Supercool talks

So we’ve had a week of University Admissions open days and activities days here in Physics land. Here are a couple of pictures where I’m giving a talk entitled ‘Supercool Computers’ to AS level students (16-18).

sccomps1

We typically show some demonstrations with Liquid Nitrogen, verify that gases do not follow the ideal gas law using balloons, show electrical resistance at low temperatures, explore Lenz’s law at different temperatures using magnets and copper tubes and show some of the lovely properties of (High-Tc) superconductors such as the Meissner effect by levitating magnets.

sccomps2

The talk also introduced some fairly advanced concepts such as some fundamental aspects of Quantum Mechanics and practical Quantum Computing. In fact we have a HTC SQUID set up in the talk demonstrating the wave properties of electrons, analogous to the Young’s double slit experiment. The idea is to whet the appetite of potential students and make them realise that Physics isn’t all astronomy and the LHC, and that device physics/QC can also be a damn sexy thing to study 🙂

It’s all rather fun. I had this great toy to play with called a ‘visualizer’ which is basically a camera hooked up to the projector. Great for showing demos. I even zoomed in on some SQUID chips to show the audience the results of the microfabrication process.

Eventually I’m hoping to get a video of the talk up online when I’ve harrassed someone into filming the event and done it enough times to get all the demos working smoothly. We had issues with a dodgy multimeter this time. Lesson of the day: Never work with children or electronics.

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