A Physics Student Conference recently provided an opportunity for around 25 AWE sponsored postgraduate students to showcase their work, research and achievements in physics and how they have contributed to AWE’s mission.

The Conference – held at St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford – saw physics students from across the UK present on areas of particular interest to AWE’s science programme. Physics is vital to underwriting and certifying and performance, reliability and safety of the UK’s nuclear deterrent.

Opening proceedings, AWE Executive Director of Science, Professor Andrew Randewich, said: “With a burgeoning nuclear renaissance in the UK across the civil and defence sectors, AWE is striving to help generate and integrate the skilled workforce that can deliver the huge programmes and projects anticipated in the coming decade.”

The Conference also provided an opportunity for students to network and build connections for their future careers. Over the two days a range of topics were discussed, including how metals behave in extreme environments, quantum computing, molecular dynamics, and laboratory physics.

There were also prizes for the best poster and best presentation during the event. Winner of the best poster, Alex Glenn, from the University of Oxford, said: “I am extremely grateful to be awarded the prize for best poster at the AWE Physics Student Conference. The content of the poster is a result of a lot of hard work from many members of the Oxford Hypersonics group and it means a lot to know this is recognised and appreciated.”

Matt Nutter from the University of Warwick and Conor Fegan from Queen’s University Belfast were joint winners of the best presentation. Matt said: “I am honoured to have received this prize, especially when considering how many excellent talks there were at the conference. It was fascinating to learn more about the wide range of research that AWE supports, making links between my project and others.”

Conor said: “The AWE student conference provides a unique opportunity for learning about the different areas of research ongoing within the organisation while also allowing students to develop presentation and communication skills. Working alongside my AWE supervisor and collaborations with the Orion laser has been essential in my PhD journey in becoming a better scientist.”

AWE’s partnerships with academia are key to supporting the development and progression of scientific research and innovation in the UK.