Author: FoNS News

Physics student success at the MIT ENERGYHACK 2022

A team of Physics undergraduate students recently travelled to the USA to compete in ENERGYHACK 2022, an annual competition at MIT, with support coming from the Dean’s Fund.

Read more about the team’s experiences and stateside success!

By George Su and Xavier Keogh

Over the weekend of 11-13 November we, a team of four 3rd year students comprised of two theoretical physicists (George Su and Xavier Keogh), a material scientist (Zanna Buckland) and a computer scientist (Tanish Goel), attended the MIT EnergyHack 2022.

The EnergyHack is an annual competition at MIT where teams of students from elite universities across the world spend 36 continuous hours working towards creating solutions for various sustainability challenges our world currently faces.

Reflective of the difficulties of the world’s low carbon transition, the challenges require multidisciplinary skills. Scientific, engineering and computational ingenuity was required to come up with the solutions, but business strategy and public speaking was required to make the solution practical and economically viable. (more…)

Developing ecological field skills on the Plymouth marine field course

Nell Pates is an undergraduate student on the BSc Biological Sciences course in the Department of Life Sciences.

Here Nell reflects on a week spent in Plymouth for the marine ecology field course, part of the Ecological Field Skills second year optional module.

By Nell Pates

The week we spent in Plymouth for the marine ecology field course was the best of my degree so far. The course was exhausting at times but also incredibly interesting and fun.

We spent about half our time learning new things. We visited different marine habitats and learned field skills both on the shore and out at sea on boats.

The other half of the time, we were given almost complete freedom to do our group work, applying what we had learned to whichever marine environment interested us the most. (more…)

Bringing physics to life: new first-year labs, a student experience

Imperial undergraduates, Anubha Bal and Warren Smith, recently took a little time out from their studies to star in a short video, joining staff members to share thoughts on the new first year labs in the Department of Physics.

In this post, they reflect in more detail on how the new facilities have impacted their learning and experience of experimental physics, and also their career aspirations.

By Anubha Bal and Warren Smith

This past year, we and the rest of our cohort of first-year physicists had the fortune to be the first students to experience the newly refurbished labs in Blackett. Here, we share our experience of this and how it has shaped us and our perspective on experimental physics.

(more…)

The bigger picture: collaboration can bring research to life

Dr Adam SykulskiDr Adam Sykulski is a Senior Lecturer in the Statistics section of Imperial’s Department of Mathematics. He recently attended an Environment and Sustainability theme event at Silwood Park, organised as part of Silwood’s 75th Anniversary celebrations.

In this post, Dr Sykulski reflects on why he attended the event, what he took away – valuable information about funding strategies, grant applications and potential collaborators – and reasons why researchers at all career stages should engage.

By Dr Adam Sykulski

My research is in mathematical statistics with a focus on data that are spatiotemporal – in other words, data that are collected at multiple instances over space and time and are in some way connected. Such mathematical challenges, while interesting in their own right, truly come to life when they find an application domain to work closely with. In my view, there isn’t a more natural domain for this than the environmental sciences! As I’ve aimed towards such a collaboration to help build the impact and usefulness of my research, over the years I’ve been drawn to working with oceanographers.

Of course, the statistical challenges in oceanography – modelling plastic pollution, oil spills and global warming, for example – are pressing and important. What really drew me in as a statistician, however, were the fascinating physical structures that underpin oceanographic data, but are in reality contaminated by observational noise and uncertainty, thus requiring a cross-disciplinary approach to resolve the scientific challenge. (more…)

Valuing biodiversity’s future in a changing world 

75th anniversary - Silwood ParkOn 21 July 2022 the Silwood Park campus at Imperial College London will welcome speakers and delegates from Imperial, University College London, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and UK Parliament to debate a critically important topic: the future of biodiversity.

In this post Science Communication Master’s student, Sascha Pare, examines why it’s so important for scientists and policymakers to have frank and honest discussions. She also considers the devastating consequences on the horizon if we lose sight of biodiversity commitments for short-term economic gains.

By Sascha Pare

The future of biodiversity on Earth is uncertain. Without joint and systemic action to halt the loss of species and habitats, scientists have warned of a possible sixth mass extinction with devastating consequences for humankind. In the race to mitigate the interlinked effects of biodiversity loss and climate change before it is too late, scientists and policymakers are coming together to discuss long-term solutions. (more…)

Make it meaningful: RCSU’s Science Challenge 2022

Every year the Royal College of Science Union‘s (RCSU) international science communication competition, the Science Challenge, welcomes entrants from schools across the globe. This year’s competition focused on climate change, with questions set by Professor Lord Robert Winston, Professor Kathy Sykes, Professor Richard Templer and Dr Paulo Ceppi.

In this post RCSU Vice President Operations, Trinity Stenhouse, reflects on what led her to the VPO position as a first year undergraduate. why the Science Challenge has been designed to focus on sci comm for non-specialist audiences, and the importance of making science meaningful.

You can also find out more about this year’s winning entries! (more…)

A free postdoc and publication opportunities… interested?

Dr Viraj Perera
Dr Viraj Perera

Dr Viraj Perera is Director of Industry Partnerships and Commercialisation in the Faculty of Natural Sciences. In this post he highlights the reasons why the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programme, run by Innovate UK, is such a valuable opportunity for collaboration and funding, detailing how FoNS academics can learn more about the scheme and its benefits. 

By Viraj Perera

Championing translational research

Innovate UK is the nation’s innovation agency and is a part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Its approved budget for 2021-22 is £667 million, which is greater than the budgets approved for BBSRC, AHRC and ESRC funding combined. This clearly indicates a major thrust towards championing translational research in solving real-world problems in industry settings. (more…)

Through the eyes of a STEM student writer: Imperial Bioscience Review

The Imperial Bioscience Review (IBR) is a student-led project, publishing articles on emergent and established fields of bioscience. The team aims to remove barriers to science by providing accurate, up-to-date, unbiased and inclusive articles that are free-to-access.

Life Sciences undergraduate student, Andres Hernandez Maduro, is a contributor. In this post he shares insights into IBR’s editorial and publishing process, and why it’s such a rewarding role alongside his curricular studies.

By Andres Hernandez Maduro

A collage of three of the Imperial Bioscience Review magazine covers

Sci comm and collaboration

Imperial Bioscience Review (IBR) published pieces are short, evidence-based summaries of topics that interest student contributors – and these articles are made freely available online. Since its inception just over a year ago, IBR has extended its base to over 100 writers across several undergraduate and postgraduate courses. With articles published online on a weekly basis, the collection of work has quickly grown to over 400 review pieces. In addition, IBR produces a termly magazine to showcase our writers’ work to the college community, kindly supported by the Department of Life Sciences. (more…)

Animation: Target Malaria’s approach to Stakeholder Engagement Activities

In this post, Naima Sykes, Global Stakeholder Engagement Manager for Target Malaria, shares an animation video that the Target Malaria team developed, detailing their approach to stakeholder engagement activities. She also shares insights on how the consortium engages meaningfully with their varied stakeholders, and why this is so essential for their research.

By Naima Sykes

Target Malaria is a not-for-profit research consortium that aims to develop and share new, cost-effective and sustainable genetic technologies to modify mosquitoes and lower malaria transmission. By reducing the population of malaria mosquitoes, we aim to bring down the transmission of the disease, allowing people in affected areas to live without the burden of malaria and freeing up resources currently used to combat the disease. (more…)

Beauty of a more colourful world: CEP X Dyson X ICBS PhD Flash Mob #1

In December 2021 PhD students from Imperial’s Centre for Environmental Policy (CEP), Dyson School of Design Engineering (Dyson) and Business School (ICBS), organised an event in response to COP26 and the environmental crisis.

‘Beauty of a More Colourful World’ brought together twelve postgraduate research students from six different departments to showcase how their research ties into addressing environmental problems. In this blog post one of the organisers, Yurong Yu, reflects on the experience.

Author: Yurong Yu | Photo credits: Yunwan Tao.

My fellow co-organiser, Neel Le Penru, and I initiated this event because we realised that the complexity of environmental problems requires interdisciplinary collaboration, so opportunities for interdepartmental communication among researchers is vital. It’s also crucial for junior researchers to learn how to communicate their research to a non-specialist audience, to achieve a greater impact.

Organisers of the event
Organisers of the event, from left to right: Neel Le Penru, Judy Xie, Yurong Yu, Ric Zhang

After some discussion we came up with the idea of inviting interactive and entertaining presentations from multiple departments, using different formats such as demos, prototypes, installations and games to inspire members of our Imperial community. The title, Beauty of a more colourful world, not only refers to the colourful environmental system, but also our diverse Imperial research community. The “flash mob” element came about because of the tight timeline – normally an event like this takes months to plan and carry out, but we didn’t want to miss the perfect window created by COP26, so we sped up and made it come true in five weeks! (more…)