Presentation – Year 13, Sam Harding

Presentation – Year 13, Sam Harding

This week’s presentation was on the topic of infinity and the different types of it that occur throughout mathematics.

After a brief historical introduction, Sam showed us the famous tortoise and hare problem. That was followed by a discussion of improper integrals and fractals which provided an opportunity to introduce some of the Year 12s to calculus and the exponential function. The talk finished with a brief discussion of aleph-null and cardinality of different sets, followed by planning for our lecture trips in the coming weeks.

Presentation – Chris Ross

Presentation – Chris Ross

Chris’ presentation this week was on the topic of quantum mechanics and focused on the uncertainty principle and the photoelectric effect, both very important aspects of quantum theory.

As Chris explained, the uncertainty principle puts a limit on the precision with which we can know the momentum and position of a particle simultaneously whereas the photoelectric effect explains why electrons are emitted from the surface of a metal when light of the right frequency is shone on it. Callum gave an excellent presentation, despite the challenging nature of the subject matter; you can download his presentation as a PDF file at the end on the page.

Speaker – Professor Arttu Rajantie, Imperial College, London

Speaker – Professor Arttu Rajantie, Imperial College, London

This week the TBSHS Maths and Physics Society were delighted to welcome Professor Arttu Rajantie from Imperial College. His lecture took place during enrichment on Wednesday 26th November and was attended by a large group of year 12 and 13s, as well as several gifted and talented students from lower down the school.

The Professor is an admissions tutor and also a member of Imperial’s Theoretical Physics research group, specialising in applications of quantum field theory in cosmology and particle physics. More relevantly to year 13 students, he has also worked at the Large Hadron Collider and is heavily involved in the MoEDAL experiment. This provided an excellent insight for the year 13s who will be visiting CERN in Geneva next February half term.

In addition to his work at Imperial College, Professor Rajantie is also a visiting professor at King’s College London and an external examiner for the University of Sussex. During the 5 years he spend in Cambridge he worked with Professor Ron Horgan, one of the society’s guests last year and husband to the school’s own languages teacher, Dr. Frances Horgan.

Professor Rajantie’s talk focused on the role of the Higgs field in particle physics and how the mechanism the gives elementary particles their mass actually works. With an analogy that involved rolling a cake tin with a magnet attached along a table, he convincingly demonstrated the symmetrical properties of the Higgs field and how oscillations give rise to mass. In his talk, Professor Rajantie also discussed the standard model of particle physics and the relative strengths of the fundamental forces of nature, explaining why massless force carriers give rise to forces acting over an infinite distance.

There was just enough time afterwards for several questions from the audience and for the presentation of a ‘thank you gift’ as a token of our appreciation. We would like to express our gratitude that Professor Rajantie took time out of his busy schedule to come and visit us and give a very interesting lecture.

Presentation – Charlie Jonas

Presentation – Charlie Jonas

The weekly presentation today was given by myself and covered the topic of differential geometry, specifically using integration to find the length of an arc.

I started with an brief overview of integration and differentiation and the use of infinitesimals in calculus which is highly relevant since the derivation of the arc length formula involves taking infinite tangents. Using a graph of the function y^2=x^3, I showed how the formula is derived simply from rearranging Pythagoras’ theorem. We then used this to complete an example question from the OCR MEI FP3 maths syllabus, an additional part of our A-level maths course that we do not normally study in school. I ended the presentation by touching on the similarly related field of line integration which is especially relevant for calculation involving scalar fields in physics. I hope my presentation was enjoyable and accessible by all!

Cambridge Physics Centre Lecture – Relativity

Cambridge Physics Centre Lecture – Relativity

This week we took a trip to the Department of Physics at the University of Cambridge where Dr Julia Riley gave a lecture entitled ‘Relativity – understanding the connection between space and time’.