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Sci-Tech bulletin

Faculty Updates

Faculty Plenary

The next Faculty Plenary will be on Wednesday 21 June at 4.00pm in the Cavendish Lecture Theatre. Please keep this date free in you diary, the agenda will follow in our next bulletin.

Faculty of Science and Technology Lecture

This term's faculty lecture by Professor Ian Halliday, President of the European Science Foundation, will take place on Thursday 22nd June at 2.00pm in Biology lecture Theatre 1. Tickets are available to all on a first come first served basis from Pauline Roberts.

More details of Professor Halliday's lecture

University Draft Strategic Plan

The Vice Chancellor and Director of Finance will present the University draft strategic plan 2006-11 to the faculty on 8 June. The meeting will be from 12.30-1.30 in Cavendish Lecture Theatre 1. All staff are welcome to attend.

Partnerships with Universities in Developing Countries

A call for applications for partnerships between universities in the UK and developing countries will soon be made by the British Council under the auspices of a recently launched Development Partnerships in Higher Education (DELPHE) initiative. DELPHE is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and managed by the British Council and the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

The Department of Geography has an existing and very successful link with the University of Uyo, Nigeria, and would like to expand and share the scope of the link with other departments or colleagues in Lancaster. The link places emphasis on institutional capacity building for poverty reduction and sustainable development.

If you are interested in becoming involved in the bid for DELPHE funding, or in international collaborations with universities in Nigeria and Ghana, please contact Lenny Baer or Uwem Ite.

Faculty Fix-It Group

You will recall from the last Faculty Plenary and subsequent Sci-Tech Bulletins that the Faculty Fix-it Group is currently interested in hearing your views on the state of the toilet facilities across the faculty. So far, responses have not been overwhelmingly numerous, so they will have one more attempt to determine whether or not there are any aspects of sanitary provision which need to be improved before declaring the job "a good 'un" and moving on...

Please feel free to email your complaints, moans, whinges, etc - be they about toilets or any other aspect of life and work in the Sci-Tech Faculty - to the Fix-it Group at and they will see what they can do!

News and Events

Official Opening of The Centre for Research in Human Development

The official opening of the Centre for Research in Human Development (CRHD) will take place on Thursday 8 June 2006.

CRHD supports a broad spectrum of research in developmental science, with particular emphasis on studies of infancy, pre-school, and primary school children. The success of this research is dependent on the support of local parents, healthcare professionals and teachers, whom the Psychology Department would particularly like to welcome to this event.

The principal speakers at the event will be Charles Brainerd (Professor of Human Development, Cornell University, USA) who will give a keynote presentation "Law's memory and memory's laws" and Charlie Lewis (Professor of Developmental Psychology, Lancaster University) who will speak about research in developmental science at Lancaster and the role of CRHD. This part of the programme will take place from 3.30pm in Lecture Theatre 3, Lancaster Leadership Centre.

Members of the University are welcome at these lectures. If you would like to attend, please inform Jenny Harding.

Biology Students Present Work to MPs

Two PhD students from Biological Sciences had a rare opportunity to discuss their research with politicians and senior scientists at the Houses of Parliament.

Students Jason Wargent and Joanna Heaton attended the Special Reception for Britain's Top Younger Researchers in Bioscience on Monday May 8th.

Biology Students Present Work to MPs (From LU News)

Ruskin Library Talk

Stephen Wildman, the Director of The Ruskin Library, will present a talk on The Ruskin Library: The Scope and Use of its Collections on Thursday 22nd June from 1.00-2:00pm at the Institute for Advanced Studies. Sandwich will be served. If you're interested in attending please contact Juli Slater in FASS (ext. 10851).

Funding Roundup

Where the money's coming from - selected awards for April 2006:

North West Hydro Resource Model

George Aggidis - Engineering, Joule Centre (NWDA), 290,230

The research aims to develop a system to promote the exploitation of hydro power in North-West England. The system is composed a series of integrated models addressing the barriers to installation of devices as seen through different disciplines. The information is linked through an economic assessment which identifies different turbine options, assesses their suitability for location and demand and combines the different styles of information in a way that supports decision making.

North West Hydro Resource Model poster (pdf - 105KB)

Room temperature mid-infrared lasers

Tony Krier - Physics, DTI, 189,070

This project is aimed at developing mid-infrared semiconductor lasers for the next decade and beyond. The practical realisation of mid-infrared semiconductor lasers which can operate at room temperature will revolutionise how we utilise these lasers, transforming them from a specialist research curiosity to a pervasive technology for security and defence as well as in healthcare, environmental monitoring, manufacturing and other applications.

We are seeking to achieve a breakthrough in obtaining room temperature operation of MIR semiconductor lasers. We shall use strained layer engineering at the nanoscale to develop a novel laser with a highly efficient active region containing InAlSb/InSb quantum wells. Our lasers will enable new surgical techniques for eyes and prostate cancer as well as the development of an entirely new instrument for medical imaging at the nanoscale.

Environmental Magnetism: Innovative problem solving in climate change/pollution

Barbara Maher - Geography, The Royal Society, 90,000

This research uses magnetic particles, present everywhere in the environment, in rocks, sediments, soils, dusts, water and even in humans, as nanoscale recording mechanisms of changes in climate and environment, and even human health.

The research has even resulted in the manufacture of new magnetic materials which can solve serious water contamination problems. It is also finding answers to other environmental questions such as how windblown dust to the oceans changed greenhouse gas levels in the past, and where and to what level vehicle pollution occurs.

Springboard Fellowship: Relativistic charged beam interactions

Robin Tucker - Physics, EPSRC, 101,842

A mathematically coherent formulation of a closed system of partial differential equations describing the relativistic behaviour of charged matter with electromagnetic fields is inevitably non-linear and in general exact solutions satisfying causal boundary conditions are intractable.

The fact that the effects of (coherent and incoherent) radiation on micro-sized bunches of charged particles in a host of newly proposed advanced devices is a significant barrier to development indicates that existing approaches used to model such effects are inadequate and that a fresh look at the whole problem is timely.

It is the aim of this research programme to determine if recent developments in other non-linear field systems, such as gravitational wave interactions with matter, can shed new light in the electromagnetic sector and to offer new tools in differential geometry to the analysis of new approximation schemes based fundamentally on the light-cone structure of spacetime.

SCENARIO FP6 project

Gordon Walker & Nigel Watson - Geography, European Commission, 446,000

Lancaster is one of 9 European partners, coordinated by Politecnic Di Milano, total project cost is 650,000 euros (446,000). Our part is 82,600 euros (56,680). The overall objective of SCENARIO is to support the integration of existing natural disaster research from various thematic areas at a European level and to define a European Roadmap for the reduction of the impacts of natural disasters and the greater resilience of European society in the future.

This roadmap will provide support for the specification of future research priorities, for the development of European policies on the management of natural hazards and for the wider work of the scientific community.