How Neutrons will save the world in brisbane

How Neutrons Will Save the World!

Women in Physics lecture Tour, 15th August, 2019.

This year’s Women in Physics Lecturer, Dr Helen Maynard-Casely is traveling around the country to tell us how neutrons will save the world! While in the area visiting schools, Helen will be at the University of Queensland, St Lucia campus on the 15th August talking to us about her research in more detail.

Where: Room 03-206

When: 1pm – 2pm 15th August, 2019.

We hope to see you there!

In the meantime, check out what Helen will be chatting about:

Exploring the materials of the solar system with Australia’s central facilities

Our solar system contains a great array of small planetary bodies that show remarkable variability in the chemistry, and subsequent materials, that form on their surfaces.  From sulfuric acid hydrates that are spattered on Europa, to organic minerals that fall in flurries on Titan to the plastic solids of methane and nitrogen on Pluto.

Sadly we’re yet to scoop any sample of these planets and bring them home, however informed by spectral observations from space missions such as Galileo, Cassini and New Horizons, we can re-create their surface chemistries and conditions in the lab.  What this has revealed that despite the ‘simplicity’ of the chemistry involved the surfaces are likely to be made up of a large array of materials with potentially planet-shaping properties. 

I’ll overview some of the materials we’ve found, and why central facilities (like the OPAL neutron source and Australian Synchrotron) have been crucial for this work.  Hopefully, I’ll also show how this is very much a growing business, and with new exoplanets being discovered daily there is still a wide range of materials that need to be investigated.