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    Archive for the 'Maths and Physical Sciences' Category

    UCL in the Middle East: crossing cultures

    By Guest Blogger, on 21 September 2016

    pencil-iconWritten by Sophie Vinter, Global Engagement Communications Officer

    “When we talk about the Middle East we’re talking about many places and very different contexts – what goes for Qatar is not the same as for a refugee camp in Syria.”

    The panel of the inaugural ‘UCL in the Middle East’ event nodded in agreement at the words of Dr Seth Anziska (UCL Hebrew and Jewish Studies), who was joining in a lively discussion by Skype from the USA.

    Jonathan Dale (right) talks with attendees at UCL in the Middle East

    Jonathan Dale (right) talks with attendees at UCL in the Middle East

    Focusing on a range of contemporary issues – ranging from urban development and cultural heritage to healthcare and education – ‘UCL in the Middle East’ was the second regional-specific event that had been organised by Professor Ijeoma Uchegbu, Pro-Vice-Provost (Africa & the Middle East) and the Global Engagement Office. The first event, Knowledge Africa, took place in June.

    Open to academics and professional services staff from around the university, these events have offered the opportunity to hear from a range of speakers, network and take part in panel discussions to share ideas and learn more about UCL’s collaborations in a specific area of the world.

    Questions from the audience encouraged thought-provoking debate on some hot topics in the Middle East, including the balance of encouraging entrepreneurship while also allowing for intellectual property ownership and the idea of post-conflict ‘interventionism’.


    Leading researchers debate survival to 22nd century at It’s All Academic Campaign launch

    By Guest Blogger, on 16 September 2016

    pencil-icon Written by Abigail Smith, Head of Supporter Communications – Office of the Vice-Provost (Development)

    Some of UCL’s leading academics joined together last night for a public event to answer the question “How Will Society Survive to the 22nd Century?” at the launch of It’s All Academic – UCL’s biggest ever philanthropic giving campaign.

    With a target of £600m, the Campaign aims to raise more money and engage more people with UCL and our work than ever before.

    UCL President & Provost Michael Arthur announces the Campaign total

    UCL President & Provost Michael Arthur announces the Campaign total

    The launch event brought nearly 1,000 people to UCL’s Logan Hall to hear what the future might hold from a great line up of speakers, chaired by ITN Economics Editor and UCL alumna and honorary professor Noreena Hertz.


    Lunch Hour Lecture: From gases to gloops – instabilities in fluids

    By Thomas Hughes, on 25 February 2016

    Gases, gloops, waves and cloud formations: Dr Helen Wilson (UCL Mathematics) helped us explore the mathematical explanation for such instabilities in fluids in this Lunch Hour Lecture.

    Waves and drips: instabilities in nature

    Instabilities in fluids can be caused by a myriad of different factors.  Dr Wilson talked us through a number of common instabilities that we can see in our everyday lives.

    Waves and some cloud formations for example are caused by shear. This is the idea of two or more streams moving at different speeds or directions. This is called the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability and creates the familiar wave shapes as the streams push in different directions.

    Some natural instabilities are caused by density. Pour a dense, gloopy fluid into a less dense fluid and through additional factors such as gravity, the denser fluid will move through the less dense fluid. This is called the Rayleigh-Taylor instability (see image).

    Rayleigh-Taylor Instability via Wikimedia Commons

    Rayleigh Taylor Instability via Wikimedia Commons


    Social Research on Off-Grid Solar conference

    By Guest Blogger, on 23 December 2015

    pencil-icon Written by Iwona Bisaga (PhD student at UCL Urban Sustainability and Resilience)

    Off-grid solar

    Image: SolarAid

    The Social Research on Off-Grid Solar (SROGS) conference took place at UCL on 9 and 10 December. It was jointly organised by Declan Murray (School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh) and I.

    This two-day event saw speakers and attendees from a diverse range of disciplines get together to discuss a variety of themes around off-grid solar solutions for energy access in Sub-Saharan Africa, South-East Asia and Latin America. Presenters included academics, PhD students, private sector representatives, policy makers, practitioners, physicists and engineers, which provided a solid overview of the sector and the challenges it is (and has been) facing since it came to prominence in the 1990s.

    The series of presentations and breakout group discussions focused on existing business models and technology designs, linking them to the user experience and the ways in which users and customers are included in (or excluded from) those processes, and how that could be changed to better reflect their needs and aspirations throughout the whole value chain: from product design to after-sales services and dealing with solar waste.

    Socio-economic impacts and what they mean for the users, including women and marginalised communities as particularly vulnerable groups, were given a lot of attention, though it quickly became clear that there still remains a lot to be done in order to fully understand what actual impacts off-grid solar has on users, and how exactly it is utilised within households.