Outreach invited speakers

Non-Visual Impacts of Light
John Stocks, Ceravision, UK

Light allows us to see, to visualise the world around us, but what other effects does light have on our bodies and biological systems. This talk is an introduction to the many ways light impacts our lives other than for photopic daylight vision. What is scotopic and mesopic vision. How does the 24hour solar day affect our body clock, what are circadian rhythms and how does light impact on our health and wellbeing will be discussed. Increasingly scientists and health professionals are paying greater attention to these non visual impacts of light studying subjects such as Seasonal Affective Disorder, night shift working, phototherapy and many other aspects of the interaction of light with human biological systems. This talks provides a glimpse into this fascinating and rapidly developing field.

Cosmic light: the story of everything
Lucia MarchettiOpen University Milton Keynes, UK

Astronomy is the science that studies the light set-off by the celestial bodies to understand our Cosmos. Cosmic light in fact tells us the story of our Universe and of what sits in it. Studying the light emitted by stars and galaxies we can understand their properties (e.g. temperature, distance, age, constituents) and thus interpret how they have been formed and how they might have changed with time. Investigating the intensity variation of the light emitted by a star we can discover new planets. Studying the light reflected and absorbed by a planet or by a planet’s atmosphere we can study its composition and the story of its formation. Besides light has a constant speed and thus it takes time to travel from one point to another. For this reason, whenever we observe the light of a very distant object we are actually looking back in time when its light has been set-off. Everything works like a cosmic time machine that allows us to see until the very first instants of our Universe and thus to investigate how and when everything has started. This talk is an introduction and an overview of the many astronomical questions we are trying to answer by simply studying light (and darkness) in space and how we are able to pursue our studies thanks to the more and more sophisticated technology of our age.


How to slow atoms with light, and how to slow light with atoms
Calum MacCormickThe Open University, UK

The talk will focus on the trapping and cooling of atoms using light, and the dramatic slowing of light in very cold and dense clouds of atoms. In order to understand these techniques, I will discuss the Doppler effect and a little bit of quantum mechanics. We will also be able to “see” trapped atoms formed in the lab, hopefully we may be able to observe even a single atom!


 John Stocks has over 25 Years experience in the lighting industry including working at Madame Tussauds Planetarium/Laserium, Thorn Lighting, GE Lighting, SLI Lighting, Havells Sylvania and Ceravision. During this time he worked on product development programs for metal halide, halogen, fluorescent and plasma lighting technologies and manufacturing processes.

Dr Lucia Marchetti is a STFC funded Post-Doctoral Research Associate in Astronomy at the Open University (OU) in Milton Keynes (UK). She obtained her PhD in Astronomy from the University of Padua, Italy, where she specialised in extragalactic astronomy and observational cosmology. Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and passionate science communicator, she is involved in many scientific international projects. Her research is focused on the study of the properties of star-forming galaxies via strong gravitational lensing. She is member of the UK national committee for the international year of light 2015.


Calum MacCormick undertook an undergraduate degree in physics, followed by a doctorate, at the university of Sussex. For his doctorate, he was part of the team creating the UK’s first Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC), in 1999, and subsequently developed techniques for manipulating and studying the BEC using magnetism and lasers. By 2003 he had moved to the US national laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, to build a new BEC experiment dedicated to studying atomic interferometry. In 2008 he arrived in Milton Keynes where he studied ultra-cold Rydberg atoms, which have potential applications in sensitive probes of electric, magnetic and (we hope) gravitational field, as well as possible applications in quantum information science


Key dates

  • Abstract submission deadline:
    19 January 2015
  • Early registration deadline:
    2 March 2015
  • Registration deadline extended:
    25 March 2015


Abstract book (PDF:20.1MB)

Delegate handbook  (PDF:12.2MB)