an upper limit of 40 attendees to the School. Due to the large number of
expected applications, a pre-registration process will be in place that requires
applicants to submit a short CV (max. 2 pages) and a motivational letter (max. 1 page).
Pre-registration should be done through the School's website and will close on 18 March
2016. Information on the registration fee is available on the School's website.

For any questions/inquiries, please contact us at faial2016@iastro.pt.

Week Commencing 25 January 2016

GraWIToN School

Monday 25 - Friday 29 January 2016, PW Library

The GW group is running an international school for the students in the EU
initial training network GraWIToN.  The school is focussed on the instrument
development for gravitational wave detection, in particular on the topics
'optics and simulations'.

Some of the GW folks will be interested to hear that we are basing some of
the school on the methods tested in BigWaves. Most of the work and the
teaching is done by ourselves (with our students Daniel and Anna taking the
lead) and we have two external teachers: Jerome Degallaix from LMA in Lyon
and Peter MacKay from the optics company Gooch & Housego.

ASR Management Group

Tuesday 26 January 2016, 1pm, Physics West 229

ASR Group Meeting

Wednesday 27 January 2016, 12pm, Physics West 106 NOTE THE ROOM CHANGE

Serena Vinciguerra to deliver the science talk

School Committee Meeting

Wednesday 27 January 2016, 2pm,Watson Building, Lecture Theatre A (room G23).

You are all invited to attend.

Astrophysics & Space Research Group and HiROS Group Seminar

Wednesday 27 January 2016, 2.30pm, Physics West 117

Speaker: Paula Jofre Pfeil, University of Cambridge

Title: The pillars and the twins of the stars in the Gaia-ESO Survey

With less than a year to come for the first data release of Gaia, thousands
of stars observed with high-resolution spectra are nowadays available. In this
talk I will present our current efforts in defining and analysing the pillar
calibrators of Gaia and its complementary spectroscopic survey Gaia-ESO. I
will then present applications using these calibrator pillars to find stellar
twins in spectroscopic surveys. Twins can be used to determine model-independent
distances, making them excellent candidates to complement Gaia in the near
future.

Astronomy in the City

Wednesday 27 January 2016, 6pm, Poynting Building

Evenings begin with talks covering astronomical highlights and recent research,
and a question-and-answer session (everything from beginner's questions about
the night sky to the latest work done here in Birmingham). Afterwards, (if the
weather cooperates) we have observing with telescopes on campus, and a lucky
few will be taken out to the University's Observatory.  Talk begins at 6:00 pm,
in the Large Lecture Theatre, Poynting.  

[http://www.sr.bham.ac.uk/observatory/astronomyinthecity.php]

Week Commencing 18 January 2016

ASR Management Group

Tuesday 19 January 2016, 1pm, Physics West 229

School Colloquiua

Wednesday 20 January 2016, 4pm Poynting SO6

Speaker: Prof Jenny Nelson, Centre for Plastic Electronics & the Department
of Physics, Imperial College London.

Title: Molecular Electronic Materials and their application to Photovoltaics

Abstract: The application of molecular and hybrid semiconductor materials to
optoelectronics presents both an opportunity, in terms of the vast range of
material properties and applications that can be achieved through chemical
synthesis, and a challenge, in relating optoelectronic properties of the
resulting devices to the chemical structure and microstructure of the
materials. The challenge is complicated by the intrinsic disorder in
electronic energy levels, the structural heterogeneity of organic
semiconductors and their dielectric properties. In this seminar, we focus on
the application of these materials to photovoltaic energy conversion, where
the prospect of low-cost solar panel manufacture using printing or coating
has attracted intense interest. We discuss how the molecular nature of the
materials influences the processes of light harvesting and photocurrent
generation in a solar cell. We show how a range of electronic, spectroscopic
and structural measurement techniques, together with molecular and device
modelling, can be used to relate the properties of the materials to their
performance in solar cells. Finally we address the factors that limit power
conversion efficiency in such devices.

HiROS Seminar

Thursday 21 January 2016, 2.30pm, WG12 Aston Webb

Speaker Dr Dimitri Veras, University of Warwick
Title: Planetary Systems through all Stages of Stellar Evolution

Abstract: We know that planetary systems around white dwarfs are just as
common as those around main sequence stars. However, observations reveal
significant gaps in our understanding about how planets, asteroids, comets
and pebbles undergo physical and orbital changes as their parent stars
evolve off of the main sequence. We have performed full-lifetime (14 Gyr)
numerical simulations of multi-planet systems across all phases of stellar
evolution, incorporating realistic profiles for stellar mass loss and
stellar radius variability, and including test particles and wide binary
stellar companions. We demonstrate that closely-packed planetary systems can
remain stable throughout the main sequence and for many Gyr during the white
dwarf phase before unpacking and triggering scattering events. These events
may generate an ever-changing dynamical architecture around the white
dwarfs, and perturb planets onto orbits which can be detectable by transit
photometry.

Additional Information

Hannah Middleton has been awarded (along with others) an STFC small award in
the region of £3,000.

Congratulations to Will Farr and his wife Rachel on the birth of their
daughter Katherine Thessin Farr.

Week Commencing 11 January 2016

ASR Management Group

Tuesday 12 January 2016, 1pm, Physics West 229

ASR Group Meeting

Wednesday 13 January 2016, 12pm, Physics West 115 (NOTE ROOM CHANGE)

Jim Barrett to deliver the science talk

Publications

Estimates of black hole natal kick velocities from observations of low-mass
X-ray binaries Ilya Mandel Published in MNRAS

The most distant observable massive objects Pablo A. Rosado, Paul D. Lasky,
Eric Thrane, Xingjiang Zhu, Ilya Mandel, Alberto Sesana. Published in [www.arxiv.org]

I. Mandel, S. E. de Mink. Merging binary black holes formed through
chemically homogeneous evolution in short-period stellar binaries.
Published in [www.arxiv.org]

Additional Information

The BEAR PGR Conference Awards

The BEAR PGR conference is an opportunity for post-graduate students and
early-career researchers to exhibit their computational work to academics,
industry professionals, and their peers across the University.

Many congratulations to Jim Barrett (astrophysics) and Austin Tomlinson
(theoretical physics) for being awarded 1st and 2nd place respectively for
their contributed talks.

Week Commencing 14 December 2015

Big Waves

Monday 14 - Friday 18 December 2015, Physics West Library

ASR Management Group

Tuesday 15 December 2015, 1pm, Physics West 229

Visitors

Monday 14 December until Tuesday 15 December 2015

Dr Steven Taylor, NASA Post Doc Fellow Jet Propulsion Lab/CALTECH will be
visiting at the beginning of the week. He will be based in the visitors
office.

Week Commencing 7 December 2015

ASR Management Groups

Tuesday 8th December 2015, 1pm, Physics West 229

Journal Club / ArXiv Discussions

Wednesday 9 December 2015, 12pm, Physics West 115

Astrophysics Seminar - jointly hosted by the ASR and HiROS Group

Wednesday 9 December 2015, 14.30pm, Physics West Lecture Theatre 117

Speaker: Ben Pope, Oxford University

Title: Pushing the Limits of K2: Gaussian Process Systematics Correction and
a Kepler/K2 Saturated Star Survey

The Kepler mission, revived in two-wheeled form as K2, observes a succession
of fields in the ecliptic plane in ~80 day photometric campaigns. This has
enabled a dramatic extension of the exoplanetary science and
asteroseismology of Kepler to a number of nearby clusters and standard
stars. With only two reaction wheels, K2 suffers from severe systematics
introduced by its regular pointing corrections. In this talk, I will
describe the Oxford pipeline for K2 systematics correction, using Gaussian
Processes to non-parametrically model photometric errors as a function of
pointing inputs, and will discuss the planet candidates we obtain with this
approach. I will also present the first results of the Kepler/K2 Saturated
Stars Survey (K2S3), where we extract light curves of the brightest stars in
Kepler and K2 from previously-unused calibration data or from their
scattered-light halo.

Many of these stars were not conventionally targeted due to their severe
saturation, and due to their position on the ecliptic, the K2S3 sample is
directly complementary to the targets selected for the upcoming Transiting
Exoplanet Survey Satellite. We have been able to study the asteroseismology
these sources, including RR Lyr and the Pleiades, and search for planets
around some of the nearest stars to the Sun.

Physics Colloquium

Wednesday 9 December 2015, 4pm, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre S06

Speaker: Prof Mark Kasevich, Stanford University

Title: Quantum mechanics at macroscopic scales

Week Commencing 30 November 2015

ASR Management Groups

Tuesday 1st December 2015, 1pm, Physics West 229

ASR Group Meeting

Wednesday 2nd December 2015, 12pm, Physics West Library

Christopher Berry to deliver the science talk

Astrophysics Seminar - jointly hosted by the ASR and HiROS Group

Wednesday 2nd December 2015, 14.30, Physics West Lecture Theatre 117

Speaker: Rob Crain, Liverpool John Moores University

Title: The EAGLE Project: Numerical modelling of the 'Evolution and Assembly
of GaLaxies and their Environments'

I will briefly recap the motivation for, and progress towards, numerical
modelling of the formation and evolution of the galaxy population – from
cosmological initial conditions at early epochs through to the present day.
I will introduce the EAGLE project (Schaye et al. 2015; Crain et al. 2015),
a flagship program of such simulations recently conducted by the Virgo
Consortium. These simulations represent a major development in the
discipline, since they are the first to reproduce the key properties of the
evolving galaxy population, and do so using energetically-feasible feedback
mechanisms. I shall present a broad range of results from the first batch of
EAGLE papers, concerning the evolution of galaxy (and black hole) masses,
their luminosities and colours, their atomic and molecular gas content, and
the structure of their host (dark matter + hot gas) haloes. Besides
exploring these interesting astrophysical outcomes, I hope to convey some of
the strengths and limitations of the current generation of numerical models.

Week Commencing 23 November 2015

ASR Management Group

Tuesday 24 November 2015, 1pm, Physics West 229

Journal Club

Wednesday 25 November 2015, 12pm, Physics West 115

School Colloquium

Wednesday 25 November 2015, 4pm, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre S06

Speaker: Dr Amanda Cooper-Sarkar, University of Oxford

Title: What have we learnt about/from the deep structure of the proton in
the last 40 years?

Astronomy in the City

Wednesday 25 November 2015, 6pm, Poynting Building

Talk begins at 6:00 pm, in the Large Lecture Theatre of the Poynting Physics
Building on the University's Edgbaston campus. More details are on our 
website and tickets for the events are available from here

Publications

C W F Everitt et al. (including I Mandel). 2015.

The Gravity Probe B test of general relativity. Classical and Quantum
Gravity, 32 224001 [iopscience.iop.org]

A. S. Silbergleit, J. W. Conklin, M. I. Heifetz, T. Holmes, J. Li, I.
Mandel, et al. 2015.

Gravity Probe B data analysis: II. Science data and their handling prior to
the final analysis. Classical and Quantum Gravity, 32 224019 
[iopscience.iop.org]

Haixing Miao, Yiqiu Ma, Chunnong Zhao, and Yanbei Chen
Enhancing the Bandwidth of Gravitational-Wave Detectors with Unstable
Optomechanical Filters: Phys. Rev. Lett. 115, 211104 (2015)

Week Commencing 16 November 2015

Vice-Chancellor visit to the School of Physics and Astronomy

Tuesday, 17 November from 1-2pm Poynting Large Lecture Theatre S02

Please inform Pauline Trigg of your attendance asap P.A.Trigg@bham.ac.uk

Visitors

Monday 16 November 2015

David Wu will be visiting Dr Conor Mow-Lowry

Week Commencing 9 November 2015

ASR Management Group

Tuesday 10 November 2015, 1pm, Physics West 229

School Colloquium

Wednesday 11th November 2015, 4pm, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre S06

Speaker: Prof Brian Tanner, University of Durham

Title: High Resolution X-ray Scattering and Imaging of Semiconductors:
from Science to Spin-out

Journal Club / ArXiv Discussions

Thursday 12 November 2015, 9am, Physics West Library

Visitors

Monday 9 - Tuesday 10 November 2015

Ulrike Kuchner, University of Vienna will be visiting Graham Smith.

Week Commencing 19 October 2015

ASR Management Group

Tuesday 3  November 2015, 1pm, Physics West 229

ASR Group Meeting

Wednesday 4 November 2015, 12pm, Physics West Library

Astrophysics Seminar - jointly hosted by the ASR and HiROS Group

Wednesday 4 November 2015, 2.30pm, Physics West Lecture Theatre 117

Speaker: Saida Caballero-Nieves, University of Sheffield

Title: A Binary View of Massive Stars

The Universe we observe today has been shaped extensively by massive stars.
From birth to death and throughout their entire lives, they mold their near
and far environment in multiple ways, by driving galactic dynamics, and
chemically enriching the interstellar environment through their explosive
deaths. In spite of their obvious importance, observational challenges have
severely limited our knowledge of massive stars. In particular, their great
distances and scarce numbers induce observational challenges to our
understanding of their formation and evolution. However, we do know that
massive stars love company. I will present an overview current picture of
the multiplicity properties of massive stars and discuss the implications on
their formation.

Journal Club / ArXiv Discussions

Thursday 5 November 2015, 9am, Physics West 115

Week Commencing 19 October 2015

ASR Management Group

Tuesday 20 October 2015, 1pm, Physics West 229

Astrophysics Seminar - jointly hosted by the ASR and HiROS Group

Wednesday 21st October 2015 at 14.30 in Physics West Lecture Theatre 117

Speaker: John Stott, University of Oxford

Title: The KMOS Redshift One Spectroscopic Survey (KROSS): The resolved
Dynamics, Star- Formation and Chemical Properties of 1000 z~1 star forming galaxies

I will present the first results of KROSS, a major UK-led KMOS GTO survey to
observe the redshifted H-alpha emission in ~1000 star-forming galaxies at
z=0.8-1.5. Selecting galaxies from the star-forming "main-sequence" (stellar
masses 1e9.5-1e11.5 Msol and SFR 1-30 Msol/yr), KROSS will measure the
resolved dynamics, chemistry and star formation in a statistical sample of
galaxies in to address:
 (i)  How does the fraction of disks evolve as a function of z and environment?
(ii)  Are major (and minor) mergers more prevalent at high-z ?
(iii) How does the relation between the star-formation, stellar mass and dark halo evolve with z and environment?
(iv)  How does the angular momentum of galaxy disks evolve with z, stellar
mass and environment;
(v)   Are chemical abundance gradients of early disks stronger or weaker than local spirals?
These are critical issues for developing models of galaxy formation, in
particular to determine if stellar mass assembly is dominated by secular
isolation or via merger-induced growth. In this talk I will show the first
500+ galaxies from the sample, which already constitutes the largest ever
resolved H-alpha survey at this redshift.

Physics Colloquium

Wednesday 21st October 2015 at 16.00 in Poynting Small Lecture Theatre S06

Speaker: Dr Ineke de Moortel, St Andrews

Title: Transverse, Propagating Velocity Perturbations in Coronal Loops

Journal Club / ArXiv Discussions

Thursday 22 October 2015, 9am, Physics West Library

Week Commencing 12 October 2015

ASR Management Group

Tuesday 13 October 2015, 1pm, Physics West 229

Astro in the City

Wednesday 14 October 2015, 6pm, Poynting Building

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Einstein's general relativity, our
best theory of gravity.

General relativity is central too much of modern astrophysics (including
research we do here), explaining everything from black holes to the expansion
of the Universe itself. To celebrate, each Astronomy in the City will feature
a themed talk, covering an aspect of general relativity, including
the most violent explosions in the Universe, the mysterious dark energy and
Nature's biggest black holes. We hope you are as excited as we are!

Astronomy in the City is a series of free all-ticket public events, each
packed with astrophysics; stargazing, and tea and biscuits. Evenings begin
with talks covering astronomical highlights and recent research and a
question-and-answer session (for everything from beginner's questions about
the night sky to the latest work done here in Birmingham). Afterwards, (if
the weather cooperates) we have observing with telescopes on campus, and a
lucky few will be taken out to the University's Observatory.

Events will be held:

* Wednesday 14 October 2015
* Wednesday 25 November 2015
* Wednesday 27 January 2016
* Wednesday 9 March 2016

The first talk begins at 6:00 pm, in the Large Lecture Theatre of the
Poynting Physics Building on the University's Edgbaston campus. More details
are on our website and tickets for the October event are available from
astrointhecity102015.eventbrite.co.uk

Week Commencing 5 October 2015

HiROS Workshop - Red Giants Modelling Workshop

Monday 5 - Friday 9 October 2015, Physics West Library / 115

Dr Andrea Miglio will be hosting a week long workshop on red giants.
ASR Management Group

Tuesday 6 October 2015, 1pm, Physics West 229

ASR Group Meeting

Wednesday 7 October 2015, 12pm, Physics West 106 NOTE THE ROOM CHANGE

Dr Haixing Miao will the deliver the science talk for the first group
meeting of the academic year.

Astrophysics Seminar - jointly hosted by the ASR and HiROS Group

Wednesday 7 October 2015, 2.30pm, Physics West 117

Speaker: Dr Joergen Christensen-Dalsgaard, Aarhus University

Title: New insights in the evolution of red giant stars

Visitors

Dr Rory Smith - will be visiting the group from Monday 5 - 19 October 2015.

Publications

Measuring Intermediate-Mass Black-Hole Binaries with Advanced Gravitational
Wave Detectors.

John Veitch, Michael Puerrer, Ilya Mandel, has been published in 
Physical Review Letters

Week Commencing 28 September 2015

Cluster Mass & Scaling Relations Working Group

Monday 28 - Wednesday 30 September 2015

This working group will commence at 12pm on Monday 28th and will close on
Wednesday 30th Sep, due to a lack of space, the group will use the second
floor coffee lounge for lunch on each of these dates.

ASR Management Group

Tuesday 29 September 2015, 1pm, Physics West 229

Visitors

Dr S Babak will be arriving on Tuesday 29th to act as an external examiner
for a PhD viva

Week Commencing 14 September 2015

ASR Management Group

Tuesday 15 September 2015, 1pm, Physics West 229

College Discussion Forum

Wednesday 16 September 2015, 1-2pm, Haworth Lecture Theatre 203

Head of College, Professor Andy Schofield, will take the opportunity to
outline his thoughts around the upcoming key issues and challenges for the
College and to update colleagues on progress in relation to strategic
projects.

School Committee Meeting

Thursday 17 September 2015, 2pm, Poynting Large Lecture Theatre

The School Committee is for all staff in the School - apologies should go to
Pauline Trigg.

Week Commencing 7 September 2015

In the Footsteps of Galaxies

Monday 7 - Friday 11 September 2015, Soverato, Italy

In the Footsteps of Galaxies conference is taking place this week in Italy

http://www.sr.bham.ac.uk/footsteps15 [www.sr.bham.ac.uk]

ASR Management Group

Tuesday 8 September 2015, 1pm, Physics West 229

Astrophysics Seminar

Wednesday 9 September 2015, 2pm, Physics West Library

Speaker: Paul Brook, Oxford

Abstract:

Pulsars can be employed as precision timing tools due to the unwavering
nature of their radio emission and of their rotation; it is hoped that
precise pulsar timing measurements will soon permit the direct detection of
gravitational waves. In recent years, however, we have started to see that
unmodelled variability in some pulsars occurs over a broad range of
timescales, both in their emission and in their rotation. This is, of
course, detrimental to the pulsar's utility as a precision timing tool, and
presents a problem when looking for the faint effects of a passing
gravitational wave. I have analysed the variability of various pulsars using
new techniques and will present the results.


Publications

B. Farr et al. 2015.

Parameter estimation on gravitational waves from neutron-star binaries with
spinning components.

 http://arxiv.org/abs/1508.05336 [arxiv.org]

S. A. L. Otaibi, P. Tino, J. Cuevas-Tello, I. Mandel, S. Raychaudhury.

Kernel regression estimates of time delays between gravitationally lensed
fluxes.

 http://arxiv.org/abs/1508.03439 [arxiv.org]

Week Commencing 6 July 2015

TISI

Thursday 9 July 2015, 3pm, Glynn Rooms, CLAD
Speaker: Dr Suzanne Aigrain, University of Oxford
Title: Gaussian Processes

Physics PG Workshop - Managing your Supervisor!

Friday 10 July 2015, 3pm, Poynting Physics Bridge

The first Physics PG workshop of its kind: Managing your Supervisor!
We are trialing the first Physics PG social event with guest speaker,
Dr Alex Conner (from the Medical and Dental School). He is a professional
life coach and runs workshops about getting the most from supervisory
relationships.

You may get along well with your supervisor, or the relationship may be a
little more "complicated", but regardless there are still ways that you
could be working more effectively.

The event will be held in the Poynting Physics Bridge on Friday 10th July
at 1500, and is open to all PG students. As usual, tasty snacks will be
provided.

Looking forward to seeing you there!
The Physics PG reps

Publications

Farr, Mandel, Stevens

An efficient interpolation technique for jump proposals in reversible-jump
Markov chain Monte Carlo calculations published in Royal Society Open Science
http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/2/6/150030

Week Commencing 22 June 2015

Astrophysics Seminar

Tuesday 23 June 2015, 2.30pm, Physics West 103

Speaker: Alex Merson, UCL

Title: Statistical detection of halos in galaxy clusters

Abstract

Statistical detection of halos in galaxy surveys
I will discuss recent work to present a novel Bayesian methodology for
detecting halos of different masses in galaxy survey observations, whilst
jointly quantifying the corresponding uncertainties. This methodology first
uses the previously published HADES algorithm to create an ensemble of
realisations of the matter density field throughout the survey volume. Using
an N-body simulation to relate the density field to halo mass, we then use a
Bayesian chain rule to build up maps of the detection probability of halos
about specific mass thresholds. Demonstration of the methodology using a
realistic galaxy mock catalogue shows an excellent agreement between the
peaks in the probability maps and the positions of the dark matter halos. We
conclude that this method is a promising novel tool for analysing
observations of the large-scale cosmic web.

HiROS Seminar

Wednesday 24 June 2015, 12pm, Nuffield G19
Speaker: Tim Bedding, University of Sydney

Title: Asteroseismology using gravity modes

TISI

Thursday 25 June 2015, 3pm, Glynn Rooms, CLAD

Speaker: Karla Hemming, University of Birmingham

Title: Bayesian Ellicitation

Reminder Alberto's Party

Friday 26 June 2015, 7pm, 4 Court Oak Road

If you plan to attend please could you let me know asap, thanks Jo

Week Commencing 25 May 2015

Management Group

Tuesday 26 May 2015, 1pm, Physics West 229

Astrophysics Seminar - jointly hosted by the ASR and HiROS Group

Wednesday 27 May 2015, 2.30pm, Physics West 117
Speaker: Craig Heinke, University of Alberta
Title: Black Holes in Globular Clusters

Abstract

I'll review searches for black holes (both stellar and intermediate-mass—the
latter meaning 100s-1000s of Msun) in globular clusters. Searches for
intermediate-mass black holes in globular clusters have not found convincing
evidence, despite tantalizing hints. Bright X-ray binaries in extragalactic
globular clusters do provide evidence favouring the existence of black holes
in globular clusters. Recently, new discoveries of radio-bright X-ray sources
in Galactic globular clusters are providing evidence for a population of low-
accretion-rate black hole systems with surprising properties.

HiROS Seminar

Thursday 28 May 2015, 11am, HiROS Group Office
Speaker: Rick Bogart

TISI

Thursday 28 May 2015, 3pm, Glynn Rooms, CLAD
Speaker: Dr Ewan Cameron, University of Oxford
Title: Approximate Bayesian Computation

Week Commencing 11 May 2015

ASR Group

Wednesday 13 May 2015, 12pm, Physics West 103 (Please note change of
venue)

Astrophysics Seminar - jointly hosted by the ASR and HiROS Group

Wednesday 13 May 2015, 2.30pm, Physics West 117

Speaker: Dr Phil Marshall, Stanford University

Title: TBC

Inaugural Lecture of Prof Andreas Freise

Wednesday 13 May 2015, 5.15pm, Physics West 117, followed by a drinks
reception in the Library

Title: Shining a light on black holes

When black holes collide, their enormous gravitational forces create
ripples in the fabric of space and time. Although Einstein predicted
the existence of these gravitational waves, he was certain that they
could never be detected.

Advances in technology, from lasers to modern quantum optics, have
fundamentally changed the way we design precision instruments.
Measuring a gravitational wave is now a possibility, while remaining one
of the greatest challenges in experimental physics. The task is to
detect tiny changes in the distance between two objects, a change that
is 100,000 times smaller than the core of an atom. Over several decades
a new type of laser interferometer has been developed, and several
kilometre long gravitational wave detectors have been constructed around
the world.

Now, almost exactly a hundred years after Einstein's predictions, two
detectors are beginning to operate with high enough sensitivity to make
the first detection of a gravitational wave, exceeding Einstein's
imagination. Professor Freise will talk about an extraordinary journey
in experimental physics and the invention of new laser instruments to
look into the skies and listen for the echoes of black holes and dying
stars.

Visitors

Monday 11 until Friday 15 May 2015

Riccardo Sturani will be visiting Walter Del Pozzo this week.

Week Commencing 4 May 2015

Management Group

Tuesday 5 May 2015, 1pm, Physics West 229

Astrophysics Seminar

Tuesday 5 May 2015, 2.30pm, Physics West 117

Speaker: Manjari Bagchi, Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Chennai

Title: Use of binary radio pulsars with ultra-compact companions to
understand basic physics

Binary radio pulsars with other neutron stars or black holes as companions
can serve as excellent laboratories to test various aspects of basic
physics. In this talk, I will first try to seek an answer to the puzzle of
non-discovery of any neutron star-black hole binary so far. Then, I will
discuss potential problems we might face while timing such pulsars after
the discovery is made. The problem can arise mostly due to the spin-orbit
coupling effect from the spin of the black hole. I will also explore
whether such a neutron star-black hole binary is really superior to
falsify general relativity and establish alternative theories of gravity.
Finally, I will briefly discuss how careful study of radio pulsars in
of radio pulsars in neutron star-neutron star binaries can help to
constrain the dense matter equation of state.

School Colloquium

Wednesday 6 May 2015, 4pm, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Speaker Prof Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Title: Women and Girls in Astronomy & Physics

TISI

Thursday 7 May, 1-3pm, Glynn Rooms, CLAD
Speaker: Prof Michael Hobson, University of Cambridge Kavli Institute

Title: Nested Sampling

Nested sampling provides an alternative to traditional MCMC sampling
methods. MultiNest is a generic Bayesian inference tool that uses nested
sampling to calculates the evidence, with an associated error estimate,
and produces posterior samples from distributions that may contain
multiple modes and pronounced (curving) degeneracies in high dimensions.
This algorithm significantly outperforms existing MCMC techniques in a
wide range of astrophysical inference problems. I will discuss the
principles of nested sampling and describe the MultiNest algorithm and
its application to toy examples and a cosmological inference problem.
The MultiNest software, which is fully parallelized using MPI and
includes an interface to COSMOMC, is available at
http://www.mrao.cam.ac.uk/software/multinest/ [www.mrao.cam.ac.uk]

Michael is a theoretical astrophysicist with research interests in
Anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background. Bayesian analysis
techniques. Star-formation in molecular clouds. Radiative transfer.

For the hands-on session we will be using Multinest which can be
download for free: here

Multinest is available in various interfaces, We recommend that you
install any interface of multi nest well in advance of the session (it
requires pre-registration and approval) so that if you have any problems
you can email me. There will not be time during the session to install
multinest.

Astrophysics Seminar - jointly hosted by the ASR and HiROS Group

Thursday 7 May 2015, 2.30pm, Physics West 117

Speaker: Dr Simon Vaughan, University of Leicester

Title: Variability as a tool to study accreting black holes and neutron
stars

The fluctuating brightness of cosmic X-ray sources, particularly
accreting black holes and neutron star systems, has enabled enormous
progress in understanding the physics of turbulent accretion flows, the
behaviour of matter on the surfaces of neutron stars and improving the
evidence for black holes. Most of this progress has been made by
analysing and modelling time series data in terms of their power- and
cross-spectra.

In this talk I am going to concentrate on a related but often overlooked
aspect of their variability: the rms-flux relation. I will illustrate
the basic idea and its consequences using examples of X-ray variability
from X-ray binaries, Ultra-luminous X-ray sources (ULXs) in nearby
galaxies, and AGN , including Kepler optical monitoring of a Blazar.

Week Commencing 27 April 2015

Management Group

Tuesday 28 April 2015, 1pm, Physics West 229

Astrophysics Seminar - jointly hosted by the ASR and HiROS Group

Wednesday 29 April 2015, 2.30pm, Physics West 117

Speaker: David Van Dyk, Imperial College London

Title: The Unified Statistical Analysis of Populations of Sources:
Advantages of "Shrinkage Estimates" in Astronomy

Astronomical studies often involve samples or populations of sources. The
parameters describing the sources can either be fit to each source in a
separate analysis, or all be fit in a single unified analysis. The latter
strategy allows us to incorporate the population distribution into a
coherent statistical model and exhibits distinct statistical advantages.
In particular, objects with smaller error bars and well-constrained
parameters allow us to estimate the population distribution, which in turn
can be used to better estimate the weakly-constrained parameters
associated with objects with larger error bars.

The fitted values of such weakly-constrained parameters will "shrink
towards" the population mean, and are thus called "shrinkage estimates".
This talk describes both frequentist and Bayesian advantages of shrinkage
estimates and illustrates how they can be used in astronomy. In the first
of two examples we estimate the absolute magnitudes of a SDSS sample of
288 Type Ia Supernovae using shrinkage estimates and illustrate how they
differ from naive estimates.  In the second example, we use photometric
magnitudes of a sample of galactic halo white dwarfs to simultaneously
obtain shrinkage estimates of the stellar ages and an estimate the age of
the halo.

TISI

Thursday 30 April 2015, 1-3pm, Glynn Rooms, CLAD

Speaker: Dr Michael Betancourt from the University of Warwick Department
of Statistics

Title: Scalable Bayesian Inference.

Problems at the frontiers of applied statistics, from physics to ecology
to epidemiology and pharmacology, require not only large data sets but
also the complex statistical models needed to describe the intricacies of
the data. Drawing inferences from these problems necessitates both
scalable and general statistical algorithms and their computationally
efficient yet user-friend implementations. Stan is a user-focused platform
for Bayesian inference that wraps the state-of-the-art Hamiltonian Monte
Carlo sampler with an expressive modeling language that makes it easy to
build and learn from complex models. In this talk I'll review the basics
of Hamiltonian Monte Carlo and Stan before presenting a series of
interactive examples for the audience.

Michael is a significant contributor to the widely used Hamiltonian Monte
Carlo code STAN.

Week Commencing 20 April 2015

BritGrav 15

Monday 20th & Tuesday 21st April 2015, Physics West 117 & Physics West
Library

The 15th British Gravity (BritGrav) Meeting will be held on 20-21 April
2015 at the University of Birmingham, organised by the Gravitational Physics
Group [www.sr.bham.ac.uk].

The meeting covers all areas of gravity, classical and quantum, including
astrophysics, cosmology, mathematical general relativity, gravitational-wave
data analysis and instrumentation. It is intended to bring together the
entire gravitational research community to further collaboration and allow
young researchers to showcase their work.

Public Lecture Gravitational waves - Advances towards detection

Tuesday 21st April 2015, 7:30pm, Poynting Large Lecture Theatre

Speaker: Prof Jim Hough, University of Glasgow

A public lecture on gravitational-wave science by Prof. Jim Hough
(University of Glasgow), organised to coincide with the BritGrav 15 meeting.
All are welcome and refreshments will be provided.

The detection of gravitational-wave signals is still one of the most
challenging areas of experimental physics. And the reward for success will
be considerable in that the information carried by these signals will give
us new insight into the hearts of some of the most violent events in the
Cosmos—from the formation of black holes to aspects of the evolution of the
Universe. A global network of gravitational-wave detectors is now reaching
the final stages of construction, with first data expected in 2015. The
nature of gravitational waves, how the detectors work, and what the data
from the detectors can tell us about the Universe we inhabit, will be
discussed.

HiROS Seminar

Tuesday 21 April 2015, 11am, Nuffield G19

Speaker: Dr Thomas Masseron, University of Cambridge

Title: "Inferring stellar evolution and Milky Way history from stellar
spectra"

Week Commencing 23 March 2015

Management Group

Tuesday 24 March 2015, 1pm, Physics West 229 

Physics Role Model talk

Tuesday 24th March 2015 1.30pm The Barber Institute Lecture Theatre (room G11) 

Speaker: Prof Yvonne Elsworth, University of Birmingham 
Title: A random walk from undergraduate to Poynting Professor 

This talk is being given as the School's contribution to International Women’s
day. 

Refreshments will be served after the talk. 

ASR Group

Wednesday 25 March 2015, 12pm, Physics West Library 

Graham Smith to deliver the science talk 

Astrophysics Seminar - jointly hosted by the ASR and HiROS Group

Wednesday 25 March 2015, 2.30pm Physics West 117 

Speaker: Thomas Kitching, UCL 
Title: New Constraints on Dark Matter Cross-Sections using Weak Lensing 

Abstract -I will present new constraints on the relation between dark matter
cross section, galaxies and x-ray gas, that used archival data from the Hubble
and Chandra X-ray telescopes. 

Astronomy in the City

Wednesday 25 March 2015, 6pm, Poynting Building 

We will have our usual talks, followed by observing on campus and some
opportunities to visit the University Observatory. This month, Dr Will Farr
will be counting the number of Earth-like planets in the Galaxy. Visit the
Astronomy in the City page to book tickets and to find out more. 

TISI

Friday 27 March 2015, 1pm, Glynn Rooms CLAD 

Speaker: Will Farr 
Title: Using an off the shelf sampler -Emcee 
In this session we will introduce the use of off-the-shelf samplers for
tackling statistical inference problems, focusing on the Python package
emcee as our example. We will also look at useful post-processing tricks 
such as checking for convergence of chains. 

Journal Club

Friday 27 March 2015, 2pm, Physics West Library 

Week Commencing 16 March 2015

Astrophysics Seminar - jointly hosted by the ASR and HiROS Group

Wednesday 18 March 2015, 2.30pm Physics West 117

CANCELLED 

Journal Club

Friday 20 March 2015, 2pm, Physics West Library

Physics & Astronomy Research Poster Showcase

Friday 20 March 2015, 3pm-6pm, Bridge Study Lounge
The purpose of this informal poster conference is to bring postgraduate
students from the different research groups together to talk about their
work, in a relaxed environment. Copious amounts of beer, wine, cheese, and
cake are on order to lubricate the conversation.

Please register your interest at http://bit.ly/1DoWySE [www.google.com] by
Wednesday 18 March.

Posters of any size will be accepted (although ideally A1), and it does not
need to be perfectly up-to-date; we want to hear about all of your research!

We hope to see you all on Friday at 1500. Your PG reps

Visitors

Trevor Ponman - Monday 16 March - Wednesday 18 March 2015

Week Commencing 9 March 2015

ASR Group

Wednesday 11 March 2015, 12pm, Physics West Library

Haoyu Wang to deliver the science talk

TISI

Friday 13 March 2015, 1pm, Glynn Room CLAD

Introduction into MCMC & Metropolis-Hastings

Journal Club

Friday 13 March 2015, 2pm, Physics West 115 (Please note change of venue)

Week Commencing 2 March 2015

Management Group

Tuesday 4th March 2015, 1pm, Physics West 229

PhD Applicant Day

Wednesday 4 March 2015, 12pm, Poynting Bridge Study Room

Lunch will be served at 12pm in the Bridge Study Room.

School Colloquium

Wednesday 4 March 2015, 4pm, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Speaker: Prof Bill Murray, University of Warwick

Title: The Higgs at LHC: Run 1 and a perspective on Run 2

Journal Club

Friday 6 March 2015, 2pm, Physics West Library

Week Commencing 23 February 2015

Management Group

Tuesday 24th February 2015, 1pm, Physics West 229

Astrophysics Seminar - jointly hosted by the ASR and HiROS Group

Wednesday 25th February 2015, 2.30pm,Physics West 117 

Speaker: Mark Swinbank, University of Durham

Title: ALMA surveys of high-redshift, star-forming galaxies

I will present some recent results from ALMA cycle 0/1 surveys of distant,
sub-mm galaxies (SMGs). The ALMA data allow us to investigate the properties
of SMGs (redshift distribution, star formation rates, stellar masses and AGN
activity). I will show that these distant (z = 2.5) Ultra-luminous Infrared
Galaxies have star-formation rates of 300-1000 Msol/yr, substantial stellar
masses (M* = 6E10 Msol) and cold molecular gas fractions of 40% - which are
many of the properties expected for the progenitors of today massive spheroids
and elliptical galaxies. Indeed, accounting for the fading of the stellar
populations, I will show that the space density of the descendent of SMGs are
consistent with the entire population of local luminous ellipticals. Finally,
I will show some recent results from ALMA cycle 1 where we have obtained
higher resolution (0.3arcsec) maps of a sub-sample of bright SMGs.

Astronomy in the City

Wednesday 25th February 2015, 6pm Poynting Building

This month Simon, one of our PhD students, will talk about observing black
holes.

What do we do after massive stars explode as brilliant supernovae, and then
die as black holes,

vanishing from traditional telescopes? With a gravitational-wave
observatory, the story is just beginning...
Join us for this exciting talk as well as our popular regulars:

observatory trips, observing on campus, March's night sky, and "Ask the
expert".

Doors open at 5:30pm, with talks/panel at 6-7pm; observing starts shortly
thereafter.

Journal Club

Friday 27th February 2015, 3pm, Physics West Library (Please note the change
of time)

Week Commencing 9 February 2015

Management Group

Tuesday 10th February 2015, 1pm, Physics West 229

Astrophysics Seminar - jointly hosted by the ASR and HiROS Group

Wednesday 11th February 2015, 2.30pm, Nuffield G13

Speaker: Pavel Ivanov, Lebedev Physical Institute

Title: The dynamics of supermassive binary black hole immersed in an
accretion disc on a retrograde orbit

Vice-Chancellor's Open Forum

Wednesday 11th February 2015 12.30pm - 1.30pm Bramall Music Building, Elgar
Concert Hall

Answering the big questions - Professor Sir David Eastwood in conversation
with the BBC's Education Correspondent Sean Coughlan.

Registration is not required. All staff are encouraged to attend, and to
take advantage of this opportunity to discuss the key topics affecting our
sector and our university.

Journal Club

Friday 13th February 2015, 2pm, Physics West Library

Visitors

Wednesday 11th - Friday 13th February 2015

Dr Alberto Sesana will be visiting the group this week.

Week Commencing 19 January 2015

HiROS Seminar


Monday 19 January 2015, 1pm, Physics West 106

Speaker: Mausumi Dikpati

Management Group

Tuesday 20 January 2015, 1pm, Physics West 229

Visitors

Tuesday 20 January 2015

Dr Sean Dougherty - Director of the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory
(DRAO) will be visiting Ian Stevens and Diane Brookes on Tuesday Jan 20th
2015.

School Colloquium

Wednesday 21 January 2015, 4pm, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Speaker: Prof Edmund Copeland, University of Nottingham

Title: Our Universe: so simple yet so much we don't understand

Journal Club

Friday 23 January 2014, 2pm, Physics West Library

Week Commencing 12 January 2015

Management Group

Tuesday 13 January 2015, 1pm, Physics West 229

ASR Group

Wednesday 14 January 2015, 12pm Physics West Library

Ben Bradnick to deliver the science talk

Astrophysics Seminar - jointly hosted by the ASR Group and HiROS Group

Wednesday 14 January 2015, 2.30pm, Physics West 117

Speaker: Don Pollaco, Warwick University

Title: Earth 2 and the search for habitable zone planets

The last decade has seen immense worldwide activity in the discovery and
characterisation of extrasolar planets. Starting from the radial velocity
surveys, the UK's world leading WASP project and the CoRoT and Kepler space
missions, we will review the current state of knowledge emphasising our
understanding of habitable zone planets. We will look forward to upcoming
experiments and in particular PLATO that will be transformational to our
knowledge of rocky planets in the habitable zones of solar type stars.

New Staff

Monday 12 January 2015

Conor Mow-Lowry starts work with the group today.

Week Commencing 15 December 2014

Management Group

Tuesday 16 December 2014, 1pm, Physics West 229

Astrophysics Seminar - jointly hosted by the ASR Group and HiROS Group

Wednesday 17 December 2014, 2.30pm, Physics West 117

Speaker: Selma De Mink, Amsterdam

Title: TBC

Journal Club / arXiv

Friday 19 December 2014, 4pm Physics West Library

Visitors

Monday 15 December 2014 - Alexis Finoguenou

Alexis will be visiting Graham Smith on Monday 15th though to Thursday 18th
Dec 2014

Week Commencing 8 December 2014

Management Group

Tuesday 9 December 2014, 1pm, Physics West 229

HiROS Group Meeting

Monday 8 December 2014, 10am Physics West 106

Warwick/Birmingham Meeting

Monday 8 December 2014, 1pm Physics West 115

ASR Group

Wednesday 10 December 2014, 12pm Physics West 106 (Please note change of
venue)

Ilya Mandel to deliver the science talk

Astrophysics Seminar - jointly hosted by the ASR Group and HiROS Group

Wednesday 10 December 2014, 2.30pm, Physics West 117

Speaker: Jim Geach, University of Hertfordshire

Title: Galaxy-scale feedback in massive galaxies without AGN

In traditional models of galaxy evolution, feedback associated with an
active galactic nucleus (AGN) have been invoked as the standard channel to
regulate stellar mass growth at the massive end of the mass function. We
have been investigating a sample of massive, compact galaxies that exhibit
ultra-fast gas outflows (up to 2500 km/s) with no evidence of significant
AGN activity.

Recently we have shown that in at least one of these galaxies, a significant
amount of molecular gas is being driven out at speeds of up to 1000 km/s. I
will discuss how this sample demonstrates that stellar feedback can be an
effective channel for curtailing stellar mass growth in massive galaxies,
and in particular the role of stellar radiation pressure as a mechanism for
launching galaxy scale super winds from high density star forming regions.

Journal Club / arXiv

Friday 12 December 2014, 4pm Physics West Library

Visitors

Tuesday 9 December 2014 - Trevor Ponman

Trevor will be back from Tuesday through to Friday this week.

Publications

Gravitational-wave sensitivity curves - C J Moore, R H Cole & C P L Berry

Classical & Quantum Gravity; 32(1):015014; 2015

doi:10.1088/0264-9381/32/1/015014

Week Commencing 1 December 2014

Management Group

Tuesday 2 December 2014, 1pm, Physics West 229

School Colloquium

Wednesday 3 December 2014, 4pm Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Speaker: Prof Eugene Gregoryanz, SUPA Centre for Science at Extreme
Conditions, University of Edinburgh

Title: What a Diamond Anvil Cell Can Do.

Astronomy in the City

Wednesday 3 December 2014, 6pm, Poynting Building

Come along and join in an (early!) festive version of Astronomy in the
City. Info/tickets:  Astronomy in the City

Journal Club / arXiv

Friday 5th December 2014, 4pm Physics West Library

Visitors

Tuesday 2 December 2014 - Nobuhiro Okabe

Nobuhiro Okabe will be visiting the Extragalactic Astrophysics Group for
three weeks starting 2nd December, working mainly with Graham Smith, Sarah
Mulroy, and Felicia Ziparo. Nobuhiro is based at the Kavli Institute for
the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (IPMU) in Japan.  He is an
expert in weak gravitational lensing.

Thursday 4 December 2014 - Alberto Sesana

Alberto Sesana will be visiting the group on Thursday 4th Dec until Friday
5th.

Message from Trevor Ponman

Postcard from Cornwall With apologies for the two month delay, I would like to thank everyone who signed my farewell card, or contributed to the collection. I didn't know about the latter, since Alberto was planning to surprise me with a present from the proceeds, before deciding (wisely) that this was not the best idea. We've been down in deepest Cornwall (near Penzance) for 6 weeks now and, having inherited a nice but overgrown garden, my plan is to buy a rather special tree (species still TBD) and some other plants to remind me of your generosity. The pace of life is different down here, which is one of the attractions, but we are progressively turning the house from a warehouse full of boxes into a home, and I think we will be happy. For those of you who have never seen Mounts Bay, I can recommend it as one of the most beautiful places in the country to watch the sun set. I'll continue to visit every few weeks for at least the next year or so, and so will bump into many of you from time to time. All the very best for the future. Trevor

Week Commencing 24 November 2014

HiROS Astro Teaching Meeting - Bill Chaplin

Monday 24th November 2014, 1pm, Physics West 106

Astrophysics Seminar - jointly hosted by the ASR Group and HiROS Group

Wednesday 26th November 2014, 2.30pm, Physics West 117

Speaker: Nial Tanvir, University of Leicester

Title: Merging neutron stars, gravitational waves and the origin of the
heavy chemical elements

Mergers of compact binaries involving neutron stars lie at the intersection
of several key problems in astrophysics. They are widely thought to lead to
short-duration gamma-ray bursts; to be an important production site for the
nucleosynthesis of r-process heavy elements; and to emit strong
gravitational wave (GW) signals that are the most promising for detection by
the next "advanced" generation of detectors. Recently, the first evidence
for kilonova emission, predicted to be produced by the radioactive decay of
species created during such a merger, was found, associated with sGRB
130603B. I will review this discovery together with other observational
constraints on the nature of sGRBs, and consider the prospects for kilonovae
as electromagnetic signatures of GW events.

Information Theory for Physicists - Short Lecture Course

Thursday 27th November 2014, 2pm, Physics West Library

Dr Christopher Berry will lead the first of three short lecture courses.
Lecture 1: Probabilities, inference and information content - An
introduction to communications theory, including revision of how to use
probabilities (in a Bayesian way) to encode our state of knowledge. An
explanation of the Shannon information content.

Journal Club / arXiv

Friday 28th November 2014, 4pm, Physics West Library

Week Commencing 17 November 2014

GW Q&A Session

Wednesday 19th November 2014, 12pm, Physics West Library

Following up on some discussions within the gravitational-wave group, I'd
like to offer a Q&A session on "anything * you wanted to know about the
astrophysics of gravitational-wave sources but were afraid to ask" at noon
on November 19. This is very much meant to be open to all of ASR and HiROS,
so please come along if the topic interests you, even if this is not
something you normally work on.

Although I am certainly open to questions on the spot, I would be very
grateful if you could e-mail me your questions in advance so I could plan a
more coherent discussion around the topics of interest. Andreas kindly
agreed to serve as moderator, so he will keep me from veering off topic too
much. I Mandel
* For this session, let's focus on the astrophysics of LIGO sources.

If the format works, we can have additional sessions on low-frequency
sources, data analysis, and detectors, and perhaps other topics if people
find these useful.

School Colloquium

Wednesday 19th November 2014, 4pm Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Speaker: Dr Caroline Terquem, University of Oxford

Title: On the dynamics of extrasolar planets on inclined orbits

Journal Club / arXiv

Friday 21st November 2014, 4pm Physics West 115

Week Commencing 10 November 2014

ASR Group

Wednesday 12th November 2014, 12pm, Physics West Library

Science talk by Walter Del Pozzo

Astrophysics Seminar - jointly hosted by the ASR Group and HiROS Group

Wednesday 12th November 2014, 2.30pm, Physics West 117

Speaker: Will Percival, Portsmouth University

Title: Cosmological Measurements from Galaxy Clustering

Large surveys of the angular positions and redshifts of galaxies provide a
wealth of cosmological information about the late-time Universe and its
accelerating expansion. In thisseminar I will review the physical mechanisms
that encode this information in the observed clustering of galaxies, and
present recent results from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS).
I will then look ahead to future surveys including the Dark Energy Spectroscopic
Instrument (DESI) and the ESA Euclid satellite mission, showing how they will
revolutionise our understanding of cosmic acceleration.

Astronomy in the City

Wednesday 12th November 2014, 6pm, Poynting Building

Journal Club / arXiv

Friday 14th November 2014, 4pm Physics West Library

Jim Barrett to lead the discussion on [labs.adsabs.harvard.edu]

Week Commencing 20 October 2014

Special HiROS Seminar

Monday 27th October 2014, 12pm, Physics West 106

Speaker: Dr Guy Davies, University of Birmingham

Title: Stellar seismology: The solar-stellar connection

The study of stellar structure and evolution provides one of the fundamental
building blocks of astrophysics and some of the most powerful observational
constraints on these theories are provided by helio and asteroseismology.
Inevitably, the well characterised Sun is an anchor and calibrator to any
theory of stellar evolution. The Sun drives our understanding of the stars,
and it is sensible to ask what the stars can tell us about the Sun. Here,
asteroseismology with the Kepler Space Telescope is providing precise
characterisation of individual stars and ensembles of stars. In addition to
characterising interesting systems, such as exoplanet hosts, asteroseismic
results may allow significant progress on the “grand problems” of solar
physics, particularly related to understanding the solar 22-year magnetic
cycle.

In this talk I will review the current status of the Sun-as-a-star. We will
see that questions remain about the rotation of the deep solar interior, the
changing of the solar magnetic field, and the understanding of the solar
dynamo and space weather. I will show how we can precisely characterise
other Sun-like stars and how we are pushing the boundaries of our
understanding by considering ensembles of stars. I will finish by
speculating how the field of stellar seismology will change with the advent
of the SONG, BiSON Mini, TESS and PLATO observatories.

ASR Group

Wednesday 29th Oct 2014, 12pm, Physics West Library

Dr Ian Stevens will provide an SKA update and Dr Walter Del Pozzo will
deliver the science talk

Astrophysics Seminar - jointly hosted by the ASR Group and HiROS Group

Wednesday 29th Oct 2014, 2.30pm, Physics West 117

Speaker: Don Kurtz, Central Lancashire

Title: Asteroseismology, the new Keplerian Revolution

In 1926 in the opening paragraph of his now-classic book, The Internal
Constitution of the Stars, Sir Arthur Eddington lamented, “What appliance
can pierce through the outer layers of a star and test the conditions
within?” While he considered theory to be the proper answer to that
question, there is now an observational answer: asteroseismology.

We are in a time of a significant advance in our understanding of stellar
astrophysics with data from the Kepler Mission.  From its rich 4-year data
set nearly 4000 exoplanet candidates have been discovered – the majority of
all known. Kepler has also improved our ability to see pulsations and
x variability in stars by 100 to 1000 times compared
with ground-based telescopes, allowing us to probe stars using
asteroseismology. We are seeing as never before: heartbeat stars, novel
eclipsing stars, spots, flares and magnetic cycles as in our own Sun.
Astrophysics that used to be theoretical is now also observational:

internal stellar rotation from core to surface; gravitational lensing in
eclipsing binary stars; Doppler boosting; multiple pulsation axes; period
doubling; tidal excitation in highly eccentric binary stars.

Kepler data for solar-like stars are now comparable to data for the Sun seen
as a star, giving us masses, radii and ages for hundreds of single stars,
allowing determination of their orbiting planets’ sizes, and giving new
constraints on stellar evolution theory. It is now even possible to see into
the cores of red giants and observe which stars are hydrogen shell-burning
and which also are helium-core burning. This talk will introduce the
concepts of asteroseismology and show a selection of exciting observational
results from the Kepler mission (with emphasis on work that has not been
done at Birmingham!).

Jourmal Club / arXiv

Friday 31st October, 4pm, PW Library

Week Commencing 20 October 2014

Special HiROS Seminar

Monday 20th October, 2pm, Physics West 106

Speaker: Dr Brice-Olivier Demory, Cambridge University

Title: Exoplanets - The quest for other worlds

The first exoplanet orbiting a main sequence star was discovered in 1995.
Twenty years later, more than a thousand other planets have been found and
statistical patterns regarding their properties are starting to emerge.
Remarkably, we have been able to probe the atmospheres of several of these
exoplanets, which provide insights about their chemical composition and
climate patterns. Within the coming 3 years, one ESA space mission
dedicated to exoplanets will be launched and two ambitious UK-led
ground-based instruments will be installed. The future of exoplanet science
in the UK has never been so encouraging. I will start by discussing recent
results in exoplanet science. Iwill then detail the synergies between the
future instruments/facilities and show how they fit in an international
framework. I will finally discuss the next pathways to answer one of the
most fascinating questions in astronomy: "are we alone?"

Special Astrophysics Seminar

Tuesday 21 October 2014, 11am, Physics West Library

Speaker: Chris Moore, PhD Student Cambridge University

Title: Gaussian processes to model uncertainties in gravitational waveforms

Chris Moore, a PhD student from Cambridge, will be visiting for the first
half of this week. He'll be giving a talk on using Gaussian processes to
model uncertainties in gravitational-waveforms. This will be primarily of
interest to people who do gravitational-wave data analysis; however,
Gaussian processes are an extremely useful means of fitting non-parametric
models (in a fully Bayesian way), and so might be of interest to a wider
audience.

College of Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Conference

Wednesday 22 October 2014, 9am until 5pm, Bramall Music Building, followed
by drinks reception

The 2014 conference is designed to celebrate the breadth of College
research excellence and increase cross-college awareness of EPS research
strengths and encourage cross-disciplinary networks.

For more information and to register, please visit the event page online
here. 

School Colloquium

Wednesday 22 October 2014, 4pm, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Speaker: Prof Constantin C Coussios, Statutory Chair of Biomedical
Engineering, University of Oxford

Title: Shaken and Stirred: How sound and bubbles can cure our troubles.

Journal Club / arXiv

Friday 24th October 2014, 4pm, Physics West 115

In this week's journal club, Jessica Democles will be leading a discussion
around Chapter 5 of [ned.ipac.caltech.edu] , dealing with mechanisms of
X-ray emission from galaxy clusters.

Week Commencing 13 October 2014

ASR Group

Wednesday 15th Oct 2014, 12pm, Physics West Library

Astrophysics Seminar - jointly hosted by the ASR Group and HiROS Group

Wednesday 15th Oct 2014, 2.30pm, Nuffield G13

Speaker: Maarten Van De Meent, Southampton

Title: TBC

Vice-Chancellors Open Forum

Thursday 16 October 2014, 12.30-1.30pm, Bramhall Music Building, Elgar
Concert Hall

Join the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir David Eastwood, for his first staff
address of the new academic year. He will be using this opportunity to
look back at our progress over the last five years and to launch the
consultation process for the new Strategic Framework.

Journal Club / arXiv

Friday 17th October, 4pm, PW Library

Publications / Articles

Dr C Berry was interviewed for (a small part of) an article in Symmetry
Magazine on Advanced LIGO [www.symmetrymagazine.org]

Week Commencing 6 October 2014

HiROS Seminar

Monday 6th October 2014, 2pm, Physics West 106

Speaker: Dr Aldo Serenelli Institute of Space Sciences, Bellaterra, Spain

Title: The era of precision stellar astrophysics

Observational stellar astronomy has been revolutionized in the last few
years with the development of large-scale spectroscopic and photometric
surveys and the generalization of techniques such as asteroseismology
hitherto restricted to very limited numbers of stars. This revolution has
not been accompanied with comparable efforts in the development of stellar
models. Fundamental questions, even for the best studied star, remain
unanswered.

In this context I will present some examples, from the Sun to stellar
populations, that show recent successes and limitations of the current
generation of stellar models and will conclude with a personal perspective
of the way ahead.

IMPACT Conference

Wednesday 8th October 2014, 9.45am Lecture Theatre 2 Sport & Exercise
Science Building Y14

School Colloquium

Wednesday 8th October 2014, 4pm Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Speaker: Professor Steve Roberts, University of Oxford

Title: Fusion Power - Materials Challenges

Astronomy in the City

Wednesday 8th October 2014, 6pm, Poynting Building

Week Commencing 22 September 2014

Big Waves

Monday 22 - Friday 26 September 2014, 9.30 - 5.30pm, PW Library/PW 115

Big waves will take place for the duration of this week in PW Library from
Monday through until Wednesday and PW 115 for the remainder of the week.

School Committee Meeting

Monday 22 September 2014, 2pm, Poynting Large Lecture Theatre

This is for all staff in the School.

Visitors

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Dr Chris Haines a Post Doc from the University of Chile will be visiting us
on Wednesday 24 September 2014.

Week Commencing 28 July 2014

HiROS Red Giants Peak Bagging Workshop

Monday 28 July – Friday 1 August 2014, Physics West 106

HiROS Seminar

Friday 1 August 2014, 2pm, Physics West Library

Speaker: Luca Casagrande, Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics,
Australian National University

Title: Asteroseismology for Galactic Archaeology: bridging two fields

Publications

"Energy-Dependent Evolution in IC10 X-1: Hard Evidence for an Extended
Corona and Implications"
Barnard, R.... Stevens, I.R. et al, ApJ, in press Astro-ph:
http://arxiv.org/abs/1407.5650 [arxiv.org] 

Note: IC10 X-1 is a nearby stellar mass black-hole (and quite a large one)
orbiting a massive Wolf-Rayet star - this system will have an interesting
future and may well interest subsequent generations of grav. wave
astronomers (and possibly current ones too).

Week Commencing 21 July 2014

Astro in the City nights recognised by Science & Technology Facilities Council award

Maggie Lieu was recently awarded one of the Science & Technology Facilities
Council (STFC) small grants for public engagement to support the
continuation of the successful Astronomy in the City nights. The award
totalled £1,852.

Publications

Parameter estimation on compact binary coalescences with abruptly
terminating gravitational waveforms Class. Quantum Grav. 31 (2014) 155005 -
Mandel, Berry, Ohme, Fairhurst, Farr
http://stacks.iop.org/0264-9381/31/155005 

Week Commencing 14 July 2014

ASR Group

Wednesday 16 July 2014, 12pm, Physics West Library

EPS Summer Social

Wednesday 16 July 2014, 2-4pm, Marquee Chancellors Court

To help with catering, please complete the online form to register your attendance

Visitors

Conor Mow-Lowry will be visiting the group from Monday 14th until Wednesday
16th July 2014

Week Commencing 30 June 2014

GraWIToN Supervisor Board Meeting


Thursday 3rd July 2014, 9.30am, Physics West Library (for information)

EPS College Assembly

Tuesday 8th July 2014, 13.30pm in the Haworth Building, room 203

Week Commencing 16 June 2014

ASR Group

Wednesday 18th June 2014, 12pm, Physics West Library

Astrophysics & Space Research Seminar

Wednesday 18th June 2014, 16.00pm, Physics West 106

Speaker: Christian Graef, Glasgow

Title: The Glasgow speed meter proof-of-principle experiment

Journal Club

Friday 20th June 2014, 3pm, Physics West Library

Visitors

Alberto Sesana will be visiting the group on Thursday 19th June
until Friday 20th June 2014.

Week Commencing 9 June 2014

ASR Group

Wednesday 18th June 2014, 12pm, Physics West Library

Astrophysics & Space Research Seminar

Wednesday 11th June 2014, 16.00pm, Watson Lecture Theatre C G24
(Please note time change)

Speaker: Ian Shipsey, Purdue and Oxford

Title: The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope

Journal Club

Friday 13th June 2014, 3pm, Physics West Library

Publications

Double Compact Objects III: Gravitational Wave Detection Rates: M.Dominik,
E.Berti, R.O'Shaughnessy, I.Mandel, K.Belczynski, C.Fryer, T.Bulik,
F.Pannarale
http://arxiv.org/abs/1405.7016

Week Commencing 19 May 2014

ASR Group

Wednesday 21st May 2014, 12pm, Physics West Library

Walter Del Pozzo to give the talk

Astrophysics & Space Research Seminar

Wednesday 21st May 2014, 2.30pm, Physics West 117

Speaker: Laura Cadonati (usually at the University of Massachusetts,
currently on a sabbatical in Cardiff)

Title: Solar Neutrino Detection with Borexino

Laura will be at Birmingham from 1pm on Tuesday 20th until 2 pm on Thursday
22nd

School Colloquium

Wednesday 21st May 2014, 4pm, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Speaker: Professor Mike Charlton, Swansea University

Title: Antihydrogen trapping and physics

Journal Club

Friday 23rd May 2014, 3pm, Physics West Library

IOP 3 Minute Wonder Final Update - Michaela Nelson

I attended the final of the competition last Thursday evening. There were 14
finalists and we all had three minutes to talk about our research using only
one presentation slide or one video and as many props as we wanted.  The
final took place in the Royal Institution, in the theatre were the Christmas
lectures are given every year, behind Michael Faradays desk!

The talks were engaging and diverse ranging from a rap on dark matter to 
time travelling telescopes and acoustic damage detection on airplanes and
although I didn't win I was really pleased with how I  did and I got some
very positive feedback from the Judges. Overall it was a great experience
and I'd really encourage all our young researchers to have a go next time
this (or similar ) competitions are run.
Wednesday 14th May 2014, 4pm, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Week Commencing 12 May 2014

ASR Group

Wednesday 14th May 2014, 12pm, Physics West Library

School Colloquium

Wednesday 14th May 2014, 4pm, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Speaker: Professor Terence Rudolph, Imperial College

Title: Realism and the epistemic View of Quantum States

Journal Club

Friday 16th May 2014, 3pm, Physics West Library

Visitors

Archisman Ghosh, who is a postdoctoral fellow from the International Centre
of Theoretical Sciences, Bangalore, will be visiting the group from Thursday
8 May 2014, for the duration of 1 month

Week Commencing 28 April 2014

ASR Group

Wednesday 30th April 2014, 12pm, Physics West Library

Astrophysics & Space Research Seminar

Wednesday 30th April 2014, 2.30pm, Physics West 103

Matthew Pieri, Portsmouth

Title: In the Deep, Dark Lyman-alpha Forest: Exploring Dark Energy and Galaxy
       Formation using the Intergalactic Medium

I will discuss probes of the intergalactic medium measuring both the largest
and smallest scale effects in the extragalactic universe. The Lyman-alpha
forest along the line-of-sight to background quasars is measured providing a
new kind of survey. The BOSS survey (as part of SDSS-III) has probed more
than 60,000 Gigaparsecs in path length and is still growing. We have made the
first measurements of baryon acoustic oscillations on 150 Megaparsec scales
to probe the expansion of the universe, and have seen evidence of clumping in
regions around galaxies on 3 0 parsec scales. I will discuss the future of
such surveys and the key role the UK will play as part of a future WEAVE
survey on the WHT.

School Committee Meeting

Wednesday 30th April 2014, 2pm in Physics West Lecture Theatre – Room 117

Journal Club

Friday 2nd May 2014, 3pm, Physics West Library

Publications

Parameter estimation on compact binary coalescences with abruptly terminating
gravitational waveforms Ilya Mandel, Christopher P L Berry, Frank Ohme,
Stephen Fairhurst, Will M Farr
http://arxiv.org/abs/1404.2382
The First Two Years of Electromagnetic Follow-Up with Advanced LIGO and Virgo
L. Singer et al.
http://arxiv.org/abs/1404.5623

Additional News>

Michaela Nelson has been awarded a grant of £1594 from the Royal Society to
do a project with year 6 pupils at Perryfields Primary School. The project
will look at electromagnetism and power generation and will hopefully finish
with a Small wind turbine sited in a partic ularly windy part of the
school grounds.

The final of the IOP's 3 minute wonder competition is taking place on 15th May.
I was a runner up in the regional heats back in November and I was under the
impression that only the winners went through to the finals but I've been
informed that the runners up also get a plac e in the final so I'll be
in London on the 15th talking about dark energy and gravity.

Michaela Nelson

Week Commencing 7 April 2014

Special Astrophysics & Space Research Seminar

Monday 7 April 2014, 3pm, Physics West 103

Speaker: Dr M Balogh, University of Waterloo (visiting until Tuesday 8
April 2014)

Title: What satellite galaxy evolution tells us about the baryon cycle of
galaxies

Abstract:

The inefficiency of galaxy formation in a cosmological context remains an
unexplained mystery.  There is little doubt that it is a consequence of
the evolution in gas accretion rates, together with energetic "feedback"
phenomena like stellar winds, supernova explosions, and supermassive
black hole-powered accretion. Despite the central importance of this gas
physics, most observational constraints are indirect, and we rely on
comparison with "kitchen-sink" models to tell us whether or not our
understanding of galaxy evolution is on the right track.  One place where
this comparison repeatedly fails is the prediction of the properties of
"satellite" galaxies, and this failure may be indicative of a fundamental
flaw in our understanding of how baryons cycle in and out of galaxies.  I
will present a review of this problem and show what we have learned from
our new results on galaxy groups and clusters at z~1.

VC Review of Physics and Astronomy

15/16 April 2014

Just a reminder that the Panel will be visiting on 15/16 April and that,
where possible, staff and some students may be called to meetings. I
appreciate that people will be attending conferences and other meetings,
but otherwise it would be useful if staff were generally available at
this time.

Professor Andy Schofield

Week Commencing 31 March 2014

Special Astrophysics & Space Research Seminar

Monday 31 March 2014, 4pm, Physics West Library

Speaker: Dr Haixing Miao, Marie Curie Fellow, Birmingham

Title: Hunting down noises in gravitational-wave detectors

Abstract: Laser interferometric gravitational-wave (GW) detectors are
among the most sensitive instruments that humans have ever built, in
order to measure tiny ripples of spacetime generated by distant yet
energetic astrophysical objects. Achieving the desired sensitivity is not
just a legend about implementing the state-of-the-art technology, but
more about strenuous efforts in understanding and hunting down noises of
both classical and quantum origins. In this talk, I shall give you a tour
of major noises in GW detectors, and remark on some attempts by my
colleagues and me in reducing them. Close to the end of the talk, I will
also mention one interesting spin off the use of quantum-limited GW
detectors as probes for quantum behaviours of macroscopic objects, which
provides us a unique opportunity to test quantum mechanics in a totally
new regime.

ASR Group

Wednesday 2 April 2014, 12pm, Physics West 115

Astrophysics & Space Research Seminar

Wednesday 2 April 2014, 2.30pm, Nuffield G13

Speaker: Melvyn Davies, Lund Sweden

Title: Exoplanets and compact binaries: the effect of crowded
environments

EPS College Assembly

Thursday 3 April 2014, 1pm Gisbert Kapp Building NG15

Assembly line-up

 *  Developing our Future Landscape - College Priorities (Professor
    Richard A Williams)
 *  Reflections of College Professional Services (Clare McCauley)
 *  Research focus: `Gravitational Waves: A New Observational Window on
    the Universe' (Professor Alberto Vecchio)

Visitors

Habib Khosroshahi will be visiting the group on Monday 31 March until
Wednesday 2 April 2014. 

Week Commencing 24 March 2014

Astrophysics & Space Research Seminar

Monday 24 March 2014, 3pm, Physics West Library

Speaker: Dr Ewald Punchwein IoA Cambridge University             

Title: Baryonic and modified gravity effects on cosmic structure
formation

Abstract:

Cosmological surveys are based on luminous objects, while cosmological
models most easily predict the statistics of the dark matter
distribution. Hydrodynamical simulations of cosmic structure formation
are the tool of choice for connecting these two realms.

I will present simulation studies of many of those quantities and
relations that are most relevant in this context, including the effects
of AGN feedback on galaxy cluster scaling relations and the matter power
spectrum, which have direct implications for upcoming X-ray and weak
lensing surveys. I will also discuss numerical predictions of the
Lyman-alpha forest, their uncertainties and how they can be used to
constrain cosmology. For the first time we perform such cosmological
hydrodynamical simulations not only within the framework of standard
general relativity theory, but also for screened modified gravity models
which pose a viable alternative to dark energy

ASR Group - Rescheduled

Just a reminder that this week's ASR Group has been cancelled and
rescheduled for Wednesday 2 April 2014, 12pm, Physics West 115

Astronomy in the City - featuring BICEP2: the view from Birmingham

Wednesday 26 March 2014, 6pm, Poynting Building

Tickets are now available for the third night of Astronomy in the City,
via the observatory web-site:
www.sr.bham.ac.uk/observatory/astronomyinthecity.php

All are welcome! Contact Graham Smith with any questions.

gps@star.sr.bham.ac.uk, +44 (0)7771 958939, +44 (0)121 414 4600

Programme:

6:00pm Welcome to the University of Birmingham Observatory
6:05pm Exploring the night sky in April with Callum Bellhouse
6:20pm BICEP2 and inflation - the view from Birmingham (Smith and Farr)
6:40pm Ask the experts panel discussion (Chair: Felicia Ziparo)
7:00pm Break for Refreshments
7:15pm Observing begins: Chancellors Court, Grubb, Observatory

Stars & Planets

Friday 28 March 2014, 1pm, Physics West 229

Promotions

I am delighted to announce that Dr Nicola Wilkin and Dr Ilya Mandel have
both been promoted to Senior Lecturer with effect from Oct 2014. I am
sure you all join me in congratulating Nicola and Ilya in these very
well-deserved promotions. Andy Schofield

Publicationa

s
Trevor Ponman - I have a paper which has recently appeared in MNRAS,
please see
http://ukads.nottingham.ac.uk/abs/2014MNRAS.439..102S

Week Commencing 17 March 2014

Special Astrophysics Seminar

Monday 17 March 2014, 3pm, Physics West Library

Adam Muzzin, Leiden Observatory

Title: How to Build a Big Galaxy

Abstract

The most massive galaxies in the universe are rare, but because of this,
their formation history imposes some of the strongest constraints on our
models of galaxy formation.  In the local universe, massive galaxies like
M87 appear relatively dull, with elliptical morphologies, old stars, and
little ongoing star formation.  For decades, archeological studies
predicted that most of the action during these galaxies' formation must
have occurred at much higher redshift (z > 2).  With the first deep and
wide field surveys of the near infrared sky coming online, we can now
directly observe the progenitors of local massive galaxies as they are
forming.

I will show state-of-the-art observations of this process up to z ~ 4,
where we are finding that the early stages of massive galaxy formation
are in fact extremely dynamic, with huge bursts of dust-obscured star
formation, ubiquitous AGN activity, and significant structural
transformations.  I will also discuss what we expect to learn up to z ~
6-7 in the coming years from ongoing deep/wide surveys such as
UltraVISTA, and what we expect to learn in the JWST era, when we may be
able to observe the process of massive galaxy formation right out to its
initial stages at z ~ 10-20.

School Colloquium

Wednesday 19 March 2014, 4pm, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Prof Stephen Barnett, University of Glasgow

Title:  The Enigma of Optical Momentum

Astronomy in the City

Wednesday 26 March 2014, 6pm, Poynting Building

Tickets are now available for the third night of Astronomy in the City,
via the observatory web-site:
http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/observatory

Publications

Dent & Veitch, Optimizing gravitational-wave searches for a population of
coalescing binaries: Intrinsic parameters, arXiv:1311.7174,
http://inspirehep.net/record/1266696
Agathos et al, TIGER: A data analysis pipeline for testing the
strong-field dynamics of general relativity with gravitational wave
signals from coalescing compact binaries, arXiv:1311.0420,
http://inspirehep.net/record/1263178

Week Commencing 10 March 2014

AMG Weekly Management Meeting

Tuesday 11 March 2014, 1pm, Physics West 229

ASR Group

Wednesday 12 March 2014, 12pm, Physics West 115

Visitors

Michael Purrer will be visiting the group from Monday 10 March through to
the 12th March 2014

Publications

Amplitude variability in satellite photometry of the non-radially
pulsating O9.5V star zeta Oph by Howarth, Stevens et al. MNRAS, in press
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2014arXiv1402.6551H
"Sensitivity of intracavity filtering schemes for detecting gravitational
waves" by Mengyao Wang, Haixing Miao, Andreas Freise, and Yanbei Chen has
been accepted for publication as a Regular Article in Physical Review D.
The Formation and Gravitational-Wave Detection of Massive Stellar
Black-Hole Binaries Krzysztof Belczynski, Alessandra Buonanno, Matteo
Cantiello, Chris L. Fryer, Daniel E. Holz, Ilya Mandel, M. Coleman
Miller, Marek Walczak  
http://arxiv.org/abs/1403.0677
Comparison of gravitational wave detector network sky localization
approximations K. Grover, S. Fairhurst, B.F. Farr, I. Mandel, C.
Rodriguez, T. Sidery, and A. Vecchio Phys. Rev. D 89, 042004 has been
published in PRD and had one of its plots chosen for the Kaleidoscope
feature: 
http://journals.aps.org/prd/kaleidoscope/prd/89/4/042004

Week Commencing 3 March 2014

AMG Weekly Management Meeting

Tuesday 4 March 2014, 1pm, Physics West 229

Post Graduate Admissions Day

Wednesday 5 March 2014, 12pm, Poynting Bridge Study Room

The post graduate admissions day will commence with lunch in the Bridge
Study Room.  Coffee will be available at 2pm in the second floor coffee
lounge

School Colloquium

Wednesday 5 March 2014, 4pm, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Professor Gerry Gilmore, University of Cambridge

Title: Mapping the Milky Way: Gaia and Gaia-ESO

EPS Distinguished Lecture Series

Wednesday 5th March 2014, 6pm Lecture Theatre 117, Physics West

Drinks reception to follow at 7.30pm

Professor Sir Martin Sweeting, OBE FRS FREng, Executive Chairman of
Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd and Director of the Surrey Space Centre
Title: Keeping Satellites in Space - Where Science and Engineering Meet

If you wish to attend this event please complete the on-line registration
form:
http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/eps/distinguished

Stars & Planets

Thursday 6th March 2014, 12pm, Physics West 229

Main topic for discussion - Kepler, searches for transits around red
giants

Publications

Utility of Galaxy Catalogs for Following up Gravitational Waves from
Binary Neutron Star Mergers with Wide-Field Telescopes

By Chad Hanna, Ilya Mandel, Will Vousden , has been published in the
Astrophysical Journal
http://stacks.iop.org/0004-637X/784/8
You may enjoy reading this new National Geographic article on black
holes:
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2014/03/black-holes/finkel-text
Some of you may have met the author, Mike Finkel, at the GR20 meeting in
Warsaw last summer, where he came to find out more about the subject.  He
and I stayed in touch since, and you'll see that the University of
Birmingham is mentioned at the very end of the piece (and, apparently, in
the print version as well, though I haven't seen it) as one of the
sources. I Mandel

Week Commencing 24 February 2014

Weekly AMG Meeting

Tuesday 25 February 2014, 1pm, Physics West 229

Additional Astrophysics & Space Research Seminar

Monday 24 February 2014, 3pm Physics West Library

The speaker is Conor Mow-Lowry who currently works at the Albert Einstein
Institute, to construct a prototype interferometer with the aim of
beating the Standard Quantum Limit of interferometry and to test new
technologies for future gravitational wave detectors.

ASR Group

Wednesday 26 February 2014, 12pm, Physics West 115

Carl-Johan Haster to give the talk

Title: TBC

Astrophysics & Space Research Seminar

Wednesday 26 February 2014, 2.30pm, Nuffield G13

Nate Bastian, Liverpool John Moores

Title: Constraining globular clusters formation through studies of young
massive star clusters

Astronomy in the City

Wednesday 26 February 2014, 6pm, Poynting Building

The University of Birmingham Observatory team invite you to attend our
programme of free public events, "Astronomy in the City". Journey with us
from star gazing all the way to exploring the night sky with our powerful
new telescope. Along the way, members of the University's AstroSoc, and
the Birmingham Astronomical Society (BAS) will show you how to use their
portable telescopes. Tours of our Observatory, including observing with
our research telescope will also be offered. Our experts will be on hand
to answer your questions throughout the evening, and in a special "Ask
the Expert" session.

Provisional Programme:

 *  6:00pm Welcome and introduction to the Observatory
 *  6:20pm What's up? Exploring February's night sky
 *  6:40pm Why? How? Ask our experts your astronomical questions
 *  7:00pm Break for refreshments
 *  7:15pm Observing begins

Stars & Planets

Friday 28 February 2014, 1pm, Physics West 229

ArXiv Discussions - Change to Schedule

Discussions to move to Fridays at 3pm commencing on Friday 7 March 2014,
in Physics West 229

Health & Safety Inspection

Wednesday 26 February 2014, 9.30am, Physics West

As advised previously by Dave Clifford, please can you abide by the
following:

Do NOT leave combustible items in corridors, escape routes and
staircases/stairwells

Clear any large quantities of combustible materials from under desks etc.

Ensure fires doors are NOT WEDGED OPEN and left unattended.

Maintain GOOD HOUESKEEPING in workshops/laboratories.

Ensure bottles of flammable liquids etc. are returned to the appropriate
storage cupboard when not in use (DO NOT LEAVE EXCESS QUANTITIES on the
bench).

The inspectors will photograph and note any breaches which will form part
of their report which is submitted to the University, which is then
passed onto to Heads of Colleges for action. We will then be advised of
any breaches within Physics & Astronomy. We will then have to report to

the College H&S Committee regarding the progress in rectifying any
breaches.

Week Commencing 17 February 2014

Weekly AMG Meeting

Tuesday 18 February 2014, 1pm, Physics West 229

School Colloquium

Wednesday 19 February 2014, 4pm, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre SO6

Professor Richard E Palmer, Nanoscale Physics Research Laboratory,
University of Birmingham

Title: 20 years of nanotechnology: an update on arranging the atoms

Additional Astrophysics & Space Research Seminar

Monday 24 February 2014, 3pm Physics West Library

The speaker is Conor Mow-Lowry who currently works at the Albert Einstein
Institute, to construct a prototype interferometer with the aim of
beating the Standard Quantum Limit of interferometry and to test new
technologies for future gravitational wave detectors

Week Commencing 10 February 2014

Weekly AMG Meeting

Tuesday 11 February 2014, 1-2pm Physics West 229

Vice Chancellors Evening Lecture

Tuesday 11 February 2014, 6pm - 7pm Elgar Concert Hall, Bramhall Music
Building

Join us for an evening lecture on `The British State: Past, Present and
Future', to be delivered by Professor David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor of
the University of Birmingham.  At a time of unprecedented global change
this lecture will reflect on times past and lessons for Britain's
future.  The event is part of the Vice-Chancellor's Distinguished Lecture
Series at the University of Birmingham, which attracts leading
intellectuals to focus on the major social, cultural, and policy issues
of our time.
We hope that you will be able to join us in the beautiful surroundings of
the Elgar Concert Hall in the Bramhall Music Building on the Edgbaston
Campus.  To register your interest in attending, please complete our
online form .

If you would like further information please contact Kylie Morris on 0121
414 8782 or email k.morris@bham.ac.uk

ASR Group

Wednesday 12 February 2014, 12pm, Physics West 115

Maggie Lieu to give the talk

Title: TBC

Astrophysics & Space Research Group Seminar

Wednesday 12 February 2014, 2.30pm, Nuffield G13

Andrew Young, Bristol

Title: X-ray echoes from active galaxies

Week Commencing 3 February 2014

Weekly AMG Meeting

Tuesday 4 February 2014, 12-2pm Physics West 229

Please note that this is an extended AMG meeting to continue the
discussion on research

School Colloquium

Wednesday 5 February 2014, 4pm Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Professor Terence Rudolph, Imperial College

Title: Realism and the epistemic view of quantum states

New Starters

Monday 3 February 2014 - John Veitch commences work with the group

Visitors

Monday 3 February 2014 - Alberto Sesana will be visiting the group on
Monday for the day only.

Additional News

From Monday 3rd February Kat Grover will start her job as the Schools
Liaison Officer in the School of Mathematics at Birmingham.

  "I will be in physics one day a week while I finish up my thesis, so will
   still be around the group for a while yet!  Kat" 

Week Commencing 27 January 2014

Vice Chancellor's Open Forum with Greg Hurst, Education Editor, The Times

Tuesday 28 January 2014, 12.30-1.30pm, Bramall Music Building,
        Elgar Concert Hall

Greg Hurst, Education Editor for The Times, will be hosting this term's
Vice-Chancellor's Open Forum. He will interview Professor David Eastwood,
Vice-Chancellor, on key issues facing the higher education sector and the
University of Birmingham.

AMG Weekly Management Meeting

Tuesday 28 January 2014, 1pm, Physics West 229

ASR Group

Wednesday 29 January 2014, 12pm, Physics West 115

Diane Brookes to give the talk

Astrophysics & Space Research Seminar

Wednesday 29 January 2014, 2.30pm, Nuffield G13

Matthew Auger, University of Cambridge

Title: Observing the structure of dark matter on scales from 100pc to 1Mpc

Astronomy in the City

Wednesday 29 January 2014, 6pm, Poynting Building

Journey with us from star gazing, all the way to exploring the night sky
with our powerful new telescope. Along the way, members of the University's
Astrosoc, and the Birmingham Astronomy Society (BAS) will show you how to
use their portable telescopes. Tours of our Observatory, including observing
with our research telescope will also be offered. Our experts will be on hand
to answer your questions throughout the evening, and in a special
"Ask the Expert" session.

Provisional Programme:

 *  6:00pm Welcome and introduction to the Observatory
 *  6:20pm what's up? Exploring February's night sky
 *  6:40pm Why? How? Ask our experts your astronomical questions
 *  7:00pm Break for refreshments
 *  7:15pm Observing begins

Stars & Planets Meeting

Friday 31 January 2014, 1pm, Physics West 299

Future meetings to take place on the last Friday of every month, to share
current research results and discuss this "smaller" side of astrophysics. 

Week Commencing 20 January 2014

Additional Astrophysics & Space Research Seminar

Monday 20 January 2014, 1300 Hours, Physics West 106

Alan Whiting, Washington

Title: Observing the Models: an astronomer looks at complicated calculations of climate

For the past 16 months, Alan has been an AAAS fellow working in Washington on
an international development project to make remote-sensing data available to
developing countries. As such, he has been taking an interest in climate
modelling.

He comments: "I do not present my own results; rather, I give an example of how
a scientist might look at a field different from his own, using his own
background to allow a better evaluation than is available to a layman."

Weekly AMG Meeting

Tuesday 21 January, 1300 Hours, Physics West 229

Re-Scheduled ASR Group

Wednesday 22 January 2014, 1200 Hours, Strathcona LT3 (NOTE ROOM CHANGE)
Sarah Mulroy to give the talk

Additional Astrophysics & Space Research Seminar

Wednesday 22 January 2014, 1400 Hours, Physics West 106

Kate Dooley who's currently working at the GEO 600 detector.

Title: Squeezed light: using quantum optics to develop the gravitational wave
detectors of the future

We are rapidly approaching a new era in the decades-long world-wide effort to
directly detect gravitational waves. The first arm lock of both Advanced LIGO
interferometers has just been achieved, and in a few years' time the promise
of delivering detectors with unprecedented strain sensitivity will be realized,
thus opening the door to routine signal detection.  We are already planning
upgrades to the advanced detectors with the understanding that achieving, let
alone surpassing, the design sensitivity is a challenging task. I will present
one such challenge, that of reducing the noise in the frequency band limited by
photon shot noise, a region that brings us just within reach of the exciting
potential to constrain the neutron star equation of state. While the standard
approach to further improve strain sensitivity at these frequencies is to
increase laser power, an alternative is to manipulate the quantum state of the
field in the interferometer. Through the integration of a squeezed vacuum
source at the German-British laser interferometer, GEO 600, we are forging this
path forward. I will present the latest developments of squeezed vacuum control
and how squeezing will affect the future of gravitational wave detectors.

School Colloquium

Wednesday 22 January 2014, 1600 Hours, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Professor Harvey Brown, University of Oxford

Title: Einstein on special and general relativity: did he understand his
own theories

Week Commencing 13 January 2014

ASR Group Meeting

Wednesday 15 January 2014, 1200 Hours, Physics West 115 (NOTE ROOM
CHANGE)

Sarah Mulroy to give the talk

Astrophysics & Space Research Seminar

Wednesday 15 January 2014, 1430 Hours, Nuffield G13

Andrew Pontzen UCL

Title: The observed and predicted structure of dark matter halos

Staff Awards

Miranda Bradshaw won the University of Birmingham 'New Innovators'
competition, announced on the 20th December 2013.  The prize was �2000,
to help further develop the instrument she is working on.  

Michaela Nelson was runner up in the IOP's 3 minute wonder competition in
December.

Clive Speake won EPS College Publication of the Month award in September
(announced just before Christmas) for his publication on the
determination of G.

EPSRC Follow-On Fund

Michaela and Clive have been awarded a University EPSRC Follow-On Fund
for the development of cryogenic feedthroughs for polarisation
maintaining fibres. The grant started on Jan 1st and continues until
December 31 2014.

Additional Astrophysics & Space Research Seminar

Monday 20 January 2014, 1300 Hours, Physics West 106

Alan Whiting, Washington

Title: Observing the Models: an astronomer looks at complicated
calculations of climate

For the past 16 months, Alan has been an AAAS fellow working in
Washington on an international development project to make remote-sensing
data available to developing countries. As such, he has been taking an
interest in climate modelling.

He comments: "I do not present my own results; rather, I give an example
of how a scientist might look at a field different from his own, using
his own background to allow a better evaluation than is available to a
layman."

Week Commencing 6 January 2014

STFC ISL Committee Meeting (For Information)

Monday 6 January 2014, 1000 Hours, Physics West 103

Clive Speake will be hosting an STFC ISL Committee Meeting on Monday 6
Jan 2014.

AMG Weekly Management Meeting

Tuesday 7 January 2014, 1200 Hours, Physics West 229

An extended AMG meeting will take place to incorporate the second part of
the research discussion

Week Commencing 16 December 2013

Astrophysics Christmas Meal

Monday 16 December 2013, 7pm Bank Restaurant 4 Brindley Place, Birmingham
B1 2JB

A group are going to the Pitcher and Piano before the meal for drinks,
people are leaving the University at around 5.30, for 6pm.

School of Physics and Astronomy End of Year Party

Wednesday 18 December 2013, 3pm, Bridge Study Room

The Christmas party this year will be held in the bridge study room at
3.00pm on Wednesday 18th December 2013. Food and drinks will be provided.

Chiara Mingarelli

Chiara Mingarelli has won a Marie Curie International Outgoing
Fellowship, which she will take up at Caltech and the Max Planck
Institute for Radio Astronomy as of June 2014.

Annual fire systems testing and essential maintenance on electrical infrastructure

Tuesday 17 December 2013

In order to maintain insurance cover for the University's data centres we
are required to carry out a series of tests each year on our fire
detection and suppression systems. The process this year is being
modified to allow us additionally to repair a significant fault on the
Data Centre electrical systems. To minimise the risk of disruption for
University staff, students and visitors, key services will be migrated to
our secondary Data Centre and will remain operational for the duration of
the work, using resilience mechanisms being delivered by the Resilience
Project. Migration periods for key services will be 12-2pm and 7-9pm, on
17 December (note that during migration, individual services will be
subjected to short periods of disruption).

These key services include:

Teaching and Learning Services such as Timetabling, Library Catalogue and
access to online journals

Web Services such as the University website, intranet, and Staff and
Student Portals

Finance Systems (e.g. Payroll, Proactis and Coda)

Admin systems such as Pure, Data Warehouse, Document Management, Business
Intelligence and Student Records (Banner & BIRMS)

Other essential tools such as Email and Filestore

As well as the supporting infrastructure for these services e.g. the
network, virtual servers and storage on which they rely

It should be noted that other services will be at some risk throughout
the testing period.

Week Commencing 2 December 2013

School Colloquium

Wednesday 4th December 2013, 1600 Hours in Poynting Small Lecture Theatre
S06

Speaker: Dr Matthew Browning, University of Exeter

Title: Convection, Rotation and Magnetism in the Sun and other stars

Astrophysics Coffee & Cookies Meet & Greet Session

Wednesday 4th December 2013, 1400 Hours, Second Floor Coffee Lounge

Dear Yr 3 students: Are you interested in a Yr 4 project?

Dear Yr 4 students: Are you thinking about a PhD?

Dear all: Do you want to join a few faculty for an informal chat over
coffee and cookies?

If so, please come along to the Astro group's Coffee and Cookies Chat at
2 PM next Wednesday, December 4, in the lounge on the 2nd floor of
Physics West.

I Mandel

Physics and Astronomy Research Poster Session

Thursday 5th December 2013 1500-1800 Hours, Bridge Study Room

The first annual Physics and Astronomy Research Poster Session on
Thursday 5 December 2013 in the Bridge Study Lounge. The purpose
of this informal poster conference is to get all the postgraduate
students from the different research groups together to talk about
their work, in a relaxed environment.

Please register your interest, here by 3 December 2013
High quality snacks and refreshments will be provided for a variety of diets (vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian..) to be as inclusive as possible.

December Degree Congregation

Wednesday 11th December 2013, 1030 Hours

The Degree Congregation for the School of Physics and Astronomy will be
held on Wednesday 11

December 2013 at 10.30am.

EPS Christmas Social

`
Thursday 12 December, 1400-1600 Hours, Hornton Grange

With the Christmas season fast approaching; please join me for a drink,
buffet and festive entertainment at Hornton Grange on Thursday 12
December.

Everyone is welcome but please confirm your attendance by registering

here

I look forward to seeing you and celebrating a successful year.

Richard Williams, Head of College, Engineering and Physical Sciences

CQG - highlights for 2012-13

Birmingham did pretty well, with 2 papers (as far as I can tell):

(1) S M Aston et al, "Update on quadruple suspension design for Advanced
LIGO"

For those who don't know him, Stuart Aston was a student working with
Clive, who split his time between advanced LIGO work and the
Euclid-sensor development. He now works for LIGO at Livingston.
Birmingham co-authors include Dave Hoyland, Deepali, Ludovico and Clive.

(2) B. Sorazu et al: Experimental test of higher-order Laguerre-Gauss
modes in the 10 m Glasgow prototype interferometer

B'ham co-authors are Paul Fulda (a student working with Andreas now at
Florida), Charlotte and Andreas.
See here
Well done!

Alberto Vecchio

Selection of ATHENA+ and eLISA

Selection of ATHENA+ and eLISA for the ESA L2 and L3 missions has now been confirmed - see here for details


Trevor Ponman

Week Commencing 25 November 2013

Astrophysics & Space Research Group Seminar

Wednesday 27th November 2013, 1200 Hours, Physics West Library

Coffee and Biscuits with speaker at 1030 Hours Second Floor Coffee Lounge

Andrew Levan, Warwick

Title: TBC

Prof Alberto Vecchio's Inaugural Lecture

Wednesday 27 November 2013, 1715 Hours Physics West 117, followed by a
reception in the Physics West Library

Title: Gravitational Waves and the unheard broadcast of the violent
universe

To register visit here

Postgraduate Open Day

Wednesday 27th November 2013, 1400 Hours Physics West 117

The School will be taking part in the University's postgraduate Open Day
with an event beginning at 2pm in West 117.  There will be a short talk
followed by an opportunity to speak to researchers from areas around the
School about PhD places.

Andy Schofield

EPS Christmas Social

`
`
Thursday 12 December, 1400-1600 Hours, Hornton Grange

With the Christmas season fast approaching; please join me for a drink,
buffet and festive entertainment at Hornton Grange on Thursday 12
December.

Everyone is welcome but please confirm your attendance by registering

here

I look forward to seeing you and celebrating a successful year.

Richard Williams, Head of College, Engineering and Physical Sciences

Week Commencing 18 November 2013

ASR Group Meeting (Re-scheduled)

Wednesday 20 November 2013, 1200 Hours, Physics West Library

School Colloquium

Wednesday 20 November 2013, 1600 Hours, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre
(SO6)

Prof Eric Wolff, British Antarctic Survey, University of Cambridge

Title: Frozen in Time: Ice cores and climate

Week Commencing 11 November 2013

ASR Group

Wednesday 13th November 2013, 1200 Hours, Physics West Library

Walter Del Pozzo to lead the session

Title:    TBC

Astrophysics & Space Research Group Seminar

Wednesday 13th November 2013, 1430 Hours, Nuffield G13

Stephen Fairhurst, Cardiff

Title: What can we learn from Chirp?

Week Commencing 4 November 2013

Astrophysics & Space Research Group Seminar

Wednesday 6th November 2013, 1400 Hours, Physics West 117

Seminar to be led by Jan Harms

Title: Gravitational Wave Detection at the Twilight of the Dawn

School Colloquium

Wednesday 6th November 2013, 1600 Hours, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Prof Malcolm McCulloch, Head of Energy & Power Group, University of Oxford

Title:    User Centred Smart Energy Systems - the gentle revolution

Prof Alberto Vecchio's Inaugural Lecture

Wednesday 27 November 2013, 1715 Hours Physics West 117, followed by a
reception in the Physics West Library

Title: Gravitational Waves and the unheard broadcast of the violent
universe

To register visit
http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/university/colleges/eps/events/inaugural-lecture/Alberto-Vecchio-27-11-2013.aspx

Publications

"Comparison of Gravitational Wave Detector Network Sky Localization Approximations"

K. Grover, S. Fairhurst, B. F. Farr, I. Mandel, C. Rodriguez, T. Sidery,
A. Vecchio has been submitted to PRD
http://arxiv.org/abs/1310.7454

Week Commencing 28 October 2013

ASR Group Meeting

Wednesday 30th October 2013, 1200 Hours, Physics West Library

Trevor Ponman to lead the session `Advice to a young scientist'

Astrophysics & Space Research Group Seminar

Wednesday 30th October 2013, 1430 Hours, Nuffield G13

Mark Sullivan, Southampton University

Title: The Transient Universe: Cosmic Explosions and Dark Energy

Week Commencing 21 October 2013

School Colloquium


Wednesday 23 October 2013, 1530 Hours, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Emeritus Prof Colin Gough, University of Birmingham

Title: The search for the Stradivari secret: the science and sounds of
the violin

EPS College Assembly

Tuesday 22 October 2013, 1300 Hours, Watson Building, Lecture Theatre A

You are cordially invited to the EPS College Assembly. It is the start of
a new academic year; an opportunity to congratulate colleagues on a successful
year just past and an opportunity to look forward with optimism.  

Assembly line-up

* Where we're heading - Refreshing our College Strategy (Professor
Richard A Williams)

* Where we are now - Admissions Outcomes 2013 and Recruitment Year Ahead
(Dr Steve Quigley)

* Where we can make a difference - Virtual Environments for
Post-Operative Healthcare

Restoration and Rehabilitation (Professor Robert J Stone)

I would encourage all colleagues in the College to attend and look
forward to seeing you there.

Vice-Chancellor's Open Forum

Thursday 24 October, 12.30pm-1.30pm, Bramall Music Building, Elgar
Concert Hall

Join the Vice-Chancellor, Professor David Eastwood, for his first staff
address of the new academic year. He will report on the challenges and
successes of the past year, and look forward to the

opportunities of the forthcoming academic session as The Times and The
Sunday Times University of the Year.

The Vice-Chancellor encourages all staff to attend and there will be an
opportunity to ask your own questions on the day. If you would prefer
you can submit a question in advance, and in confidence, however these
will be put to the Vice-Chancellor after those asked on the day.
Questions can be submitted to internalcomms@contacts.bham.ac.uk or via
@buzzunibham.

Visitors

Dr Alberto Sesana from AEI will be wisiting the group from the 21st to 25th October

Week Commencing 14 October 2013

ASR Group Meeting

Wednesday 16th October 2013, 1200 Hours, PW Library

Jessica Democles to lead the session

Astrophysics and Space Research Seminar

Wednesday 16th October 2013, 1430 Hours, Nuffield G13

Nils Andersson, Southampton
Neutron Stars as Cosmic Laboratories

Birmingham Heroes Lecture: Music of the Stars

Thursday 17th October, 6:15-8:30pm, Physics West 117

When you look up at the sky on a clear night to do ever ask yourself: how
many of the twinkling stars have planets, like the planets orbiting our
own sun?  And how many of those planets might be capable of harbouring
life, like the precious planet we live on?  Is there some special
combination of properties that a star must possess to elevate the chances
of it hosting a habitable planet? Or are some sun-like stars just too
unsafe for their planets?

In this second Birmingham Heroes lecture, Professor Bill Chaplin will
discuss the leading role that Birmingham is playing in the study of other
stellar systems in our galaxy. The lecture will be held in Birmingham and
will see Professor Chaplin reprise his `Music of the Stars' lecture given
at the Institute of Physics in May 2013.

The event is free of charge, however registration is essential as places
are limited. To register visit
http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/alumni/events/items/heroes.aspx

Publications

(Accepted for publication in MNRAS) F Ziparo
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2013arXiv1310.1398Z

Miscellaneous

A note about a recent graduate student - Vino Sangaralingam is soon
heading off to Montreal to work on data from the MOST satellite and will
be working at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and University of Montreal.
I R Stevens

Week Commencing 7 October 2013

School Colloquium

Wednesday 9 October 2013, 1600 Hours, Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Prof Martin Dawson, University of Strathclyde

Title: Tiny lights with big potential: Micro-scale gallium nitride
light-emitting diodes for science, instrumentation and communications

Wednesday 9 October 2013, 1300 Hours, Biosciences Lecture Theatre 301

Prof. Dame Athene Donald, University of Cambridge

Prof Dame Athene Donald will be here on 9th October speaking about
"facilitating women's' progression to the top" at 1pm in Biosciences
lecture theatre 301. Athene will be around from 11am until just before
4.   After the seminar a room is booked for an open discussion session,
which all are welcome to drop into for all or part of the session.
Athene's excellent blog can be found on the Occam's Typewriter website."

Week Commencing 30 September 2013

ASR Group Meeting

Wednesday 2 October 2013, 1200 Hours, Physics West Library

Clive Speake to lead the session

Astrophysics & Space Research Seminar

Thursday 3 October 2013, 1300-1400 Hours, Physics West 106

Harald Pfeiffer CITA - Numerical simulations of binary black holes

Visitors / New Staff /Changing Roles

Harald Pfeiffer will be visiting on the 3 Oct 2013

Richard Reineman from GWR Instruments will be visiting Clive Speake on
the 3 Oct 2013

Professor Alberto Vecchio will take up the role of Head of Astrophysics
and Space Research Group

Dr Ian Stevens will become the Graduate Welfare Officer (Dr Garry Tungate
will act as Deputy).

Dr Trevor Sidery will take up the role of Fixed Term Lecturer.

Dr Will Farr has joined the School as a Birmingham Fellow.
Dr Christopher Berry will be arriving on the 1 Oct 2013

Fire Safety Lectures

Wednesday 16th October 2-3pm & Wednesday Nov 13th 2.30-3.30pm, Poynting
LLT room S02

All Staff and PG's that have not attended a Fire Safety Lecture in the
past 2 years are REQUIRED TO ATTEND.

To try and equalise the attendance will Staff and PG's attend as follows:
Surname beginning with A-K on Wednesday Oct 16th 2-3pm in Poynting LLT

Surname beginning with L-Z on Wednesday Nov 13th 2.30-3.30pm in Poynting
LLT

If you cannot attend the one assigned, then please attend the other
session.

Week Commencing 23 September 2013

Observatory Open Afternoon

Friday 27 September 2013, 1400 - 1800 Hours

You are warmly invited to visit the University of Birmingham Observatory
at Wast Hills Friday afternoon, 27th September 2013. A small team of us
will be at the Observatory from 2pm-6pm (and later if sky is clear) to
show, and demonstrate our new telescope (a 0.5m diameter Ritchey
Chretien), and supporting control systems.
We are still in the process of commissioning the telescope, with several
important unfinished tasks, dangling cables, etc.. So this will be an
informal event for colleagues and friends, very much an "open house",
"take us as you find us", style.

That said, we had "first light" with the new telescope last week - a very
exciting and important landmark! So you will be able to see the telescope
in action. If the sky is clear, you're welcome to stay into the evening
while we do some observing.

The Observatory can accommodate a limited number of people. So it will be
very useful to get an idea of how many people are likely to visit. This
will help us firm up plans next week, including steps to smooth out
visitor numbers through the afternoon if some times prove more popular
than others.

Please email your reply to Jo Cox j.s.cox@bham.ac.uk if you intend to
come, and/or would like more information. Please reply ASAP. We will
start reviewing replies on Monday afternoon and will firm up plans on
Wednesday afternoon.

Please also contact Jo for directions to the Observatory. There is space
for some cars to park at the Observatory and in a nearby layby, however
please try to car share where possible.

I'm happy to answer questions via email, or in person at School Committee
meeting.

Graham Smith
on behalf of Observatory Outreach Team

Promotion: Professor Andreas Freise

I am delighted to announce that Andreas Freise has been promoted to
Professor of Experimental Physics.

Andy Schofield

School Committee Meeting

Tuesday 24 September 1400 Hours Poynting large lecture theatre.

Professor Ray Jones

Tuesday 24 September 2013, 1530 Bridge Study Room

There will be a reception in the Bridge Study Room following the School
Committee Meeting for Professor Ray Jones who will be retiring at the end
of September.

Lucy Collinson

Wednesday 25 September 2013, 1600 Hours Admissions Lounge, TSO

There will be a reception for Lucy Collinson who will be leaving on the
25 September 2013.  Please come along to say goodbye.

Cycling Roadshow

23 - 27 September 2013, 1000 - 1500 Hours, Staff House Square

There will be Cycling Roadshows on campus every day during Welcome Week,
10am to 3pm.

The road shows will be held in Staff House Square, at the front of Staff
House with Road show

activities including:

- bike maintenance

- sale of cycle accessories

- sale of discounted d-locks (Wednesday 12-3pm only)

- advice on cycling and cycle routes

- selection of bicycles to try

For more information please contact sustainabletravel@contacts.bham.ac.uk

https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/has/sustainable-travel/Events.aspx

Week Commencing 2 September 2013

ASR Group Meeting

Wednesday 4 September 2013

1200 Hours Physics West Library

This will be a fairly short meeting (30 mins or so), without any "Friday
Science"-like session.

There are two things that will be covered:

1. News items - please come along with anything you have

2. Discussion regarding the way the Group works

Astrophysics & Space Research Seminar

Friday 6 September 2013

1400 Hours Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Helen Russell, Waterloo

Title: 'Massive molecular gas flows in brightest cluster galaxies'

Visitors / New Staff

Monday 2 September 2013

Dr Walter De Pozzo will arrive on Monday 2 September 2013

Publications

The experimental half of the Gravitational Wave group have recently
published a paper in the Journal of Visualized Experiments, which
combines a written article with a video showing the experimental
procedure. 

Our paper, 'The generation of Higher-order Laguerre-Gauss Optical Beams
for Higher-precision Interferometry', is an overview of the work carried
out in the group for the last 5 years on the application of ring shaped
laser beams (Laguerre-Gauss beams) in interferometric Gravitational Wave
detectors.

You can check out the script and video here, look out for some familiar
faces: Charlotte Bond
http://www.jove.com/video/50564/the-generation-higher-order-laguerre-gauss-optical-beams-for-high

Week Commencing 19 August 2013

Visitors / New Staff

Monday 19 August 2013

Dr Will Farr will be arriving on Monday 19 August, prior to the commencement
of his post.  He will be based in room 223

Publications

Clive Speake is an author on a new paper http://prl.aps.org/accepted/3b070Ye9S7210e4a60466d45da9074cbe69d3745d

Canvas now available

Canvas - the university's new virtual learning environment to replace WebCT -
is now available for all staff to access via webLearn.

Once your courses are ready you can start to explore Canvas and prepare your
teaching material for the new academic year. The university has training
courses & online resources to help with this, detailed at webLearn.  Each
school in EPS has a Canvas Champion, who will be at the forefront in using
Canvas and provide advice and guidance to colleagues in their school. Dr I
Mandel is the Canvas Champion for Physics & Astronomy.

Week Commencing 12 August 2013

Astrophysics & Space Research Seminar

Thursday 15 August 2013

1400 Hours, Physics West 106

Luke Kelley, Harvard University (Talk 1) and Michael Betancourt, Imperial
(Talk 2)

Talk 1 : A jetted tidal disruption: need for dynamically important magnetic
flux threading the supermassive black hole.

Talk 2: A brief introduction to Hamiltonian Monte Carlo

Visitors / New Staff


Monday 12 August 2013 - Luke Kelley Harvard University

Thursday 15 August 2013 - Michael Betancourt, Imperial

Both visitors will be based in the second floor visitor's office (219)

Wednesday 14 August 2013 - Ben Farr will be arriving; Ben will be sharing an
office with Trevor Sidery for the near future.

Publications

The second LSC-all paper on using squeezed light has been published in Nature
photonics letters: `Enhanced sensitivity of the LIGO gravitational wave
detector by using squeezed states of light' Andreas Freise
http://go.nature.com/CZ8XuF
The fading of two transient ULXs to below the stellar mass Eddington limit
Burke, Kraft, Soria, Maccarone, Raychaudhury, et al., Accepted for publication
in ApJ,
http://arxiv.org/abs/1307.8157
Rodriguez, Farr, Farr, Mandel

Inadequacies of the Fisher Information Matrix in gravitational-wave parameter
estimation
http://arxiv.org/abs/1308.1397
Dominik et al.

Double Compact Objects II: Cosmological Merger Rates
http://arxiv.org/abs/1308.1546

Week Commencing 15 July 2013

Wednesday 17 July 2013

1200 Hours PW Library

Felicia Ziparo to lead the session

EPS College Research Conference

Tuesday 16 July 2013, 0900-1630 Hours Avon Room

The programme for the day is detailed below
To find out more, and to register, please follow this link 

(it is important to register for the organisation of the catering)

09:00    Tea/coffee

09:15    Welcome: Richard Williams        
09:30    Bill Chaplin (Physics) - Music of the stars and the search for
         new worlds
10:00    David Craven (Mathematics) - From the local to the global in
         mathematics
10:30    Zoe Schnepp (Chemistry) - Materials from Biomass
11:00    Tea/coffee       
11:30    Paula Mendes (Chem Eng) - Cellular Nanotechnology: Making
         Biological Interfaces Smarter
12:00    Moataz Attallah (Met &Mat) - Advanced Materials Processing: From
         Process to Performance
12:30    Duc Pham (Mech Eng) - Mechanical Engineering ... Open for
         Business
13:00    Posters + lunch       
14:00    Bob Stone (EECE) - Simulation in Defence, Healthcare and
         Heritage - High-Impact Research for Real World Applications
14:30    Jeremy Wyatt (Comp Sci) - Robotics: a unifying grand challenge
         for engineering
15:00    Tea/coffee        
15:30    Jonathan Radcliffe (EECE) - Developing energy research in EPS
         and across the University
16:00    Chris Rogers (Civil) - Sustainable Cities
16:30    Closing remarks: Richard Williams         

Publications

Author: F.Ziparo et al.
Title: The lack of star formation gradients in galaxy groups up to z~1.6,
accepted for publication in MNRAS.
"http://arxiv.org/abs/1307.0833

Week Commencing 08 July 2013

Excellence in Doctoral Supervision Award

Andreas Freise was awarded the "Excellence in Doctoral Supervision Award"
University of Birmingham Engineering and Physical Sciences, and Alberto
Vecchio was a runner-up for the award. The nomination process not only
involves letters of recommendation from current students, but past
students and the chair of the department as well. This is a highly
competitive award in the University, as both the nominee and the
nominator receive a £1,000 prize. 

These recognitions reflect highly on the level of instruction and
dedication that a graduate student may expect while studying for either
an experimental or data-analysis LSC related PhD. I hope you take the
time to nominate your students and advisors for similar awards!

Physics Graduation and Reception

Monday 8th July , 1.45pm, Bridge Study Area

Students from the School will be graduating today Monday 8th July 2013 at
1:45 and are invited to a reception in the Bridge study area afterwards.
There will be up to 350 people and so we will overflow into the Coffee
Lounge and also onto Chancellors Court. Graduates and their families
appreciate meeting their lecturers and tutors so can I encourage as many
as possible to come and talk to our graduating students over the
reception. Andy Schofield

Week Commencing 01 July 2013

College Summer Social

Tuesday 2 July 2013

1330 - 1530 Hours Gardens between the Arts and Watson Buildings

The promised summer season will soon be upon us, but before that, I'd be
delighted if you would join me for a BBQ, strawberries and cream, and a
glass of Pimms or soft drinks. I hope to see you there.  Richard A
Williams, Head of College, Pro-Vice-Chancellor

Publications

Paper on high-power Laguerre-Gauss modes has been published in Physical
Review Letters. It's short and has experimental results, Ludovico has
achieved very high quality results in terms of beam shape and quality
here. This paper is the latest in our series of papers on LG modes for
interferometry, Andreas Freise.
http://link.aps.org/doi/10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.251101
Title: Characterising gravitational wave stochastic background anisotropy
with Pulsar Timing Arrays.  Authors: Chiara M. F. Mingarelli, Trevor
Sidery, Ilya Mandel and Alberto Vecchio
http://arxiv.org/abs/1306.5394
"Electromagnetic transients as triggers in searches for gravitational
waves from compact binary mergers" by Kelley, Mandel, Ramirez-Ruiz.  Has
been published in PRD
http://prd.aps.org/abstract/PRD/v87/i12/e123004

Week Commencing 23 June 2013

There is no news this week

Week Commencing 17 June 2013

Wednesday Group Meeting

Wednesday 19 June 2013

1200 Hours PW Library

Deepali Lodhia to lead the session

Astrophysics & Space Research Seminar

Wednesday 19 June 2013
1430 Hours, PW 103

Stephen Bamford, Nottingham

Open Days

Thursday 20 June, Friday 21 June & Saturday 22 June 2013

University Open Day are to take place this week, a schedule detailing
staff involvement has been circulated.

School Committee Meeting

Monday 17 June 2013

1400 Hours, Poynting Large Lecture Theatre

University Car Parking

Thursday 20 June, Friday 21 June and Saturday 22 June 2013

The University will be holding Open Days on Thursday 20, Friday 21
and Saturday 22 June 2013. Open Day is a core recruitment activity for
the University and will bring a large number of prospective students to
the campus each day. As a result, there will be increased traffic in and
around campus and further pressure on parking.  The South car park and
Pritchatts car park will be closed to staff in order to accommodate
visitor parking. In addition visitor `park and ride' facilities will be
operating on King Edward's School playing fields and the Selly Oak
Hospital site to further relieve congestion and parking problems.

Your cooperation and patience is appreciated. Please use an alternative
mode of transport on these days where possible.

Publications

R. J. E. Smith, K. Cannon, C. Hanna, D. Keppel, and I. Mandel Towards
rapid parameter estimation on gravitational waves from compact binaries
using interpolated waveforms Phys. Rev. D 87, 122002 (2013),
http://prd.aps.org/abstract/PRD/v87/i12/e122002

Additional Information

Press release on new results from LoCuSS.

You can also reach the PR via the banner on the University's home page.
http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/news/latest/2013/06/13-Jun-13-Cosmic-giants-shed-new-light-on-dark-matter.aspx

Version 1.0 of the interferometer simulation tool Finesse

See http://www.gwoptics.org/finesse

Week Commencing 10 June 2013

Group Garden Party

Monday 10 June 2013

Priorsfield, Edgbaston Park Road

Just a reminder that the annual group garden party will take place today
at 6.30pm.

Window Cleaning - Physics West

Tuesday 11 June 2013 0800 Hours

The University appointed window cleaners (ART CLEANING) will be in
Physics West on Tuesday June 11th from 8am. They will be cleaning
EXTERNAL & INTERNAL WINDOWS where they are able to gain access. If
possible please can you:
 
CLOSE EXTERNAL WINDOWS & CLEAR ACCESS to INTERNAL WINDOWS / CLEAR WINDOW
SILLS.

Week Commencing 3 June 2013

US Summer Students

Monday 3 June 2013

US summer students, Jenna Klemkowsky and Zachary Hafen will be arriving
on Monday 3 June until the 31 July 2013.

Wednesday Group Meeting

Wednesday 5 June 2013

1200 Hours PW Library

Mark Burke to lead the session

Starting from Wednesday June 5th 2013, and running every 2 weeks outside
the main holiday periods, the group will hold an informal Group Meeting
at 12.00 in the Physics Library. This will start with a short section on
any news (typically just 10-15 minutes) and will be followed by a science
session along the lines of "Friday Science" which will finish around 1pm.

College Assembly

Wednesday 5 June 2013

1300 Hours Haworth 101

College Assembly is a great opportunity to learn more about exciting
initiatives, network with colleagues and hear directly from Senior
Management about future plans.I would encourage everyone in the College
to attend and look forward to seeing you all there.  Professor Richard A
Williams, Head of College.

Group Garden Party

Monday 10 June 2013

Priorsfield, Edgbaston Park Road

For those of you that have not already responded and would like to attend
could you please confirm your attendance as soon as possible?

Week Commencing 27 May 2013

There is no news this week

Archive

Previous issues can be found here

Week Commencing 20 May 2013

Friday Science Meeting


Friday 24 May 2013

1300 Hours - Physics West Library

Chiara Mingarelli to lead the session

Chiara is giving her talk on her new work involving anisotropy in the
gravitational wave background seen by Pulsar Timing Arrays.

Publications

Rory Smith, Chad Hanna, Ilya Mandel, Alberto Vecchio Rapidly evaluating
the compact binary likelihood function via interpolationo
http://arxiv.org/abs/1305.3798

EPS Best Publication of the Month Award

The Best Publication of the Month for February was awarded to Professors
Bill Chaplin and Yvonne Elsworth and Dr Andrea Miglio, for the paper "A
sub-Mercury-sized exoplanet" published in Nature (Volume 494, Issue 7438,
pp. 452-454).


The paper reports the discovery of the smallest planet yet found outside
our solar system, a planet that is smaller than Mercury and not much
larger than the Moon. The planet was discovered by the NASA Kepler space
telescope, and Professor Chaplin led the team that used asteroseismology
to characterize the properties of the star hosting this small planet.
There are also two other planets in this system. Kepler detects planets
by the miniscule dimming of starlight as planets `transit', or pass in
front of, their host star. The fractional dimming depends on the size of
the planet relative to the size of the star; the Birmingham team led the
work that provided an accurate estimate of the size of the star, which
lies just over 200 light years from us, and it was thanks to this crucial
information that it was possible to make such clear statements about the
tiny absolute size of the planet.

 

You can read more about the award here:
http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/university/colleges/eps/eps-community/index.aspx

 

Week Commencing 13 May 2013

School Colloquium

Wednesday 15 May 2013

1600 Hours - Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Dr K Nikolopoulos, University of Birmingham

Title: The discovery of a standard model-like Higgs boson at the LHC

Astrophysics and Space Research Seminar

Wednesday 15 May 2013

1400 Hours - Muirhead 112

Maura McLaughlin, University of West Virginia (currently at Oxford)

Title: A Galactic Scale Gravitational Wave Observatory

Visitors

Wednesday 15 May 2013

Jessica Democles, Post-Doctoral Researcher will be visiting us on
Wednesday 15th May until Friday 17th May 2013.

Publications

The Transient Gravitational-Wave Sky

Andersson et al.
http://arxiv.org/abs/1305.0816

Archive

Previous issues can be found here

Week Commencing 6 May 2013


School Colloquium

Wednesday 8 May 2013

1600 Hours - Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Prof Anthony Lasenby University of Cambridge

The Cosmic Microwave Background: Recent results and implications for
Cosmology

Astrophysics and Space Research Seminar

Wednesday 8 May 2013

1400 Hours - Muirhead 112

Christian Trenkel, Astrium

Friday Science Meeting

Friday 10 May 2013

1300 Hours - Physics West Library

Kat Grover to lead the session

Publications

Aasi et al.

Parameter estimation for compact binary coalescence signals with the
first generation gravitational-wave detector network
http://arxiv.org/abs/1304.1775

Week Commencing 29 April 2013

Felicia Ziparo - Post Doctoral Researcher

Felicia starts work with the group on Wednesday 1 May 2013

Network Maintenance

Tuesday 30 April 2013

In order to progress an on-going issue, a network switch that provides
services to the College from within the Physics West building must be
replaced.

It is proposed to do this work between 7am and 9am on Tuesday 30 April,
and during this time a number of services will be interrupted

Week Commencing 22 April 2013

School Colloquium

Wednesday 24 April 2013

1600 Hours - Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Prof Frank Close - University of Oxford

Title: The Infinity Puzzle - The story of the Higgs Boson: From QED to the LHC
via Higgs and the Gang of Six

Astrophysics and Space Research Seminar

Wednesday 24 April 2013

1400 Hours - Muirhead 112

Nigel Bishop Rhodes University South Africa

Title: Applications of the characteristic formalism in relativity

Friday Science Meeting

Friday 26 April 2013

1300 Hours - Physics West 115

Prof Mike Cruise to lead the session

Title: Open Access Publishing

Publications

Interferometric measurement of angular motion

F.E. Pena Arellano, H. Panjwani, L.Carbone, and C.C. Speake

Review of Scientific instruments, Vol. 84, Issue 4, April 2013
http://rsi.aip.org/resource/1/rsinak/v84/i4/p043101_s1

Week Commencing 25 March 2013

Visitors

Thursday 28 March - 12 April 2013

Michal Dominik a student collaborator from Poland will be with us and
using the visitor's room from the 28 March until the 12 April.

Publications

We would like to announce the release of LIGO Magazine's second issue.
This issue features articles about black holes, and the astrophysics and
data analysis that LIGO can do to find out more about these elusive
objects. We also include a mix of conference reports, news items and
stories from the detector sites. You can download the new magazine from:

http://www.ligo.org/magazine/

Andreas Freise 
for the LIGO Magazine editors

Week Commencing 18 March 2013

Coffee Hour

Monday 18 March 2013

1030 Hours - Admission Suite Poynting Building

Just a reminder that Andy Schofield has introduced the coffee hour as an
opportunity for staff to get together, please see below the original message

I am conscious that busyness of academic life and our split site over four
buildings means there are fewer opportunities for us to meet informally as
academic staff. The colloquia and tea beforehand (which Clive organizes so
effectively) are an excellent opportunity to get together and should be seen
as an essential part of School life. I think we need more - so I would like
to try a regular morning gathering once a week:

Coffee/Tea on Mondays from 10:30-11:30 in the Admissions Suite (Poynting
building) starting on Monday 25 Feb.

The urn will be on (and of course one could support Lorna in the coffee lounge
if you want something different). By spanning the teaching hour, hopefully
people will be able to attend one or other half. The time also follows the VCs
meeting with Heads of Schools so occasionally there might be some news to
convey. It's an experiment so we will see how it goes.

College Assembly

Tuesday 19 March

1300 Hours -  G31 School of Mechanical Engineering

The College Assembly is a great opportunity to learn more about exciting
initiatives, network with colleagues and hear directly from Senior Management
about future plans.

Arts & Science Festival

Wednesday 20 March 2013

1600 Hours - Physics West

There will be a public engagement event happening in Physics on Wednesday
20th March from 4pm to 9pm as part of the University of Birmingham Arts and
Science Festival and National Science and Engineering Week 18 March through
until 24 March. The whole event is open to families and the talks suitable
for older secondary school children and adults. It will feature hands on
activities and exhibits from particle physics, gravitational waves and the
astronomy society and the following ~30 minute talks:


17:00: Discovering Black holes with Gravitational Waves by Chiara Mingarelli
17:45: Laser Interferometers and Gravitational Waves by Charlotte Bond
18:30: An introduction to Particle Physics and the Large Hadron Collider by
       Cristina Lazzeroni
19:15: Astronomy talk: tbc

For information on National Science and Engineering Week visit
http://www.britishscienceassociation.org/national-science-engineering-week
For more information on the University Science and Arts Festival visit
http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/artsandsciencefestival

School Colloquium

Wednesday 20 March 2013

1600 Hours - Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Prof Myles Allen - University of Oxford

Title: Cumulative carbon, climate response and their implications

Publications

"Spectral properties of X-Ray binaries in Centaurus A"

Burke et al., ApJ 766 88
http://iopscience.iop.org/0004-637X/766/2/88/

Week Commencing 11 March 2013

Coffee Hour

Monday 11 March 2013

1030 Hours - Admission Suite Poynting Building

Just a reminder that Andy Schofield has introduced the coffee hour as an
opportunity for staff to get together, please see below the original
message

I am conscious that busyness of academic life and our split site over
four buildings means there are fewer opportunities for us to meet
informally as academic staff. The colloquia and tea beforehand (which
Clive organizes so effectively) are an excellent opportunity to get
together and should be seen as an essential part of School life. I think
we need more - so I would like to try a regular morning gathering once a
week:

Coffee/Tea on Mondays from 10:30-11:30 in the Admissions Suite (Poynting
building) starting on Monday 25 Feb.

The urn will be on (and of course one could support Lorna in the coffee
lounge if you want something different). By spanning the teaching hour,
hopefully people will be able to attend one or other half. The time also
follows the VCs meeting with Heads of Schools so occasionally there might
be some news to convey. It's an experiment so we will see how it goes.

Friday Science Meeting

Friday 15 March 2013
1300 Hours - Physics West Library

Will Vousden to lead the session

Visitors

Monday 11 March - Friday 15 March 2013 - Walter Del Pozzo from the
Netherlands will be using the visitor's room (219) for the week.

Publications

"Studies of waveform requirements for intermediate mass-ratio coalescence
searches with advanced detectors"

Smith, Mandel, Vecchio
http://arxiv.org/abs/1302.6049

Week Commencing 4 March 2013

Astrophysics and Space Research Seminar

Wednesday 6 March 2013

1400 Hours - Nuffield G13

Suzanne Aigrain Oxford

Title:     Stellar Activity in Planet Searches: from Nuisance to Signal

Making the Invisible Visible: discovering forces beyond what we see

Wednesday 20th March 2013

1600 Hours until 2100 Hours - Physics West, University of Birmingham,
Edgbaston

The University of Birmingham's Particle Physics Group, Gravitational
Wave Group and Astronomical Society cordially invite you to attend an
evening of discovery on Wednesday the 20th of March from 4pm to 9pm at
the University of Birmingham's Edgbaston campus. The event is a part of
this year's National Science and Engineering Week and the University's
Arts and Science Festival.

We encourage adults, families and children of all ages to learn more
about the physics of the universe we live in via our hands on
activities, lectures and demonstrations. Find out how we use kilometre
size experiments and state of the art computer analysis and simulation
to discover the invisible forces which influence everything from the
smallest subatomic particle to the structure of galaxies.   

For more information please contact Miss Katherine Grover, Doctoral
Researcher in the Gravitational Wave Group:
Email: kat@star.sr.bham.ac.uk
Phone: 01214143721

For information on National Science and Engineering Week visit
http://www.britishscienceassociation.org/national-science-engineering-week
For more information on the University Science and Arts Festival visit
http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/artsandsciencefestival

Week Commencing 25 February 2013

Vice Chancellor's Open Forum

Tuesday 26 February 2013

1230-1330 Hours - Bramhall Music Building, Elgar Concert Hall

In this terms Open Forum, the Vice-Chancellor will be interviewed by
David Gregory-Kumar, BBC Midlands Today Science and Environmental
Correspondent, on key issues facing the High Education sector and the
University of Birmingham.

School Colloquium

Wednesday 27 February 2013

1600 Hours - Pointing Small Lecture Theatre

Dr Alex Brand, University of Aberdeen

Title:  Filamentous Fungi - Microbial Space Invaders

Postgraduate Admissions Day

Thursday 28 February 2013

The main event will take place in the Physics West Library, with coffee
available in the 2nd floor coffee lounge at 2pm

Inaugural Lecture

Thursday 28 February 2013

17:15 Hours - Haworth Large Lecture Theatre 101, Haworth Building and
afterwards for a reception in the Haworth foyer

Professor William Chaplin, Professor of Astrophysics, School of Physics
and Astronomy

"Sounding stars and sizing up Exoplanets: Searches for other Solar
Systems"

Friday Science Meeting - CANCELLED

This week's Friday Science has been cancelled, the schedule will resume
as planned on Friday 15th March 2013

Week Commencing 18 February 2013

There is no news this week

Week Commencing 11 February 2013

Astrophysics and Space Research Seminar

Wednesday 13 February 2013

1400 Hours - Nuffield G17

Stefan Hild, Glasgow

Title:    Interferometry beyond the Quantum Limit.  Squeezed vacuum,
stiff photons and other ways to trick Heisenberg

School Colloquium

Wednesday 13 February 2013

1600 Hours - Poynting Small Lecture Theatre

Dr Giovanna Tinetti, University College London
Title:    What are Exoplanets Made Of?

Friday Science Meeting

Friday 15 February 2013

1300 Hours - Physics West Library

Miranda Bradshaw to lead the session

Post Doc Interviews

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Trevor Ponman and Graham Smith will be interviewing candidates. 
Candidates will be spending the majority of the day at the University,
talking to members of the group.

Week Commencing 4 February 2013

Astrophysics and Space Research Seminar

Wednesday 6 February 2013

1400 Hours - Nuffield G13

Henk Hoekstra, Leiden

Title:    Looking at the Dark Side: Weak Lensing by Large Scale Structure

Visitors

Henk Hoekstra from Leiden will be visiting on the 6th and 7th Feb 2013.

Week Commencing 28 January 2013

School Colloquium

Wednesday 30 January 2013

1600 Hours - Poynting Small Lecture Theatre (SO6)

Dr Hugh Hunt, University of Cambridge

Title: Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering

Friday Science

Friday 1 February 2013

1300 Hours - Physics West Library

Melissa Gillone to lead the session

Professor Mike Cruise

Professor Mike Cruise will be at the University on Monday 28 January,
from approximately 10am until 3pm.

Week Commencing 21 January 2013

Astrophysics and Space Research Seminar

Wednesday 23 January 2013

1400 Hours - Nuffield G13

Paul Crowther Sheffield

The most massive stars in the local universe.

The lower limit to the mass of stars is well defined, while the upper limit remains
controversial. I shall summarise evidence in support of the currently accepted limit
and present recent VLT -based studies of the brightest members of young, nearby star
clusters which argue for a higher limit. Consideration is given to questions of
binarity using a variety of methods, while we present simulations of star clusters
which argue for an upper mass limit close to 300 solar masses. The wider
significance of this limit is discussed both for the integrated properties of
unresolved star clusters and the possibility that pair-instability supernovae exist
in the local universe, as proposed for SN 2007bi.

Re-Scheduled Friday Science / ASR Group Meeting

Friday 25 January 2013

1300 Hours - Law LT3

Dan Brown to lead the session - Modelling optics in future gravitational
wave detectors

Week Commencing 14 January 2013

Colloquium

Wednesday 16 January 2013

1600 Hours - Poynting Small Lecture Theatre (SO6)

Tea/coffee and biscuits available in the coffee lounge from 3.30pm

Prof Joao Magueijo, Imperial College

Title:    Alternative Theories of Gravity

Friday Science

Friday 18 January 2013

1300 Hours - Physics West Library

Dan Brown to lead the session

Visitors

Wednesday 16 January 2013 - Prof Joao Magueijo, Imperial College.

Wednesday 16 January 2013 - David Bacon, PhD External Examiner,
Portsmouth

Week Commencing 7 January 2013

School Committee Meeting

Monday 7 January 2013 1230 hours Large Lecture Theatre, Poynting Building
All staff are invited to attend.

Astrophysics and Space Research Seminar

Wednesday 9 January 2013
1400 - 1500 Hours Muirhead 112
Chris Done, Durham
Title & Abstract:  AGN in the light of stellar mass black holes

I will review what we know about accretion and its associated jet
in stellar mass black holes, and then compare this to AGN to see
which parts of the physics of the accretion flow simply scale with
mass and which don't.

Visitors

Chris Done will be arriving at 11am and will using the visitors room 219 on the second floor.

BBC Stargazing Live 2013

On January 8th, 9th and 10th BBC will be airing their third Stargazing Live series and to coincide with this the BBC have partnered with the University's Astronomical Society, academic groups and other local astronomy societies to host astronomy events and activities on the evening of Wednesday 9th (17:00-22:00) and the day of Saturday 12th (11:00-17:00) of January. The events will include activities such as outdoor observing sessions in Chancellor's Court (weather permitting) as well as planetarium shows, family performances and talks from people such as Prof Bill Chaplin, Dr Martin Hendry, Dr Sam George and others. There will also be a telescope surgery, and many hands-on activities lead by members of the UoB AstroSoc and the Birmingham Astronomical Society. Additional activities are also being provided by members of the Gravitational Waves group and the School of Mathematics. The activities will be based in Physics West, Poynting Physics and the Nuffield building.

This is a free event, however it is also ticketed. If you would like a ticket or more information please get in touch with us at astrosoc@guild.bham.ac.uk or visit http://astrosoc.org.uk/index.php/2013/01/07/bbc-stargazing-live-2013-visitor-information

Week Commencing 10 December 2012

Astrophysics and Space Research Seminar

Tuesday 11 December 2012 1200 - 1300 Hours Physics West Library Christopher Berry (Cambridge)- Extreme mass ratio bursts and supermassive black holes.

Friday Science Meeting

Friday 14 December 2012 1200 - 1300 Hours Physics West 106 Ben Aylott - The rise of the machines and strategies for mitigating the risks po sed by artificial general intelligences.

Coffee & Cake

Chiara Mingarelli is planning the above event, those interested please complete the on-line Doodle poll to assist with the scheduling.

Fire Training for All Staff and Post Graduates

Tuesday 11 December 2012 1100 - 1200 Hours Poynting LLT (Priority to staff with surnames K-Z)

College Christmas Social

Tuesday 11 December 2012, 1700-2000 Hours The Barber Institute. Please contact Liam Singleton (l.singleton@bham.ac.uk) as soon as possible to avoid disappointment as the venue can only hold a m aximum of 180 guests. Drinks and snacks will be provided.

Visitors

Christopher Berry (Cambridge) will be visiting on Tuesday 11 December, when not in the seminar he will be using the visitors room (219). Steven Taylor, University of Cambridge will be visiting on Monday 10 December fo r the whole week, he will also be using the visitors room (219).