Physics and Astronomy


Sussex scientists take research to Parliament

Daniela Koeck at CERN

Dr Adam Baskerville

Daniela Koeck, a post-graduate physics student, and Dr Adam Baskerville, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Chemistry attended Parliament this week to present their research to a range of politicians and a panel of expert judges. It was part of the STEM for BRITAIN campaign which launched on Monday 9March.

Daniela’s research involves the search for dark matter and Supersymmetry at the ATLAS experiment at CERN in Geneva. In her research, Daniela analyses data from the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. ATLAS is one of the two collaborations which discovered the Higgs Boson particle in 2012.  

Daniela presented a poster explaining how her work helps the ATLAS experiment to select interesting events that might signal the presence of dark matter in the ATLAS data. Inside the Large Hadron Collider, millions of protons are made to collide with each other. Selecting the interesting ones – in Daniela’s case, those where electrons are produced - is critical for spotting 'new physics'.

Daniela said: "I spoke to parliamentarians about my part in the search for Supersymmetry, which might hold the answer to the question of "what is Dark Matter?" I explained how my work, and that of other colleagues at the University of Sussex, is helping to push forward our understanding of the universe."

Dr Adam Baskerville’s research uses quantum theory to gain a better understanding of the stucture and properties of atoms. His poster described his work on the calculation of electron correlation in quantum mechanical few-particle systems. He was shortlisted from hundreds of applicants to appear in Parliament.

Dr Baskerville said: “I applied for STEM for BRITAIN to highlight the importance of fundamental theoretical research to the nation’s future. I hope to have explained my research in an accessible way so everyone who came left having learnt something new, and how important electron correlation is in the real world.”

Both researchers have been entered into the chemistry, mathematics and physics session of the competition, which will end in a gold, silver and bronze prize-giving ceremony.

Judged by leading academics, the gold medalist receives £2,000, while silver and bronze receive £1,250 and £750 respectively.

The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee runs the event in collaboration with the Institute of Physics, Royal Society of Chemistry, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society of Biology, Physiological Society, Council for the Mathematical Sciences, and the Nutrition Society.

Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, said: “This annual competition is an important date in the parliamentary calendar because it gives MPs an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country’s best young researchers.

“These early career engineers, mathematicians and scientists are the architects of our future and STEM for BRITAIN is politicians’ best opportunity to meet them and understand their work.” 

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By: Stephanie Allen
Last updated: Thursday, 12 March 2020