Fred Combley Colloquia

Fred CombleyThe Fred Combley Lectures are a series of annual lectures given by distinguished researchers in the fields of physics and astrophysics. These lectures are of general interest to the major areas of research in the department.

The series is named after Fred Combley, a former Head of Department (1990-1995) and Dean of the Faculty of Science (1995-1998). Fred was an experimental particle physicist who worked with leptons and photons, contributing in the mid 70s to the first high-precision measurement of the anomalous magnetic moment of the muon. His work confirmed that positive and negative muons had the same anomalous magnetic moment, set a much improved upper limit on the muon electric dipole moment and tested the time dilation formula of special relativity.

Despite the heavy administrative load he shouldered as Head of Department and then Dean of Faculty, he continued to be a conscientious and supportive supervisor of research students and an effective group leader. Fred was an inspirational and innovative teacher. He pioneered the use of personal computers in university teaching and learning, and later was the first member of the department to develop an entirely student-led lecture course. He was immensely popular with the students and much in demand as a project supervisor.

An excellent speaker himself, Fred was passionate about communication and an enthusiastic supporter of departmental seminars and colloquia. The bell donated to the Department in his memory recalls his habit of rousting colleagues and students out of their offices to come and listen to a seminar, even if its subject matter was not immediately relevant to their research interests.

The information for the invited talks is below, with the respective contact person in each case.

Schedule for 2018 Colloquia

Area of research Name Date, time and location

Inorganic semiconductors

Professor Jonathan Finley, Technical University Munich

Contact: Professor Mark Fox

14:00, Wednesday 14th March 2018
LT 7, Hicks Building


Professor Don Pollacco, University of Warwick

Professor Don Pollacco is one of the leading scientists in the field of extrasolar planets.  He was responsible for the most successful ground based plant detection experiment SuperWASP (Wide Angle Search for Planets). Don Pollacco is a senior member in the UK Exoplanets community and science coordinator for the future ESA science mission PLATO (PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars) which is expected to be launched in 2025.  Further research interests are circumbinary systems and evaporating and disintegrating planets around bright stars.

Contact: Dr Joachim Bestenlehner ( 

13:00, Wednesday 16th May 2018
LT 7, Hicks building