Measurement of bitumen viscosity in a room-temperature drop experiment: student education, public outreach and modern science in one

QMUL's pitch drop experiment: the view from the bottom camera

Physicists at Queen Mary University of London have set up a new pitch drop experiment for students to explore the difference between solid and liquids.

Known as the ‘world’s longest experiment’, the set up at the University of Queensland was famous for taking ten years for a drop of pitch – a thick, black, sticky material – to fall from a funnel.

Publishing in the journal Physics Education, the design of QMUL’s trial is different to both well-known pitch drop experiments*. It uses different bitumen (the pitch), which is 30 times less viscous than the Queensland experiment, so that the flow can be seen quicker.

Read the full press release at Queen Mary, University of London.


Gardeners wanting to rid their spring flowerbeds of pesky snails may have to ditch the beer traps and egg shells and revert to developing a strong throwing arm, according to new research co-authored by a physicist at Queen Mary University of London. 

The new study published today (Friday 16 May) in the journal Physica Scripta has used statistical models to show that simply killing the snails you find in your garden offers little advantage if you want to remove them completely.

According to the researchers gardeners should revert to damage limitation, as their results proved that snails are part of larger colonies that live in the garden and come and go as they please using a homing instinct. 

SPA Colloquium : Showbiz Physics

Alix Pryde

Abstract : You've heard of Medical Physics, Geophysics, Astrophysics... but have you ever thought about the vital role physics plays in showbiz? Alix Pryde is the BBC's Director of Distribution. She also has a PhD in solid state physics, completed under the supervision of QML's Professor Martin Dove. She'll talk about her career journey from crystals to crystal sets and their modern equivalents. And as a working mother of two, she'll also share her thoughts on balancing career and family.

Speaker: Alix Pryde

Venue: Friday March 7, 4.00 p.m : David Sizer Lecture Theatre.

Reception : The talk will be followed by drinks and snacks. All members of QML (faculty, students, staff) are invited. 

The National Student Survey

The National Student Survey

The National Student Survey 2014 (NSS), of final year undergraduate students, officially opens at QM on Monday 13 January 2014 and closes on Wednesday 30 April 2014. The NSS website goes live on Monday 13 January, where students can complete the survey online: Students cannot complete the survey prior to Monday 13 January.

The National Student Survey (NSS) is an important survey for QM. It enables prospective students and the wider public to measure our performance against competitors, and provides us with useful data on both our strengths and those areas in need of improvement, informing policy and strategy to improve the student experience.

QMUL hosts CRIM 2013

CCMMP at Queen Mary are hosting Current Research in Magnetism (CRIM), with support from the Materials Research Institute and the IOP Magnetism Group.

Successful Launch of the Materials Research Institute

Successful launch of the Materials Research Institute

Professor Jeremy Kilburn (Vice-Principal for Science and Engineering) and Professor Martin Dove (Director) launched the Materials Research Institute at Queen Mary on Monday the 15th April 2013.

The afternoon consisted of talks from Queen Mary academics and internationally-acclaimed experts, who presented recent developments in the area of materials research.

The talks were followed by a reception held in the Queens’ Building Senior Common Room, and provided an opportunity for informal discussion and networking.  The launch was a success, which received excellent feedback from visitors and colleagues.  An entertaining and interesting afternoon!

51st European High Pressure Research Group: EHPRG 2013

51st European High Pressure Research Group: EHPRG 2013

Queen Mary is organising and hosting the EHPRG51 conference in September this year. This is the annual meeting of the European High Pressure Research Group, which originated in the informal meeting in Harlow in 1963 organised by scientists at Standard Telecommunications Laboratories.

High pressure research is a well-established discipline, yielding interesting and exciting results in many fields of science, technology and biotechnology. EHPRG contributes to this development by bringing people together. The EHPRG also makes a yearly award to young scientists, to recognise their contributions to high pressure research.


Junk the Jargon

On Wednesday 27 February, ten PhD students from QM competed in the annual Junk the Jargon competition. Junk the Jargon challenges participants to communicate their research topic in an engaging and fun way to a broad audience - in just three minutes. The winner, Evelina Arushanova, a first-year PhD student from the Particle Physics Research Centre, taught us how the ‘neutrino’ particle is a lot like a spy. For the full story please see