PETER Symonds College student Jessica Cragg has arranged a series of physics lectures featuring leading experts as part of a new student-led initiative.

Jess describes the series as a new initiative ‘set up to promote and encourage an interest in physics beyond the A-Level curriculum’.

Every Tuesday lunchtime, different lecturers from nearby universities are invited to share their research with students, covering topics ranging from higher dimensions to dark matter.

The most recent lecture featured Nick Evans, Professor of Theoretical Physics at Southampton University, whose talk on Dark Energy gave over 40 students an insight into current investigations of the enigmatic phenomenon.

Prof Evans said: “It was great to hear so many enthusiastic questions. Dark energy is a big problem area for physics and a very exciting future lies ahead.”

Other sessions in the series have featured Claudia Maraston, Professor of Astrophysics at Portsmouth University, who spoke on ‘Galaxy Formation’; Matt Staniforth from Southampton University, who gave a talk on ‘4 Dimensional Topology’; and Prof Justin Read, Head of Physics at the University of Surrey, on the topic ‘Dark Matter’. Further sessions are planned for later in the term.

Jess said: “I really wanted to highlight the most fascinating areas of physics beyond the curriculum, in order to inspire a general interest in physics. I also wanted to create a stimulating enrichment activity for students who are hoping to take physics at a higher level.”

Teacher Simon Hunt said: “Jess has shown real dedication in setting up this programme of lectures from local scientists. It’s a fantastic opportunity for physics students to engage with cutting edge research.”