The University of Southampton

Southampton researcher takes Silver for physics display in Parliament

Published: 15 March 2017
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Dr Matthew Aldous, from Physics & Astronomy at the University of Southampton, took Silver at a competition in the House of Commons, for the excellence of his physics research, walking away with a £2,000 prize.

Matthew, a Postdoctoral Research Assistant in the Quantum Light and Matter research group, presented his physics research to dozens of politicians and a panel of expert judges, as part of the poster competition STEM for Britain, on Monday 13 March.

His research, which focuses on the development of a laser cooling system for the super cooling of gas atoms for use in quantum devices, was judged against 29 other shortlisted researchers’ work and came out as one of the three winners.

Matthew said, “It’s just fantastic to have the opportunity to talk to parliamentarians about the work that I do. It’s really great to be around so many brilliant scientists who have worked really hard to be here today and to share my research with them and to see the research that they have brought to share with the rest of the world.”

The Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering – home to Physics & Astronomy, Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) and the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) – also saw the Gold prize in the Engineering category going to Miguel Xavier, a PhD student from ECS. Ten other researchers from across the University were also shortlisted to present their research, including Christopher Desira from Physics & Astronomy, Xiaoqing Shi from ECS and Dr Edward Rogers from the ORC.

Dean of the Faculty, Professor Bashir Al-Hashimi said “This double success at the STEM for Britain competition 2017 is testament to the excellent research activities in this Faculty and their impact, recognised through high-profile national events. STEM for Britain is prestigious and therefore extremely competitive, with candidates from highly-rated universities across the UK taking part. To win both a gold and silver medal on the same day is a fantastic achievement.”

STEM for Britain aims to help politicians understand more about the UK’s thriving science and engineering base and rewards some of the strongest scientific and engineering research being undertaken in the UK.

Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chair of the Parliamentary & Scientific Committee, sponsors of the physics awards said: “The Parliamentary & Scientific Committee is delighted to sponsor the physics awards. This annual competition is an important date in the parliamentary calendar because it gives MPs an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country’s best young researchers. These early career engineers, mathematicians and scientists are the architects of our future and STEM for Britain is politicians’ best opportunity to meet them and understand their work.”

Professor Roy Sambles, President of the Institute of Physics said: “STEM for Britain provides a great opportunity for some of our outstanding young scientists to present aspects of their research in parliament, allowing Members of Parliament to find out first-hand about some of the ground breaking research taking place here in the UK. I wish the best of luck to all the exhibitors, who should feel very pleased with what they have achieved and I hope that they will value sharing the excitement of their research with key politicians and policy makers.”

Image caption: L to R: Dr Stephen Benn, Vice President, Parliamentary & Scientific Committee; Professor Paul Hardaker, Chief Executive, Institute of Physics; Dr Matthew Aldous (Silver Award Winner); Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chair, Parliamentary & Scientific Committee (Silver Sponsor).

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