Physics Schools Christmas Lectures 2012 4th & 5th December

"Powering the Future - The Physics of Fusion"

A Lecture by Dr Melanie Windridge

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Find out how the reaction that powers the sun could provide a clean energy source for the future. This exciting, interactive talk builds on everyday physics to explain groundbreaking research.

 We will discuss:

  • The physics behind the fusion reaction that powers the sun;
  • How physicists are trying to replicate the fusion reaction in massive experiments at places such as JET, the world’s largest nuclear fusion experiment at Culham
  • The potential for harnessing the energy produced in the fusion reaction as a future alternative to fossil fuels.

With hands-on demonstrations we will explore the challenges of creating facilities that can withstand the high temperatures of the sun in order to create the fusion reaction on earth.

Dr Melanie Windridge has a PhD in Fusion Energy from Imperial College London, and spent much of her research time at the JET research facility at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy. In 2010 Melanie was the Institute of Physics Schools lecturer and spoke to over 10,000 students about fusion. Melanie has made many TV and radio appearances, including BBCs Bang Goes the Theory and Country Tracks, and the National Geographic Channel’s Madlabs. As well as communicating science, Melanie works as a physics consultant for a company helping blue-chip clients develop inventions.


"Physics and the Games - A Winning Formula"

Lecture by Sheffield Hallam University’s world leading Centre for Sports Engineering Research Team

(Dr David James, Heather Driscol and Leon Foster)

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Find out how scientists and engineers are using physics to boost the chances of national success in the London 2012 Olympics.

This inspiring lecture will reveal how:

  • Newtonian physics dominates the world of sport
  • Developments in engineering and technology have defined many of the key periods of sporting history
  • Key technologies have allowed athletes to push the boundaries of human performance


The lectures will be delivered by a team from Sheffield Hallam University’s world leading Centre for Sports Engineering Research. The centre is providing technological support for many Olympic teams and has a strong reputation for public engagement activity.


The team includes Dr David James - who was the Institute’s Schools and Colleges lecturer in 2004 and the Royal Academy of Engineering’s first Public Engagement Fellow in 2009 - as well as Heather Driscol and Leon Foster. Heather and Leon both have undergraduate degrees in sports engineering from the University of Bath and are currently in the process of completing their PhDs. Leon has been modelling the impact of technology on athletic performance and Heather has focused on understanding the traction of football boots; both will be newly qualified when the
tour commences in 2012.


For more information please contact: Gill Stallard or telephone (01792) 295720

Download a programme:

Tuesday 4th December

Wednesday 5th December