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Durham University

Faculty of Science

Rising Stars 2011

The inaugural faculty-wide student research conference, the Rising Stars Research Symposium, celebrating excellence and originality amongst the university's undergraduate and postgraduate scientists, took place on 21st June 2011 in the Calman Learning Centre.

Seminars were given by outstanding final year undergraduate and postgraduate students from each of the schools and departments within the faculty, and a reception for all attendees was hosted by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Christopher Higgins, following the talks.

The event was a great success, attended by over one hundred staff, students, alumni and guests, and all of the talks were excellently delivered: the speakers are a real credit to themsleves, their departments and to the Faculty. Details of their talks, the slides and the volume of abstracts are available below.


Professor Chris Higgins with Iain Smears


The overall prize for Outstanding Communication of Science was awarded to Iain Smears from the Department of Mathematical Sciences. Iain completed his MMath this year, and will start researching his DPhil thesis in Oxford in October.

Popular prizes, voted for by the audience, were awarded to Lizzy Midgley and Simon Cork.

Programme of talks

Session 1, chaired by Professor Jon Davidson.

Simon Cork School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences Hypertension: Is it All in Your Head?
Faye Walker Department of Earth Sciences Examples of Interactions Between Active Tectonics and Drainage in Iran
Will Coombs School of Engineering and Computing Sciences Anisotropic Hyperplasticity of Particulate Geomaterials
Liam Norman Department of Psychology Visual Attention Without Awareness
Iain Smears Department of Mathematical Sciences Optimal Control Problems and Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman Equations
Tom Billam Department of Physics Turning up the Heat on Ultracold Superfluids
Kate Appleby Department of Chemistry To Twist or not to Twist, is that the Question?

Session 2, chaired by Professor Tony Fawcett.

Lizzy Midgely Department of Earth Science The Geothermal Potential of the UK
Jonathan Foster Department of Chemistry Supramolecular Gels: a New Tool in Drug Development
Alix Wilcock Department of Physics New Physics at the LHC
Sarah Chadburn Department of Mathematical Sciences Cosmic Strings and Extra Dimensions
John Steele School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences Investigating Arabidopsis Thaliana Formin 4 Fusion Proteins
Lyle Entwistle School of Engineering and Computing Sciences The Algorithmics of Sudoku

Speakers at the 2011 Rising Stars.