The University of Southampton

Physics & Astronomy researcher is SET for Britain in Parliament

Published: 7 March 2016

Dr John Coxon from Physics and Astronomy at University of Southampton will be attending Parliament today (Monday 7 March) to present his research to a range of politicians and a panel of expert judges, as part of SET for Britain.

John is based in the Space Environment Physics Group and his poster will cover his research into the Earth’s reaction to solar wind, through studying how it affects the planet’s electric currents and magnetic fields.

His poster will be judged against hundreds of other scientists’ research in the only national competition of its kind, after beating thousands more in getting his poster shortlisted to present in Parliament.

On presenting his research in Parliament, John said: “I am hugely excited to be selected to present my research in the SET for Britain 2016 competition. It is always fantastic to be able to engage people with my research, but I am really looking forward to the chance to engage MPs and Lords.

“It is hugely important that we develop our understanding of Earth’s reaction to the solar wind, since the processes involved can have direct effects on infrastructure, both in the United Kingdom and throughout the rest of the world.

“I am looking forward to meeting my local MP and giving them an insight into the sort of work which is occurring in their constituency.”

Dr Coxon’s research has been entered into the 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 £3,000, while silver and bronze receive £2,000 and £1,000 respectively.

Joining John in the competition are four other researchers from the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering. Dr Taihai Chen and Dr Jerry Zhenhua Luo are from Electronics and Computer Science (ECS), and Dr Katrina Morgan and Dr Qiongyue Kang are from the Faculty’s Optoelectronics Research Centre.

Taihai’s research is on the world’s first error correction accelerator, enabling the next generation of wireless communications.

Jerry is undertaking research into a battery-free indoor tracking system powered by energy harvesting footwear.

Katrina’s research explores new types of ultra-fast computer memory, that is also highly tolerable to extreme doses of ionizing radiation.

Qiongyue’s is presenting a poster on optical fibre amplifiers, which are being researched for use in the next generation of telecommunications networks. 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 SET for Britain is politicians’ best opportunity to meet them and understand their work.”

The Parliamentary and Scientific Committee runs the event in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Biology, The Physiological Society and the Council for Mathematical Sciences, with financial support from Essar, the Clay Mathematics Institute, Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), the Institute of Biomedical Science, the Bank of England and the Society of Chemical Industry.

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