Institute of Physics public lectures

IOP logoThe Institute of Physics Yorkshire and the North East Branch provides a varied programme of evening lectures. Everyone is welcome and all the lectures are free of charge. No tickets are required – just turn up!

All lectures start at 5pm, with tea and coffee served from 4.20pm. Lectures take place in the Hicks Building, Hounsfield Road, Sheffield, S3 7RH.

Interactive campus map

Upcoming lectures

Dr Stephen WilkinsTuesday 18 February 2020, 5pm | Venue LT 7, Hicks

Happy Birthday Hubble

Dr Stephen Wilkins, University of Sussex

The Hubble Space Telescope was launched into orbit almost 30 years ago. Thanks in part to its unique position above the Earth's atmosphere and five manned servicing missions it has maintained its position as one of the world’s premier observatories to this day. Over its 30 year career Hubble has had an unprecedented scientific and cultural impact; discoveries extending from the outer Solar System to the edge of the observable Universe have revolutionised our understanding of astronomy and cosmology while its spectacular images have inspired the wider public’s wonder.

Stephen will introduce Hubble and present some of its scientific highlights including its role in revealing the presence of the Dark Energy, to the imaging of planets outside our own solar system.He will also discuss Hubble’s upcoming successor, the Webb Telescope which is due to be launched in early 2021.

Stephen was born in Yorkshire and completed his undergraduate education at Durham University. He then completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge before taking a 3 year research position at the University of Oxford. Since 2013 Stephen has been faculty at the University of Sussex and is now a Reader in Astronomy and Public Engagement Fellow. His research mostly focuses on understanding the formation of the first stars and galaxies through both space-based observations and computer simulations.

Frank CloseTuesday May 5 2020, 5pm | Lecture Theatre A, Hicks Building

Trinity – The treachery and pursuit of the most dangerous spy in history

Frank Close OBE, Oxford University

Trinity was the codename for the test explosion of the atomic bomb in New Mexico on 16 July 1945. Frank Close tells the story of the bomb's metaphorical father, Rudolf Peierls (who discovered the concept in Birmingham in 1940); his intellectual son, the atomic spy Klaus Fuchs who worked with him in Birmingham and Los Alamos; and the ghosts of the security services in Britain, the USA and USSR. Frank will reveal new insights from MI5 files in the National Archives, and documents of the FBI and KGB. He has also overthrown a misconception lasting 60 years that J Edgar Hoover was central to Fuchs' exposure: the real hero was probably GCHQ. By using FOI and contacts abroad to access documents that remain classified in the UK, he has also found evidence that Fuchs passed information about the Hydrogen bomb to the USSR as early as September 1945. For the first time, Fuchs' role on the top secret British A bomb project from 1946 to his arrest in 1950 is examined, not least how Fuchs used this to cover his tracks when meeting his Soviet contact in London.

Frank Close OBE is Professor Emeritus of Theoretical Physics at Oxford University, and Emeritus Fellow of Exeter College. He won the IOP's Kelvin Medal for outstanding communications in the public understanding of physics in 1996, and the Royal Society Faraday Medal for excellence in science communication in 2013. He is the author of 19 popular books on physics; today's talk is based on his latest book "Trinity" - copies will be available at the talk.