Conference for undergraduate women and non-binary physicists

Posted on: 31 March 2023 by Richard Finch in Events & News

The Department of Physics in partnership with LJMU Astrophysics Research Institute (ARI) hosted the UK and Ireland Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) from 23-26 March 2023.

115 undergraduate students visited the Central Teaching Laboratories for the conference from over 40 Universities from across England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The conference offered a safe space for women and non-binary physicists to participate in a varied schedule of tours, talks, workshops, panels and outreach activities.

The conference kicked-off with a welcome event featuring a quiz organized by our fantastic PhD students and alumni!

Over three days, delegates heard from guest speakers covering a wide range of topics:

  • ‘Super-resolution microscopy for biophotonics’ by Dr Izzy Jayasinghe, University of Sheffield
  • ‘Segmented inverted-coaxial germanium gamma-ray detectors’ by Prof Laura Harkness-Brennan, University of Liverpool
  • ‘Chiral materials and changing the world’ by Dr Jess Wade, Imperial College London
  • ‘String Theory meets the Fundamental Problems in Particle Physics and Cosmology’ by Dr Susha Parameswaran, University of Liverpool
  • ‘From academic to CEO: developing leadership and nurturing ambition’, Dr Lia Li, Zero-point Motion Ltd.
  • ‘After dinner talk’ by Professor Monica D’Onofrio, University of Liverpool.
  • ‘Quantum effects in strong-field and attosecond science’, Prof Carla Figueira de Morisson Faria, University College London.

The second day featured a choice of tours for the delegates to either Jodrell Bank, Daresbury Laboratory, or Clatterbridge Cancer Centre. All of the visits included opportunities to “meet the physicists” at the different sites.

Workshop and discussion sessions included challenging prejudiced opinions and building confidence through science communication.

The conference also featured two panel events, one with academic staff and one with early career physicists. These provided students with a great insight into life beyond their undergraduate studies, and the range of jobs that are available to Physics graduates.

There was also an opportunity to find out about delivering Physics outreach at the Physics Jamboree event with over 100 Brownies experiencing space and astrophysics activities co-delivered by staff, volunteers and the conference delegates, followed by an outreach talk, ‘All aboard! Rocket to Mars’ by Dr Stacey Habergham-Mawson from the LJMU ARI.

A parallel poster session provided a chance for University of Liverpool PhD students to present their research to delegates.

Professor Brianna Heazlewood said: “It was fabulous to see so many past and present Physics PhD students come together to help host the conference. Thank you to all of the participants, speakers, panellists, facilitators, administrators, technicians, and steering committee members for making CUWiP 2023 such an amazing conference.”

Hannah Brown, PhD student and one of the event organisers said: “It was a great privilege to be part of the organisation team for CUWIP 2023. The atmosphere was like nothing else I’ve ever experienced before, and the support participants had for each other allowed everyone to talk openly, with understanding and without judgement.”

“The conference was a reminder that we must continue to work to address the systematic inequalities that exist within academia, in particular Physics. Thank you to the organisers, speakers, panellists and participants for everything they brought to the conference and for making it such a valuable experience.”

The conference was sponsored by the University of Liverpool, LJMU, the Institute of Physics, the Ogden Trust and UK Research and Innovation.

Next year’s event is being hosted by the University of Limerick, Ireland. More information will be appearing here soon.

Keywords: Events, Physics.