Science Outreach

Welcome! And thanks for being here, If you reach this part of the website is because you are curious, fantastic. I bet you will keep reading and scrolling till the end!


Science is fun, and sharing it even more!

This is our philosophy. Science, Physics should be accessible and understandable for everyone! And I really mean it, accessible to my youngest cousin (~4 years) and to my grandparents (~8 decades). Assuming that you do not have a grandparent that is a Nobel Laureate.

However, you are right. Other parts of my website are a little bit less accessible for a general audience. But that is why is this page for. To help and highlight parts from the mainstream of activities and research I do. You understand that scientific work has to be, formal and there is a lot technical words that are required to communicate and spread results. Nevertheless, you can always ask me in case of interest in any of my publications, material, etc. or if you are interested in any explanation, or question. If it is within my reach, I will be glad to help.

Now, let’s start with a series of questions, –do not worry,– are for me!

What is Physics? 

Physics is “the study of matter, energy, and the interaction between them”. But what it really means is that physics is about asking fundamental questions and trying to answer them by observing and experimenting. Formulating, simple rules, with a mathematical frame and then do predictions. Physicists ask BIG questions like:

  • How did the universe begin?
  • How will the universe change in the future?
  • How does the Sun keep on shining?
  • What are the basic building blocks of matter?

If you think these questions are fascinating, then you’ll like physics.

What do Physicists do?

Many physicists work in ‘pure’ research, trying to find answers to these types of question. The answers they come up with often lead to unexpected technological applications. Physics doesn’t just deal with theoretical concepts. It’s applied in every sphere of human activity, including:

  • Development of sustainable forms of energy production.
  • Treating cancer, radiotherapy, and diagnosing illness by imaging, all is based on physics.
  • Developing computer games. Yes, some of them.
  • Design and manufacture of sports equipment or sports cars.
  • Understanding and predicting earthquakes or other natural phenomena.

…in fact, pretty much every sector you can think of needs people with physics knowledge.

What about mathematics?

Many apparently complicated things in nature can be understood in terms of relatively simple mathematical relationships. Physicists try to uncover these relationships through observing, creating mathematical models, and testing them by doing experiments. The mathematical equations used in physics often look far more complicated than they really are. Nevertheless, if you are going to study physics, you will need to get to grips with a certain amount of maths. 

…and computers?

Physicists are increasingly using advanced computers and programming languages in the solution of scientific problems, particularly for modelling complex processes. If the simulation is not based on correct physics, then it has no chance of predicting what really happens in nature. Most degree courses in physics now involve at least some computer programming.

 Why did I decide to study physics?

Simply because Physics challenges our imagination. And is the main reason why I love so much physics. Additionally, Physics requires in-depth knowledge of many other Sciences (and I am very curious) for example, Math, Computational science, Biology, engineering, chemistry, even philosophy! 

 So, what especially do you work on José?

Physics is vast, it spread from Cosmology, High-energy, Astrophysics, Applied Physics, etc., really a lot! I work in a remarkable branch of Physics: In Condensed Matter Physics. You can think of it, as everything related to the physics of solids. In other words, I use the theoretical work developed by great minds (Nobel Laureates), quantum mechanics. I use these theories, and sometimes help to create new ones. Afterwards, also implement these theories (equations) in computers. We passed to supercomputers, then “they” do the job for us : )  


YPF meeting on “Quantum Information ” [12/05/2019]

 

On May (2019) I had the great honour to be invited at the YPF meeting on “Quantum Information” and give the closure talk. The YPF is a yearly meeting organised and attended by extremely motivated young physicist students from all over Switzerland. This time was held in Basel. You can consult all the talks and more information here. https://www.young-physicists.ch/topic.

Picture after the talk and just before going to lunch!

Visualizing a crystal transformation with virtual reality

Different approaches to do science nowadays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


TecDays by SATW in Kantonsschule Heerbrugg (2019), Kantonsschule (2018) and Kantonsschule Bern (2017)

 

Science outreach activities are incredible in so many ways. They can generate much-needed excitement and interest in science with students and the public. They create appreciation in the community for your profession and institution. Delivering them brings a sense of accomplishment, sociability, and community. Providing science outreach activities is also a great way to gain a deeper understanding of science and its applications and develop valuable communication skills. As part of this, several years, I had to take part in outreach activities in Kantonsshchulen (high schools) in Switzerland and deliver funny talks with a scientific character, about: 

Supercomputer: Die Zukunft der Materialwissenschaften
Dank immer schneller werdender Computer ist es heute möglich, im virtuellen Labor die Eigenschaften von Materialien oder Stoffen zu simulieren. Diese Simulationen sind nützlich für die Entwicklung von Solarzellen, supraleitenden Materialien, Computerkomponenten und Materialien zur Speicherung von neuen Energieträgern wie z.B. Wasserstoff. Supraleitende Materialien können elektrischen Strom ohne Widerstand verlustfrei leiten und somit zu erheblichen Energieeinsparungen führen.
Zusätzlich stossen sie Magnetfelder aus und könnten damit andere Technologien wie Quantencomputer ermöglichen. Um die quantenmechanischen Gesetze der atomaren Welt korrekt zu berücksichtigen, sind für solche Simulationen die schnellsten Computer dieser Welt notwendig. Dieses Modul gibt einen interaktiven Einblick in den Entwurf neuer Materialien mit Hilfe von Supercomputern. Wir werden am Computer ein Molekül basteln und anschliessend auf dem Grossrechner der Universität Basel eine Simulation laufen lassen. Wir werden auch eine atomare Simulation mit Hilfe einer Virtual-Reality-Brille analysieren. Wer findet das «beste» Molekül?
Some images of the latest incursion Kantonsschule Heerbrugg, March 2019.