Nuffield Project being carried out at the Astrocampus at the University of York

Nuffield Research Placements

Nuffield research placements are 4-week projects for year 12 students that take place during the summer holidays. They're a fantastic opportunity to work with professional scientists and to study a topic in depth. 

Further information about the Nuffield scheme is available here:

Please note that all applications should be made directly to Nuffield and not to the University. 

Nuffield Projects 2019

Dr. Charles Barton: 
Radio Interferometry at York

Radio Interferometry is a powerful research technique allowing observations of different astronomical objects to be made including the recently imaged black hole Powehi in the galaxy M87. The technique itself is very simple to implement. At the Astrocampus at the University of York, we have build a two-element radio interferometer using satellite television receivers that can "see" radiation at 12GHz. You will use the receivers on a laboratory bench-top to learn how to the technique works by making observations of compact florescent lightbulbs which also emit small amounts of microwave radiation at 12GHz. We will then complete a project started last summer by two students to build, adapt and use a metal baseline rig to align our small satellite dishes on the Sun and measure the diameter of our Sun at 12 GHz. This will be a different-sized Sun that we can see visibly. Your completed work will results in a new instrument for use by our 3rd year Physics with Astrophysics students at York.


Prof. Roy Chantrell:
Theory of heating in nanoparticle systems for magnetic hyperthermia

(Computing project based in Quantum Hub)

When subjected to an alternating magnetic field, a system of magnetic nanoparticles generates heat leading to an increase in temperature. Injection of nanoparticles into a tumour and exposure to an alternating field leads to hyperthermia (a heating of the tumour), which can lead to its destruction. As a therapy, magnetic nanoparticle hyperthermia is non-invasive and has no side effects. However, the underlying physics of the heating effect is not well understood. The project will use an existing York computer model to investigate the physics of the heating process and to consider how the hyperthermia therapy might be improved.


Dr Emily Brunsden:
Solar Physics

(Practical project based at the University’s Observatory, the Astrocampus)

The Sun as our local star is a fascinating look at stellar physics up close. This project will use a solar telescope to capture high-quality images of the Sun and study its features such as spots, filaments, granulation and flares. Students will learn the process of acquiring and processing astronomical images and use them to investigate the physics of solar activity, including differential rotation.


Dr Charles Barton:
Galactic Hydrogen Distribution

(Practical project based at the University’s Observatory, the Astrocampus)

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the observable Universe and our galaxy, the Milky Way, is composed of huge hydrogen gas clouds. These clouds emit radio waves with a wavelength of 21cm and a frequency of 1.42GHz. In this project, students will use the University’s 3m radio telescopes to detect these emissions in order to produce a rotation curve of our galaxy. This will show how the galaxy moves as a whole, and may provide evidence for the existence of dark matter.


Dr Christian Diget:
Medical Applications of Nuclear Physics

(Computing project based in the Department of Physics)

Nuclear physics is used extensively in medical applications, with many medical physicists working within the NHS. This project will involve building simulations of radiation treatments (such as that for cancer) using standard photon beam radiation treatments (X-ray radiation) in comparison to the novel proton beam treatment. The project is computational, and will involve assessment of the dose distribution depending on the beam collimation, energy, and direction, for both proton beams and X-ray (photon) beams.