Teacher Events

Making Materials Matter 2018 Teachers Conference
Friday 13th July 2018.

Prof Louise Archer An exciting conference with opportunities to network with colleagues and learn more about the subject of Materials Science, where it fits into the current curricular and the importance of science enrichment opportunities. The Making Materials Matter conference is funded by The Company of Ironmongers and held at the Ironmongers Hall in London concludes a 6-month KS3 materials science project run collaboratively by Oxford & Cambridge Universities and Imperial College London. All resources developed from the project will be made freely available to teachers, enabling them to link curriculum content to materials science. Conference speakers include Professor Louise Archer, who will be delivering the education plenary on her important research on science capital and Dr Rachel Oliver who will be delivering the materials science plenary, ‘Illuminating Materials.’

Illuminating Materials

Illuminating RachelAbout a quarter of the electricity generated worldwide is used for lighting. Energy efficient light bulbs based on light emitting diodes (LEDs) are about five times more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs, and hence have the potential to allow enormous energy savings. The key material used in LEDs which emit white light is gallium nitride, a man made compound, which has never been observed to occur in nature. Optimising this new material to make LEDs which are efficient, long-lived and reasonably affordable has been a huge challenge, and despite the undoubted commercial success of these devices many aspects of their operation remain mysterious. This lecture will explain how we can take LEDs apart, literally atom by atom, to understand their structure and how this controls their properties. The relevant techniques emerged from traditional metallurgy, but are now being used to understand materials for cutting edge optoelectronic devices, illustrating how the basic principles of materials science are vital to the development of the technologies of tomorrow.

Dr Rachel Oliver

Dr Rachel Oliver is Reader in Materials Science at Cambridge University, and will be the Director of the Cambridge Centre for Gallium Nitride from March 2018. She received her PhD in semiconductor nanotechnology from Oxford University in 2003 and since then has published more than 200 research papers. Her current research interests centre on gallium nitride, particularly understanding and engineering its structure at the very small scale. This involves her in the development of both a range of light sources (from light emitting diodes to more esoteric light emitters such as single photon sources for use in quantum cryptography) and also electronic devices for power conversion, data transmission, sensing and logic. Dr Oliver is also an enthusiastic advocate for women in science, and founded the Robinson College Women in Science Festival. She is involved in a number of outreach projects, including a series of hands on workshops about light and light emitting devices for young people across the age range from 5 to 18. She leads the development of android apps which explain nitride light sources to a wide audience. In 2015 she was awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering / Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship.