School of Physics and Astronomy

Search site

Latest news

National Teaching Fellowship for Physics Lecturer

14 September 2017

Dr Samantha Pugh has been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship, one of the most prestigious awards for higher education teaching.

The Higher Education Academy (HEA) announced Dr Samantha Pugh, Lecturer in STEM Education in the School of Physics and Astronomy and Faculty Lead for Teaching Enhancement, has been made a National Teaching Fellow in recognition of excellence in teaching. This brings Leeds’ tally to 26 – the highest of any university.

Dr Pugh said:

“It’s really wonderful to be recognised with a National Teaching Fellowship. I’m very grateful to the University of Leeds for giving me the opportunities and encouragement. I would like to also acknowledge all of the amazing colleagues and students that I have the pleasure of working with, who have made this award possible.”

Professor Tom Ward, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education said:

“The University’s innovative programme of research-based education is committed to developing independent, critical thinkers who make a difference to the world around them

“Leeds is a Russell Group university that has always placed an emphasis on recognising and rewarding teaching excellence alongside its exceptional research expertise. The National Teaching Fellowship Scheme is an important recognition of that excellence and it is with great pleasure that I congratulate Samantha.”

Dr Pugh’s work focuses on helping students to improve their prospects in the long term. This includes working with them to embed specific skills into their courses that employers will recognise, and involving both employers and students in how courses are shaped, particularly through the Group Industrial Project in Physics. She also established the popular Peer Assisted Learning Scheme across the Faculty of Mathematics and Physical Sciences.

She established Industrial Advisory Boards in Chemistry, Maths and Physics: a major step in enhancing employer engagement with the University. She is also renowned for inspiring and mentoring colleagues to shape teaching through pedagogic research and scholarship at Leeds and beyond.

Dr Pugh has also secured a prestigious Leeds Excellence and Innovation Fellowship sabbatical at the Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence, leading the project Reimagining University Assessment by Learning from Secondary Education.

Further information

The HEA manages the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme on behalf of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, and the Department for the Economy (DfE) in Northern Ireland.

High Education academy has praised the impact of Dr Pugh’s work.

Dr Robert Purdy authors new book on particle physics

11 September 2017

Dr Robert Purdy, School of Physics and Astronomy, has authored a new book on particle physics.

The publication is a comprehensive introduction to particle physics, aimed at third-year undergraduates. 

There are two versions of the publication, The Fundamentals of Particle Physics, published in the UK, and Particle Physics: An Introduction, published in the US.

It is written to complement the third-year module Dr Purdy, who is also part of the Theoretical Physics Research Group, leads: Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics. This particular module provides an in-depth introduction to theoretical particle physics. 

It is a basis for further study in particle physics, astrophysics, detector physics and other areas of science and technology, which require elementary knowledge of particle physics concepts.

About the publication

Particle Physics remains one of the most popular aspects of modern physics to study. It seeks to understand the Universe at its most fundamental level by examining the building blocks from which the Universe is ultimately constructed. Specifically, The Fundamentals of Particle Physics considers what symmetries exist in nature and how they are represented. As a result, many of its underlying principles can be applied to other areas of physics. Understanding Particle Physics is therefore essential for physics undergraduate students. 

This book provides a comprehensive overview of particle physics, with an emphasis on the underlying principles and mathematical structures. In particular, the role of symmetries in nature is explored, as well as how this leads to an understanding of the particle Universe. The book has three main aims. Firstly, to introduce the key concepts of particle physics. Secondly, to provide a solid understanding of the Standard Model of particle physics, as well as looking beyond to potential future developments in the field. Thirdly, to present the necessary tool-kit required for further exploration in particle physics, with each chapter accompanied by exercises to support understanding.

Further information

Dr Purdy’s book is available to purchase on Amazon 

School of Physics and Astronomy scores highly for student satisfaction

9 August 2017

The School of Physics and Astronomy scored 90% for overall student satisfaction in the latest National Student Survey (NSS).

The University overall has also performed well, achieving a score of 89%.

The NSS gathers feedback from mostly final-year undergraduate students about their experience studying their course at their institution. The University of Leeds had a 70% response rate.  

Further information

More detailed results are available on the HEFCE website.

Professor Cliff Jones wins prestigious Katharine Burr Blodgett Medal and Prize

30 June 2017

Cliff Jones, of the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leeds, has been awarded one of the Institute of Physics' (IoP) gold medals for 2017.

IoP gold medals reward outstanding and sustained contributions to physics by people of international reputation.

Specifically, Professor Jones has been recognised for his contributions to the organisation or application of physics in an industrial or commercial context.

Cliff's industrial achievements include being co-inventor of the Zenithal Bistable Display and founding Displaydata Ltd.

Read more about Professor Jones' award and achievements on the Institute of Physics website.


Fully funded PhD position(s) available

6 June 2017

The School of Physics and Astronomy is seeking highly-motivated candidates for fully-funded PhD positions.

Are you about to graduate with a 1st or good 2.1 degree in Physics?  Have you got an interest in carrying out research in soft matter or biological physics on a project with industrial relevance? We are seeking highly-motivated candidates for fully-funded PhD positions to work on one of the following projects:

• Imaging of biological materials using microbubbles and nanorods as approaches to cancer detection (;

• Liquid crystal composites for multimode optoelectronic devices (;

• Switchable lenses and sensors using novel soft materials (;

• Bistable Liquid Crystal Lenses and reconfigurable Holographic elements (

• Mapping drug distribution of microbubble-based therapeutic delivery in tumours using Raman and mass spectroscopy (;

• Optimising plasmonic-based biosensors (

The projects are all collaborative with industry so the successful applicant will have the opportunity to gain experience of industrially relevant research. Further details of each of the projects can be obtained by contacting the relevant named person. Informal general enquires can be made to Dr Critchley

The successful applicant(s) will hold or be about to receive a 1st or good 2.1. degree in Physics.  The funding is available for UK/EU students only.

Applications must be made in the first instance by submitting a CV by e-mail to Dr Kevin Critchley Your CV must state your actual or anticipated degree result, known marks and relevant experience. Please name two referees who can comment on your motivation and potential to carry out research. 

Applications to be made as soon as possible. The PhD position must start on 1st October 2017. 

Displaying results 1 to 5 out of 100