News Item

Sandy one of top UK Physics Students

The School is delighted to announce that one of its recent graduates has been selected as one of the best three physics students in the UK for 2009-10. Sandy Rogers was nominated for the Science, Engineering, and Technology Awards on the basis of his achievements at St Andrews, and in particular for his final year project.

Sandy's project work was with the School's millimetre-wave research group, and involved him studying the interaction between electromagnetic radiation of millimetre wavelength and volcanic dust. Given the disruption to air travel due to volcanic dust earlier in the year his project was particularly topical.

Sandy outside the venue of the awards dinnerSandy is pictured alongside with his girlfriend outside the venue for the awards dinner. He tells us

"I was delighted to be nominated and short-listed for the SET award, and the award ceremony was a spectacular end to an enjoyable and succesful final year project.

The project involved measuring the permittivity of volcanic material at millimetre-wave frequencies - necessary information in allowing the use of millimetre-wave radar for quantitative ash cloud monitoring. This work was in line with ongoing research in the Millimetre Wave and EPR Group, but the timely nature of the topic was highlighted by the SET judging panel. It is satisfying to know that undergraduate student projects have the potential to contribute to scientific knowledge in this way, and it is this originality that the SET awards support. It is therefore thanks to the school's approach to involving students in research that my work was recognised.

In particular I wish to thank my supervisors Duncan Robertson and Dav Macfarlane."

Sandy has gone on to study for a PhD in Astronomy at the Institute for Astronomy at Edinburgh University, with joint supervision from the STFC UK Astronomy Technology Centre. Both organisations are based at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh. His project is in determining which targets and operating modes of the James Webb Space Telescope (commonly called "Hubble's Successor", to be launched in 2014) will be of most use in determining physical properties of the earliest galaxies in the universe, out to redshifts z>7 where the universe is only ~1 GYr old.

First posted BDS 26.9.10

updated 27.9.10