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Department of Physics

Physics at Oxford aspire to be one of the best physics departments in the world by conducting cutting-edge research and by teaching and developing the careers of the next generation of physicists.
Physics work on major facilities worldwide, develop the most advanced experimental techniques and the most sophisticated theoretical methods to investigate nature at every scale.
Oxford University Physics Department pursues fundamental science and in doing so make discoveries that enable them to contribute directly to tackling the challenging problems facing society.

Series associated with Department of Physics

Astrophysics: An Introduction
Department of Physics
Lab, Camera, Action!
Oxford Physics Alumni
Oxford Physics Public Lectures
Particle Physics (Alan Barr)
Physics and Philosophy: Arguments, Experiments and a Few Things in Between
Physics Flash Talks
Reduced Density Matrices in Quantum Physics and Role of Fermionic Exchange Symmetry
Stargazing
The Oxford Solid State Basics
The Physics of Fine-Tuning
Theoretical Physics - From Outer Space to Plasma
Thinking with Things: The Oxford Collection
# Episode Title Description People Date
1 Lion Statue On whether there were ever lions in Egypt. Today, there are no lions roaming wild in north Africa, but evidence from ancient Egypt suggests that lions once did. David Whyte Macdonald 23 Jan 2017
2 Henry VIII Renaissance Medal On Henry VIII and the Founding of the Church of England Minted at London in 1545, this medal shows a bust of Henry VIII, with inscriptions in Hebrew and Greek on the reverse. Diarmaid MacCulloch 23 Jan 2017
3 Meissen porcelain chocolate cup and tea bowl On arranged marriages among royalty. Helen Watanabe-O'Kelly 23 Jan 2017
4 Arab robe worn by T. E. Lawrence On Lawrence of Arabia and wearing Arab robes. T. E. Lawrence, or Lawrence of Arabia was infamous for his scruffy appearance when in the British Khaki uniform, and wore it as little as possible. Eugene Rogan 23 Jan 2017
5 Silver-gilt carriage clock This travelling calendar carriage clock dates to 1747–1823. Why would such a clock need to have both lunar and sun time represented on it? With Professor Chris Lintott Astrophysics, University of Oxford. Chris Lintott 23 Jan 2017
6 Ennui by Walter Richard Sickert On Viginia Woolf's interpretation of Walter Sickert's painting of Ennui. Dame Hermione Lee 23 Jan 2017
7 Mummified Child On growing up and dying in ancient and modern populations. Sarah Harper 23 Jan 2017
8 Carved Stone Ball We still do not know why these stone balls were created. They date to the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age, between 3200 and 1500 BC. Marcus du Sautoy 23 Jan 2017
9 Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus by Édouard Manet Are Eastern Art and Western Art basically the same, and what is painting for? On Édouard Manet, Cézanne and their similarity to Chinese paintings. With Professor Craig Clunas Art History, University of Oxford. Craig Clunas 23 Jan 2017
10 Tombstone of a Muslim girl On what were people’s feelings about death and the dead in North Africa a thousand years ago? What does this tombstone tell us? With Professor Julia Bray, Arabic, University of Oxford. Julia Bray 23 Jan 2017
11 The Observer Strikes Back What is an observer? In the fifth and final part of their discussion, Jim Hartle and Bernard Carr discuss the nature of observers. Jim Hartle, Bernard Carr 06 Dec 2016
12 No Boundaries for Quantum Cosmology Where is the observer in the universe? In the fourth part of their discussion, Jim Hartle and Bernard Carr discuss Jim Hartle’s no-boundary proposal. Bernard Carr, Jim Hartle 06 Dec 2016
13 Physics and Philosophy What are the limits of physics? In the third part of their discussion, Bernard Carr and Jim Hartle talk about the point at which physics ends and philosophy begins. Bernard Carr, Jim Hartle 06 Dec 2016
14 The Quantum and Cosmological Scales How do we combine our theory of the very small with our theory of the largest scales of the universe? In the second part of their discussion, Jim Hartle and Bernard Carr hash out the connections between cosmology and quantum mechanics. Jim Hartle, Bernard Carr 06 Dec 2016
15 What Fine Tunings Are There? Is the universe fine-tuned for life? In the first part of their discussion, Bernard Carr and Jim Hartle discuss how physical theories might contain unexplained assumptions that are necessary for the existence of life. Bernard Carr, Jim Hartle 06 Dec 2016
16 Astronomy at the Highest Energies: Exploring the Extreme Universe with Gamma Rays Physics Colloquium 25 November 2016 delivered by Dr Jamie Holder Jamie Holder 30 Nov 2016
17 Exotic combinations of quarks - A journey of fifty years Physics Colloquium 11 November 2016 delivered by Professor Jon Rosner Jon Rosner 17 Nov 2016
18 Our Simple but Strange Universe The 13th Hintze Biannual Lecture delivered by Professor David Spergel David Spergel 17 Nov 2016
19 Topology and the Classification of Matter: New Physics Hidden in Plain Sight Third lecture "More is different" - how states of matter emerge from quantum theory Saturday morning of Theoretical Physics. With Professor Steve Simon, introduction by Professor John WheelerThird Steve Simon 01 Nov 2016
20 Magnets, superfluids and superconductors Second lecture "More is different" - how states of matter emerge from quantum theory Saturday morning of Theoretical Physics. With Professor Fabian Essler, introduction by Professor John Wheeler. Fabian Essler 01 Nov 2016
21 Identical particles: from one to many First lecture in the "More is different" - how states of matter emerge from quantum theory Saturday morning of Theoretical Physics. With Professor John Chalker, introduction by Professor John Wheeler. John Chalker 01 Nov 2016
22 Searching for - and finding! Gravitational Waves Physics Colloquium 27th October 2016 delivered by Professor Gabriela Gonzalez Gabriela Gonzalez 01 Nov 2016
23 Visualizing Quantum Matter Physics Colloquium 28 October 2016 delivered by Professor Séamus Davis Séamus Davis 01 Nov 2016
24 Atmospheric Circulation and Climate Change Physics Colloquium 21st October 2016 delivered by Professor Theodore (Ted) Shepherd Theodore (Ted) Shepherd 01 Nov 2016
25 Creative Commons The explosion mechanism of massive stars Physics Colloquium 14th October 2016 delivered by Professor Thierry Foglizzo Thierry Foglizzo 27 Oct 2016
26 DMRG in Quantum Chemistry: From its relation to traditional methods to n-orbital density matrices and beyond In my talk I will attempt to provide an overview on the application of the density matrix renormalization group (DMRG) algorithm in quantum chemistry. Markus Reiher 21 Oct 2016
27 (Almost) 25 Years of DMRG - What Is It About? In this talk, I will introduce DMRG both from the historical (statistical) and modern (matrix product state) perspective, highlighting why it has become the method of choice for one-dimensional quantum systems in and out of equilibrium. Ulrich Schollwöck 21 Oct 2016
28 Openness of a Many-fermion Quantum System from the Generalized Pauli Principle Information about the interaction of a many-electron quantum system with its environment is encoded within the one-electron density matrix (1-RDM). Romit Chakraborty 21 Oct 2016
29 Generalized Pauli Constraints in Reduced Density Matrix Functional Theory Reduced Density Matrix Functional Theory is a method that relies on the 1-1 correspondence between the ground state wavefunction of many electron systems and the first order reduced density matrix(1RDM) and uses the second one as its fundamental valuable. Iris Theophilou 21 Oct 2016
30 Quasipinning and Extended Hartree-Fock Method based on Generalized Pauli Constraints It is now known that fermionic natural occupation numbers (NON) do not only obey Pauli’s exclusion principle but are even stronger restricted by the so-called generalized Pauli constraints (GPC). Carlos Benavides-Riveros 21 Oct 2016
31 Fermionic Exchange Symmetry: Quantifying its Influence beyond Pauli’s Exclusion Principle The Pauli exclusion principle has a strong impact on the properties and the behavior of most fermionic quantum systems. Remarkably, even stronger restrictions on fermionic natural occupation numbers follow from the fermionic exchange symmetry. Felix Tennie 21 Oct 2016
32 Pinning of Fermionic Occupation Numbers The Pauli exclusion principle is a constraint on the natural occupation numbers of fermionic states. Matthias Christandl 21 Oct 2016
33 Calculation Of Generalized Pauli Constraints In the talk I am planning to explain two different solutions of N-representability problem and then give the algorithm to calculate GPCs. Murat Altunbulak 21 Oct 2016
34 Quantum Marginal Problem and Generalized Pauli Constraints I will give an introduction to the univariate quantum marginal problem using an elementary mathematical point of view. In particular, I will explain how extremality of the local spectrum carries structural information about the global wave function. David Gross 21 Oct 2016
35 Derivation of the time-dependent Hartree(-Fock)-equation In the talk I will present recent progress in proving closeness of the microscopic and effective description for systems of many fermions. Peter Pickl 21 Oct 2016
36 Physical Meaning of Natural Orbitals and Natural Occupation Numbers We show that the success of reduced density-matrix functional theory in describing molecular dissociation lies in the flexibility provided by fractional occupation numbers while the role of the natural orbitals is minor. Nicole Helbig 21 Oct 2016
37 Introduction and Overview of the Reduced Density Matrix Functional Theory In this presentation, we review the theoretical foundations of RDMFT the most successful approximations and extensions, we assess present-day functionals on applications to molecular and periodic systems and we discuss the challenges and future prospect Nektarios N. Lathiotakis 21 Oct 2016
38 Dark Matter, Fine-Tuned What surprising features of our theories cry out for explanation? Rocky Kolb and Rafael Alves Batista consider features of our theories that look unlikely or unnatural, and what our chances are for building a unified theory that explains them. Rocky Kolb, Rafael Alves Batista 12 Oct 2016
39 Why Now? We’re at a particularly interesting time in the evolution of the universe. Rafael Alves Batista and Rocky Kolb chat about the interesting features of our time, and why we should--or should not--expect to be living now. Rocky Kolb, Rafael Alves Batista 12 Oct 2016
40 Dark Matter Particles What sort of things could dark matter be, and how would we tell which it is? Rafael Alves Batista and Rocky Kolb review the main candidate dark matter particles, and consider our chances for telling which one is out there. Rocky Kolb, Rafael Alves Batista 12 Oct 2016
41 The Future of Dark Matter In the third part of their discussion, Celine Boehm and Justin Read mull over what we can learn from dark matter. Will understanding dark matter lead us to a small change in the standard model, or a large one? Justin Read, Celine Boehm 12 Oct 2016
42 How Does Dark Matter Act? In the second part of their discussion, Celine Boehm and Justin Read talk about how dark matter acts, both on large scales, at early times, and in small galaxies much nearer to us. Justin Read, Celine Boehm 12 Oct 2016
43 How Do We Find Dark Matter? In the first part of their discussion, Justin Read and Celine Boehm go over our evidence for dark matter and consider the possible particles that could make it up. Justin Read, Celine Boehm 12 Oct 2016
44 Two-electron Reduced Density Matrices in Quantum Chemistry and Physics Strongly correlated quantum systems are not easily described with conventional quantum chemistry formalism because the number of non-negligible configurations grows exponen- tially with the number of orbitals actively participating in the correlation. David A. Mazziotti 11 Oct 2016
45 Entanglement Spectroscopy and its application to the fractional quantum Hall phases In this talk, we will give an overview of the entanglement spectroscopy with a focus on to the fractional quantum Hall phases. Nicolas Regnault 11 Oct 2016
46 Why should anyone care about computing with anyons? In this talk Jiannis Pachos discusses a variety of different topics starting from characterizing knot invariants, their quantum simulation with exotic particles called anyons and finally the possible realization of anyons in the laboratory. Jiannis Pachos 11 Oct 2016
47 Quantum Geometry, Exclusion Statistics, and the Geometry of "Flux Attachment" in 2D Landau levels Duncan Haldane talks about Quantum Geometry, Exclusion Statistics, and the Geometry of "Flux Attachment" in 2D Landau levels. Duncan Haldane 11 Oct 2016
48 Exchange symmetry and anyon virial coefficients This talk mentions some aspects of the theory of identical particles, for example, treating neutrons and protons as identical particles distinguished by a quantum number called isotopic spin. Jan Myrheim 11 Oct 2016
49 Exchange statistics - Basic concepts In this talk Jon Magne Leinaas from University of Oslo reviews some of the basic ideas and questions related to the exchange symmetry of identical particles. Jon Magne Leinaas 11 Oct 2016
50 Dark Matter(s) Discussion Celine Boehm, Rocky Kolb, and Justin Read discuss fine-tuning in dark matter models, how we judge astrophysical parameters to be fine-tuned, how we get evidence for dark matter, supersymmetry, and our prospects for finding the dark matter particle. Celine Boehm, Rocky Kolb, Justin Read 04 Oct 2016
51 The Level of Fine-Tuning it Takes to Make a Dark Matter Model Dr. Celine Boehm (Durham) discusses the possible dark matter particles and the constraints--theoretical and experimental--on their parameter space. Celine Boehm 04 Oct 2016
52 The Decade of the Wimp Dr. Rocky Kolb (Chicago) discusses the theoretical reasons to expect dark matter to be a Weakly Interacting Massive Particle (WIMP), and the prospects for finding one. Rocky Kolb 04 Oct 2016
53 Astrophysical Probes of Dark Matter Dr. Justin Read (Surrey) explains the astrophysical evidence for dark matter, and our prospects for getting more information about its nature and interaction by looking at nearby dwarf galaxies. Justin Read 04 Oct 2016
54 New Frontiers in Cosmology In the fourth part of their discussion, Joe Silk and John Peacock conjecture about future developments in cosmology. What part of cosmology is most likely to be fruitful? This discussion was conducted at Trinity College, Oxford, on May 12, 2016. John Peacock, Joe Silk 13 Jul 2016
55 Dark Energy and the Multiverse In the third part of their discussion, Joe Silk and John Peacock consider approaches to dark energy. Should we accept the multiverse, or wait for a theory of quantum gravity? John Peacock, Joe Silk 13 Jul 2016
56 New Data and New Work In the second part of their discussion, Joe Silk and John Peacock discuss possible future sources of data and developments in cosmology. They conjecture about the search for dark matter and its impact on astronomy. John Peacock, Joe Silk 13 Jul 2016
57 New Statistics and Prediction In the first part of their discussion, Joe Silk and John Peacock compare approaches to statistics and how these bear on predictions in cosmology, including Weinberg’s prediction of the cosmological constant. John Peacock, Joe Silk 13 Jul 2016
58 Practical Fine-Tuning In the fourth part of their discussion, Luke Barnes and David Sloan look for ways the fine-tuning problems can lead to advances in physics. Luke Barnes, David Sloan 13 Jul 2016
59 Comparing Theories In the third part of their discussion, Luke Barnes and David Sloan puzzle over the way we compare theories, and whether there can be a theory that doesn’t have some unexplained posits. Luke Barnes, David Sloan 13 Jul 2016
60 New Approaches to Probability In the second part of their discussion, Luke Barnes and David Sloan go over the difference between frequentist and bayesian statistics, and how this difference applies to astrophysics and cosmology. Luke Barnes, David Sloan 13 Jul 2016
61 What Is Fine-Tuning? In the first part of their discussion, Luke Barnes and David Sloan come up with a working understanding of fine-tuning. They also discuss various examples of fine-tuning in physics. This discussion was conducted at Trinity College, Oxford, on May 13, 2016 Luke Barnes, David Sloan 13 Jul 2016
62 Creative Commons Quantum Sensors sans Frontier Physics Colloquium 10th June 2016 delivered by Professor Swapan Chattopadhyay Swapan Chattopadhyay 16 Jun 2016
63 Creative Commons The Origins and Evolution of Exoplanet Atmospheres and Oceans 3rd Annual Lobanov-Rostovsky Lecture in Planetary Geology delivered by Professor Raymond T Pierrehumbert. Raymond T Pierrehumbert 15 Jun 2016
64 The 3rd Workshop in the Physics of Fine Tuning-discussion The 3rd Workshop in the Physics of Fine Tuning - Stars, Galaxies, and the Multiverse, audience and panel discussion John Peacock, Joe Silk, Adrianne Slyz 27 May 2016
65 How do Galaxies know when, where and how quickly to form stars? The 3rd Workshop in the Physics of Fine Tuning - Stars, Galaxies, and the Multiverse, Adrianne Slyz (Oxford) talks about How do Galaxies know when, where and how quickly to form stars? Adrianne Slyz 27 May 2016
66 The Limits of Cosmology The 3rd Workshop in the Physics of Fine Tuning - Stars, Galaxies, and the Multiverse, Joe Silk (Oxford, IAP; John Hopkins) talks about The Limits of Cosmology Joe Silk 27 May 2016
67 Observer Selection and Fine-Tuning Puzzles in Cosmology The 3rd Workshop in the Physics of Fine Tuning - Stars, Galaxies, and the Multiverse, John Peacock (Edinburgh) talks about Observer Selection and Fine-Tuning Puzzles in Cosmology John Peacock 27 May 2016
68 String Theory, Holography and Quark-Gluon Plasma Members of the Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics hosted the ninth Saturday Morning of Theoretical Physics on 21st May 2016. Talk 3 by Dr Andrei Starinets. Andrei Starinets 24 May 2016
69 String Theory and Particle Physics Members of the Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics hosted the ninth Saturday Morning of Theoretical Physics on 21st May 2016. Talk 2 by Professor Andre Lukas. Andre Lukas 24 May 2016
70 String Theory: Then and Now Members of the Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics hosted the ninth Saturday Morning of Theoretical Physics on 21st May 2016. Talk 1 by Professor Joseph Conlon. Joseph Conlon 24 May 2016
71 Creative Commons Bionic Hearing: the Science and the Experience Physics Colloquium 20th May 2016 delivered by Ian Shipsey Ian Shipsey 24 May 2016
72 Unveiling the Birth of Stars and Galaxies The 2016 Hintze Biannual Lecture delivered by Professor Robert Kennicutt Robert Kennicutt 18 May 2016
73 ECHO, ECHo, Echo, echo... When echoes overwhelm Landau damping Physics Colloquium 6th May 2016 delivered by Professor William Dorland William Dorland 11 May 2016
74 Our Place in the Cosmos Astrophysicist and bestselling author Mario Livio delivers a speculative talk about humans place in the cosmos. Mario Livio 10 May 2016
75 Capitalizing on diversity: Outcomes of planet formation as initial conditions for life Michael R. Meyer, Institute for Astronomy, Department of Physics, ETH Zurich, delivers a talk about planet formation and conditions for life to exist. Michael Meyer 10 May 2016
76 Where and how might we search for life? From planet demographics to biosignatures Professor Suzanne Aigrain is an expert exoplanet researcher. In this talk she will outline the methods for detection and characterisation of exoplanets in the context of finding planets that might harbor life. Suzanne Aigrain 10 May 2016
77 What Can We Learn from Planetary Surveys? In the fourth part of their discussion, Suzanne Aigrain and Michael Meyer discuss how we move from observations of exoplanets to conclusions about their types and formation. This discussion was conducted at Trinity College, Oxford, on February 12, 2016. Suzanne Aigrain, Michael Meyer 20 Apr 2016
78 Is Our Solar System Special? In the third part of their discussion, Suzanne Aigrain and Michael Meyer discuss ways in which our solar system is unusual in its makeup and formation. This discussion was conducted at Trinity College, Oxford, on February 12, 2016. Suzanne Aigrain, Michael Meyer 20 Apr 2016
79 Fine-Tuning and the Scientific Process In the second part of their discussion, Michael Meyer and Suzanne Aigrain talk about the way they, as working physicists, think of fine-tuning in complex planetary systems. This discussion was conducted at Trinity College, Oxford, on February 12, 2016. Suzanne Aigrain, Michael Meyer 20 Apr 2016
80 Telescope Design and the Search for Life In the first part of their discussion, Michael Meyer and Suzanne Aigrain lay out the conditions for habitability on an exoplanet and challenges of looking for such planets. This discussion was conducted at Trinity College, Oxford, on February 12, 2016. Suzanne Aigrain, Michael Meyer 20 Apr 2016
81 Life in the Universe: Where and How Can We Find It? In the fourth part of their discussion, Mario Livio and Joe Silk talk about the way planetary systems form and the preconditions for life-bearing planets to exist. This discussion was conducted at Trinity College, Oxford, on February 12, 2016 Joe Silk, Mario Livio 19 Apr 2016
82 Testability, Physics, and the Multiverse In the third part of their discussion, Mario Livio and Joe Silk ask: could our theories exceed our ability to test them? Have they already? This discussion was conducted at Trinity College, Oxford, on February 12, 2016. Joe Silkl, Mario Livio 19 Apr 2016
83 Biosignatures and the Search for Life In the second part of their discussion, Joe Silk and Mario Livio go over biosignatures: things which, if observed, would be evidence for life. This discussion was conducted at Trinity College, Oxford, on February 12, 2016. Joe Silk, Mario Livio 19 Apr 2016
84 Life in the Universe: The Fermi Paradox In the first part of their discussion, Joe Silk and Mario Livio consider the chances of life elsewhere in the universe. They talk about the Fermi paradox and responses to it. This discussion was conducted at Trinity College, Oxford, on February 12, 2016. Joe Silk, Mario Livio 19 Apr 2016
85 Explaining Fine-Tuning Ard Louis in conversation with George Ellis. Part four - Explaining Fine-Tuning. George Ellis, Ard Louis 12 Apr 2016
86 Fine Tuning in Biology Ard Louis in conversation with George Ellis. Part three - Fine Tuning in Biology. George Ellis, Ard Louis 12 Apr 2016
87 Possibility Spaces Ard Louis in conversation with George Ellis. Part two - Possibility Spaces. George Ellis, Ard Louis 12 Apr 2016
88 Top Down Causation Ard Louis in conversation with George Ellis. Part one - Top Down Causation. George Ellis, Ard Louis 11 Apr 2016
89 Creative Commons The Unity of the Universe The Final Dennis Sciama Memorial Lecture delivered by Professor David Deutsch David Deutsch 09 Mar 2016
90 Engineering Defects in Diamond Physics Colloquium 26th February 2016 delivered by Professor Mark Newton Mark Newton 04 Mar 2016
91 Optical Microscopy and Spectroscopy of Single Molecules and Single Plasmonic Gold Nanoparticles Physics Colloquium 19th February 2016 delivered by Professor Michel Orrit Michel Orrit 04 Mar 2016
92 Fundamental constants and biology George Ellis of the University of Cape Town shows how we can use a space of possibilities to assess the fragility of life. This talk was part of the Consolidation of Fine-Tuning Project's first workshop, "Life in the Universe", on November 3, 2015. George Ellis 02 Mar 2016
93 Assessing Fine-Tuning in Physics: How Many? How Fine? How Come? Bernard Carr of Queen Mary University of London looks at sources of fine tuning in physics and their possible explanations. This talk was part of the Consolidation of Fine-Tuning Project's first workshop, "Life in the Universe", on November 3, 2015. Bernard Carr 02 Mar 2016
94 Creative Commons Stellarators, Fusion Energy and the Wendelstein 7-X Experiment Physics Colloquium 29th January 2016 delivered by Professor Per Helender Per Helender 19 Feb 2016
95 Creative Commons Epidemics, Erdös Numbers and the Internet: the Physics of Networks Physics Colloquium 12th February 2016 delivered by Professor Mark Newman Mark Newman 19 Feb 2016
96 Creative Commons DalitzFest The Scientific Legacy of Dick Dalitz Frank Close, Christopher Llewellyn-Smith 18 Feb 2016
97 Quantum Computer Simulation of Chemistry and Materials: Advances and Perspectives Physics Colloquium 5th February 2016 delivered by Professor Alán Aspuru-Guzik Alán Aspuru-Guzik 11 Feb 2016
98 How computers have changed the way we do physics - Breaking through the quantum barrier The power of available computers has now grown exponentially for many decades. The ability to discover numerically the implications of equations and models has opened our eyes to previously hidden aspects of physics. Thorsten Wahl 11 Feb 2016
99 How computers have changed the way we do physics - Structure in complex systems The power of available computers has now grown exponentially for many decades. The ability to discover numerically the implications of equations and models has opened our eyes to previously hidden aspects of physics. Mark Newman 11 Feb 2016
100 How computers have changed the way we do physics - Chaos and climate change The power of available computers has now grown exponentially for many decades. The ability to discover numerically the implications of equations and models has opened our eyes to previously hidden aspects of physics. Myles Allen 11 Feb 2016