Below is a list of some of the talks which we offer. Most of the talks are aimed at A-level students and are offered free of charge.  Talks are subject to availability of presenters, please email Erin McNeill, Physics Outreach Officer, at to book.

Growing Up Stellar – Dr Anne Buckner

Throughout human history people have looked to the heavens and sought comfort in the ‘eternal’, ‘unchanging’ nature of stars. Some have even gone as far as to call them ‘boring’. But, actually, this couldn’t be further from the truth! Stars, like people, are born – they live – then they die. They come in different sizes and each has its own exciting story to tell. In this lecture we will go on a journey through space exploring the dramatic family life of stars, from their birth in giant clouds of gas and dust, through their childhood and into their adult lives.

Suitable for KS3 through KS5 pupils.  Duration 1 hour.

Liking something that defies understanding – Dr Jiannis Pachos

This lecture is part scientific, part personal story about quantum mechanics. I will present easy to understand examples where quantum mechanics appears producing truly unexpected behaviour. This behaviour has been puzzling experts and non-experts alike since the birth of quantum mechanics in the early 20th century. The burning question is “why do small particles, like atoms and electrons, behave so funny?”.

To answer this question I will tell you my personal story, where I first heard about quantum physics, the excitement in studying it and the frustration in trying to understand it. After studying quantum mechanics for more than twenty years I am still excited about the prospect of an unexpected wonder lurking to be discovered. Find out more through these videos.

Suitable for KS3 through KS5 pupils.  Duration 1 hour.

Primeval Slime – Dr Mike Ries

In this lecture, which can also be a workshop if you require, I will tell you all about the wonderful properties of slime. In this demo rich talk I will shatter your understanding of the material world. Can a liquid bounce? A solid flow? A solution shatter? And as an added bonus I’ll tell you a secret, my personal favourite naturally occurring organic polymer!

Polymers are long chain molecules that give slime its wonderful range of properties. Polymers can be found all around you. They are in shopping bags, muscles, skin, fleas, cars, computers and in each and every cell of your body! If you want to understand how life works, then you need to discover polymer physics! What more could you want from a talk? Ok, I might also give away some freebies!

Suitable for KS3 through KS5 pupils.  Duration 1 hour.

Using physics to understand life in extreme environments – Professor Lorna Dougan

Extremophiles are organisms that can survive and thrive under extreme environmental conditions. From the ice-caps of the poles to the high salt concentration of the Dead Sea. How have they adapted to survive? Can we learn from their survival strategies?

This talk provides an introduction to the wonderful world of extremophiles and highlights the role that physics is playing in uncovering the molecular mechanisms of extremophile survival.

Suitable for KS3 through KS5 pupils.  Duration 1 hour.

Recorded Talks

Below is a selection of recorded talks and lectures. To help us discover what sort of audience we are reaching, we’d appreciate it if you could fill in the following form before watching the videos. 

Bringing Soft Matter Physics to Life by Dr Mike Ries

Duration: 15 minutes

It from Qubit: Quantum information meets quantum matter by Dr Zlatko Papic

Duration: 20 minutes

Hierarchical Biomechanics: approaches for understanding materials & mechanics across lengthscales by Professor Lorna Dougan

Duration: 20 minutes


Our astrochemical heritage: An introduction to research in astrophysics at Leeds by Doctor Catherine Walsh

Duration: 16 minutes 

Other Suns and Other Worlds - Bolton Lecture in Astrophysics 2020

Duration: 58 minutes