About Me
I am a third year PhD student (my how time has flown...) working within the ATLAS Collaboration, which is one of the multi-purpose detectors installed at the Large Hadron Collider in CERN. I have completed a period of 18 monthes living and working out at CERN on a long-term attachement from my home institution (Royal Holloway, Univeristy of London). This tumblr is a platform from which I can try to educate and inform others interested in particle physics and wonderful science, as well as provide some insight into the workings of a PhD.

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You can find my personal tumblr here.

Showing posts tagged science

Blog - IOP Conference

Things have been super busy this week for the Royal Holloway particle physics department. We were honoured with the opportunity (read: it was our turn) to host the annual Institute of Physics (IOP) Conference on High Energy Particle Physics (HEPP) and Astro Particle Physics (APP).

It is a large UK conference attended by members of our community. This year we had around 250 people registered to attend. Everyone in our department was on hand to help in the smooth running of the whole conference, and this was my first experience of a conference from the inside. Whilst I was only helping out in the day-to-day running (registration/ AV) the stress levels were clearly high amongst the organising academics. Indeed, this was an opportunity to showcase Royal Holloway to people around the UK such that in years to come they will look back on our venue and on the event with find memories.

The conference is split into the normal plenary and parallel sessions over the course of three days. Normally, third year PhD students with research council funding are expected to give a talk on their own research and field some questions. I was no exception to this, and I was naturally quite nervous over the whole experience! I’m pleased to say that I think my talk went quite well (the feedback I received was positive and I even received some constructive questions which is always nice!).

The conference dinner is always looked forward to, when attending these events, and I think we did ourselves proud by hosting a dinner event at Ascot Racecourse. The venue was superb and certainly something different and to remember.

If you want to see the talks, all are publicly available at our group site - www.pp.rhul.ac.uk/iop2014.

Now it is all over, and I think normality will slowly descend back upon us within our department, but it has been an awesome experience!

The Theory of Inflation (from The NY Times)

This small graphic explains quite concisely what the Theory of Inflation is. In particular, the 7th box details what the results from BICEP2 yesterday are related to. If it stands up to scrutiny, the polarisation of light they have seen can only come from inflation.

Women in Science (and why such an identification in this title should not exist)

This is a nice summary showing the issues which face all the focus groups trying to remove the gender divide in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). 

At Royal Holloway a couple of weeks ago (on my birthday no less :) ) Athene Donald came to give a seminar on “Women in Science”, her own career and the work she has been doing to try and improve the situation. 

For me, the clear difference comes from early age stereotypes which is then propagated through time into adulthood where these subconscious stereotypes remain. It is very difficult to overcome subconscious biases in anything, but I think the first step is realising that there isn’t a clear reason why women can’t have as a successful career in science as men.

In the past, misogyny played its role in preventing women from having any academic interests. However, this means that the majority of the great scientists in the 1800s and 1900s were male. This means their portraits adorn many walls, looking down on new students, so that even in university, there is perhaps a lack of clear, obvious female role models. 

At an even younger age, having segregation between toys “designed” for boys and girls imposes an assumption that is a gender divide in “things people are good at”. In reality, the only difference between gender should be hormonal. This might mean that women feel more empathy than men and this might cause a shift in the ratio of genders doing work related to that. However, hormones should not play a role in how well you can calculate a problem in applied mathematics or whether you should be better or worse at STEM subject.

I think the most telling issue with unconscious bias comes from studies that show with identical applications, but differing names, women are as likely as men to choose a male candidate in science. The issue here is that a woman in science has already overcome all the unconscious biases in her field and has persevered, perhaps still in a male-dominated subject, which has only served to support the unconscious stereotypes in her mind that men are typically better than women at science.

To defeat this problem requires commitment from all sides, but primarily it requires re-education of people and a change in attitudes towards science. These changes cannot happen gradually, because we need to work at every age level simultaneously to wipe out the thoughts that a gender divide in science is expected. It should not be expected and we should all fight to help as many people (men or women) reach their full potential without being subjected to unconscious biases and stereotyping.

(Source: psicologicamenteblog)

(Reblogged from tinydrakons)
(Reblogged from astronomnomy)

Worldwide Hacking to Visualise the Internet


This beautiful animation (seriously give it a few seconds to load!), effectively showing the world at work, actually comes from some 420,000 computers which were hacked by an anonymous researcher. The hacking was low-level and relatively friendly - the computer was pinged from time to time to check its connectivity and it did not interfere with the main programs being run (and even a message was left when it was done explaining what had happened and a contact email).

There is further information available on this post on Motherboard, and whilst no-one will condone hacking activities, one can still marvel at the data flow which can be visualised.