Doctoral Masterclasses

I regularly deliver classes to local doctoral schools covering two areas of science which are particular passions: nonlinearity, and science communication.  The abstracts are below.  These are delivered in full day formats, and can be either online or in person. In the latter case, they can take on a "Masterclass" aspect with breakout sessions etc.

The remarkable landscape of nonlinear science

Research in many areas of science exploits the study of nonlinear concepts, where phenomena such as chaos, synchronization and emergence reveal a rich landscape of new physical phenomena. This course will provide an overview of some selected topics in this field, with a particular emphasis on phenomena in hydrodynamics and optical systems. Specific topics covered will include:

- Historical Development: the Manhattan project, chaos, lasers
- The key ideas of nonlinear science: chaos; solitons; self-similarity
- Selected examples of specific nonlinear systems e.g. the optical soliton
- Practical applications of nonlinear science in physics, engineering and biology
- Nonlinear analogies: tabletop astrophysics; optical rogue waves etc.
- Numerical modelling of the nonlinear Schrödinger equation

This course will provide the following learning outcomes

- An appreciation of the history and development of nonlinear science
- An introduction to the key concepts of nonlinearity: chaos, solitons, emergence, attractors etc.
- An overview of nonlinear soliton waves in optical fibres
- An understanding of nonlinear analogies (e.g. optical event horizons, optical rogue waves)
- An introduction to modeling a nonlinear system

Science Communication

This Module will be suitable for a broad range of students: those interested in enhancing the visibility of their own research to scientific peers; those interested in teaching, outreach and public engagement; students interested in science communication career opportunities. Topics to be covered will include:
- The context of science communication – why we need to explain what we do.
- How science communication works – the “ecosystem” of journals, newspapers, social media #scicomm
- The importance of science communication in promoting the visibility of your own research.
- Science literacy and creating public support for science.
- How to write. From papers in high impact journals to effective “non-specialist summaries”. The “inverted pyramid” approach.
- How science communication is important in your career e.g. seeking research funding.
- Case studies of the failure of science communication e.g. climate change denial, antivax, COVID.

This course will provide the following learning outcomes

- An appreciation of the importance of science communication in promoting the visibility of your own research, developing your career, and in creating public support for basic and applied science.
- An understanding of how to adapt science communication to different audiences: professional scientific peers; the public; students; policy-makers.
- Training in how to write about science and produce research summaries for different audiences e.g. a scientific paper ; press release; a public blog entry; a newspaper article.
- How to develop potential career opportunities in science communication and outreach.