Imperial College, Queen's Gate, South Kensington
London, England SW7 2AZ

Professor Roland A Smith, Professor of Laser Physics, presents his Inaugural Lecture on; “Snowballs and Supernovae: Recreating astrophysical events in the laboratory using high-power lasers.”

In the Chair: Professor Jonathan Marangos, Lockyer Chair in Physics, Imperial College London.

Vote of Thanks: Professor Henry Hutchinson, University of Bordeaux.

A tea/coffee reception will precede the lecture at 16:45 and a drinks reception will follow in the Blackett Common Room, Level 8, Blackett Building

Abstract: Pulsed lasers now allow us to deliver peak powers in excess of one Petawatt (1015W, over 100x the world’s total electrical generating capacity) to a small target in under a picosecond. The extraordinarily energetic plasmas created in this way can be harnessed to study exotic process in the laboratory that have previously only been hinted at in observations of distant astrophysical objects such as supernova remnants and plasma jets launched during star formation. Surprisingly, many of the physical processes which operate over light year distances and timescales of thousands of years in these objects can be recreated in the laboratory, provided sufficiently extreme initial conditions can be reached. In this lecture I will explore the development of high power lasers, how they can be applied to create extreme states of matter in the laboratory, and how these small scale experiments can provide insight into the birth and death of stars.

Biography: Roland Smith graduated from the University of Bristol in 1985 and undertook his PhD research in the Plasma Physics group of Imperial College, working at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory on experimental x-ray laser systems. In 1989 he joined the then newly formed Blackett Laboratory Laser Consortium as a Post Doc to study laser produced plasmas, and was drawn into the development of new types of short-pulse, ultra-high-power lasers. This lead to an EPSRC Advanced Fellowship in 1993 which he used to blend laser development with high-field atomic physics and plasma physics in areas such as high harmonic generation and radiation transport. He was appointed Lecturer in Instrumentation Physics at Imperial College in 1998, becoming a Reader in Laser Physics in 2003. His research interests have evolved to encompass nanoscale objects in intense laser fields, attoscience, and laser driven laboratory astrophysics. In 2008 he was appointed Professor of Laser Physics.

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Added by balabanovic on January 6, 2010


Harry Wood

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