Physics at 50‌ celebration

Physics at 50

Our 50th anniversary event took place on Saturday 30 January 2016. Over 300 alumni joined us for the event as well as staff and students. We had an assortment of activities and entertainment to suit all ages.

We started the day with a slice of Newton apple pie and a ‘Down memory lane…’ panel session with some of the earliest members of staff: Dr Richard Keesing, Professor Peter Main and Dr Derek Jacobs, chaired by our Head of Department, Professor Sarah Thompson. We were then joined by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Koen Lamberts who officially opened our newly-refurbished teaching labs.

After lunch we had a whole range of activities for our alumni to take part in: Department, campus, research lab and Astrocampus tours, our inflatable cosmodomes, a LEGO nuclear chart and experiments and demonstrations in our teaching labs, including the Leaping Ring, liquid nitrogen and the Speed of Light.

‌‌Physics at 50 photos

The evening got off to a great start with the Vice-Chancellor unveiling Dave Coulthard’s, Research Services Manager incredible ‘Unlocking physics for 50 years’ sculpture at our drinks reception. After a buffet dinner, Peter Knight, one of our first students in the cohort of 1965, who received the first 1st, entertained us all greatly with his reminisces of the early days of the Department. We then put on our dancing shoes for a great Department tradition, the ceilidh, by student band Rambler’s Gate. Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side so we were unable to star gaze at the Astrocampus but student band Dysfunktion greatly entertained us until the evening’s close.

It was a truly wonderful day and we give massive thanks to those who were able to attend and help out. We learnt a great deal about the early days of Physics at York and rekindled relationships. We greatly value our Physics community and hope to stay in touch for the next 50 years and beyond.

We launched our Physics Futures fund, which has been established to help us develop life-transforming research in medical physics, provide exceptional opportunities for exceptional students and inspire young people with a passion for scientific discovery.

As part of our 50th celebration visiting Science Communicator, Dr Chris Stewart created a wonderful anniversary film showcasing some of our research, the Astrocampus and memories from Professor Michael Woolfson and Dr Richard Keesing. With the help of the Alumni office, we also produced an anniversary booklet highlighting some of the Department’s achievements and notable dates from the past 50 years. You can view all the day time photos here and the night time photos here.

Videos of the event, including the day's highlights, Professor Sarah Thompson's welcome, 'Down memory lane' and the VC's opening of the 50th sculpture are available here.

Here’s to the next 50!