Physics and Astronomy

Public events

For events at the University of Sussex campus, directions can be found in either our travel advice PDF document, or on our central University directions webpage, and while we recommend travelling by train or bus to the campus, car parking on campus is free after 5pm.

Members of the general public are welcome to attend both our Institute of Physics (South-Central Branch) & Sussex Universe series of lectures.  The Institute of Physics lectures are designed to be accessible and understandable to all (see our recorded lectures page to watch past talks), and while our Sussex Universe lecture series are organised by our undergraduate students for our undergraduates, they are also well suited to A-level students and the like. We usually get between 50 and 150 people attending all our lectures, with the audience consisting of some of our undergraduate students, practicing and retired physicists, and local school & college students.

Please note that our lecture theatres are in great demand such that lectures are taking place right up until 7pm on the night. Due to this, we expect our lectures to begin at 7:05pm on each night.

Please contact us in advance if you have any access requirements, and we can provide a step-free access map, or guide you around campus on the evening.

Sussex Universe & Institute of Physics (South-Central Branch) Lectures


Talks for the 2019/20 season are as follows.


Poster for Jim's IOP evening lecture

IOP-SCB: October 2019, Sussex lecture

Is Life Quantum Mechanical? The dawn of quantum biology
by Prof Jim Al Khalili, University of Surrey
Tuesday 8th October 2019, 7 - 8pm
Lecture Theatre 1A7, Pevensey 1 building, University of Sussex

Advance (free) booking is essential due to Jim's popularity and the limited capacity of the lecture theatre. We will be checking tickets at the door!

Please book your tickets at this EventBrite webpage.

This lecture introduces the exciting new field of Quantum Biology.

Quantum mechanics is familiar to physicists and chemists, but biologists too have to think about this strange yet powerful theory of the subatomic world. There is now solid evidence that enzymes, those metabolic workhorses that drive much of the action in our cells, use quantum tunnelling to accelerate chemical reactions. Plants use quantum coherence - sending lumps of energy in many directions at once - to calculate the most efficient route for sunlight to get to their photosynthetic cells. Some
birds appear to use quantum entanglement - what Einstein called “spooky action at a distance” - to ‘see’ the Earth’s magnetic field for navigation.


Poster for Jo's IOP evening lecture

IOP-SCB: November 2019, Sussex lecture

The Science of Climate Change
by Prof Joanna Haigh, Imperial College, London
Tuesday 12th November 2019, 7 - 8pm
Lecture Theatre 1A7, Pevensey 1 building, University of Sussex

The world is warming faster that has ever been observed in the past. Overwhelmingly scientists are of the opinion that this is largely due to the effect of gases released into the atmosphere by human activities. How can we be sure of this? And what can we say about the future?

This talk will look at the scientific evidence for climate change and discuss how increasing concentrations of “greenhouse gases”, especially carbon dioxide, create an imbalance in the Earth’s energy budget with impacts on temperature, sea level and weather patterns. 

We will see how physics is used to construct computer
models to investigate what this may mean for the future,
and consider what needs to be done to reduce emissions
of greenhouse gases in order for the world to avoid
dangerous levels of warming.

 For reference, here is a list of the past talks in the IOP lecture series here at Sussex.