Ciaran Jones and Matthew Acevski are final-year MSci students from the Department of Physics who helped model aspects of the JUICE mission, launching on 13 April, which will explore the icy moons orbiting Jupiter. In this blog post, they tell us the science behind Imperial’s instrument aboard the mission: JMAG.
By Ciaran Jones and Matthew Acevski
The European Space Agency’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) mission promises to be one of the most exciting feats in space exploration. Due to launch on 13 April 2023 onboard Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket, the spacecraft will use the gravitational fields of Venus and Earth to accelerate towards the outer Solar System. We expect JUICE to reach the Jupiter system by the early 2030s.
The key scientific objectives of JUICE are to characterise three of Jupiter’s moons: Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto to determine their potential habitability. We believe these moons contain liquid water, in the form of saltwater oceans, beneath their icy surfaces. And we know that water, as we know it on Earth, is a prerequisite for life to succeed. However, predictions for the thicknesses of these oceans are on the order of hundreds of kilometres – significantly more than Earth’s (a few kilometres).
Sanjeevani Panditharatne is a PhD student in the Space and Atmospheric Physics Group in the Department of Physics. She writes to us from the icy mountains of Andøya, Norway, where she is weathering snow storms to study how cirrus clouds affect the Earth’s warming.
By Sanjeevani Panditharatne
I’m part of a team of three who have headed to Andøya, a remote Norwegian island inside the Arctic circle to better understand the link between high-altitude ice clouds and their climate impact within the far-infrared region!
Abigail Croker is a PhD Student in the Centre for Environmental Policy, funded by the SSCP DTP, Grantham Institute, and affiliated with the Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society. In this post, she tells us about the challenges the world faces when tackling wildfires in the era of climate change. Her fieldwork in the Tsavo Conservation Area in Kenya tells us that we need to look beyond the Global North for fire management practices.
The Royal College of Science Union (RSCU) is launching 2023’s Science Challenge – an annual competition open to Imperial undergraduates and Master’s students, as well as high school students in their last four years of school. It invites participants to create compelling and entertaining pieces of science communication. We talked to Vanessa Madu, a final year student from the Department of Mathematics and this year’s RSCU Science Challenge Chair.
Researchers from the Plasma Physics Group talk about how 2022’s biggest fusion breakthrough affects their research at Imperial College London, and how their simulations may one day help scientists achieve commercial fusion energy.
By Aidan Crilly and Brian Appelbe
Nuclear fusion dominated headlines around the world last week, but our plasma physics work at Imperial College London has been a source of excitement for scientists interested in fundamental physics as well as those hoping for a breakthrough in fusion energy.
Students from the MSc Ecology, Evolution and Conservation course ventured to Lundy Island to learn fundamental fieldwork techniques. Max Khoo tells us about his experience birdwatching, accompanied by his photographs of the island’s wildlife and landscape.
By Max Khoo
It was 2.00 on a Monday, 28 November 2022. Alarms were ringing, and 33 students from the MSc Ecology, Evolution and Conservation course had been up since just past midnight. Despite this, we were more than excited for what was to come, for it was not like any other week on campus. We would be travelling across land, air and sea to a remote island off Devon where the Bristol Channel meets the Atlantic Ocean: Lundy Island, where we would be spending our time learning about biodiversity and population biology on a field course.
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…)
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.
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…)