Oct 6, 2022
With us this month is Prof. Malcolm Longair, CBE, FRS, FRSE (and Munroist). Born in Dundee, in 1941, Malcolm studied Electronic Physics at what is now the University of Dundee, but was then part of St Andrews. After this, he came down south to the Cavendish, where he completed his PhD as part of the Radio Astronomy Group, supervised by Martin Ryle. Specialising in high energy astrophysics and astrophysical cosmology, Malcolm has since been a Royal Society Exchange Visitor to the USSR; held visiting professorships at prestigious institutions around the world; been the Astronomy Royal for Scotland; Cambridge’s Jacksonian Professor of Natural Philosophy; Deputy Head and Head of the Cavendish Laboratory. He has contributed to international scientific bodies, such as NASA and ESA, and found the time to publish 22 books, over 300 scientific papers, and give hundreds of public lectures.
Most recently, he has been Director of Development for the Cavendish Laboratory. In this role, he has helped modernise the Cavendish Laboratory, with the building of the Physics of Medicine building and Maxwell Centre, and the soon-to-be completed Ray Dolby Centre which will house most of the upcoming National Facility for Physics.
Today, we will be talking about Malcolm’s path into Physics, what over half a century of working at the cutting edge of science has taught him, and where he sees the Cavendish laboratory going in the future.
Stay with us…
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[00:36] – Guest’s intro
[02:39] – Starting out in Physics
[05:08] – Time at Cambridge doing PhD
[06:00] – 1960’s, the revolutionary decade of Astronomy
[08:00] – Time in Moscow 1968/1969 and change of attitude towards understanding science
[10:35] – Joining back at Cambridge as an Assistant Professor
[11:12] – Understanding in Physics continues to develop
[11:37] – Involvement with various organisations and evolving from research focused role to managing the big picture
[12:06] – Experience with SRC and becoming Astronomer Royal for Scotland
[13:55] – Interdisciplinary Scientist for Hubble Space Telescope (1977) and learning how to get big projects operating
[15:40] – Guidance to scientists looking at working in policy and related fields
[17:00] – Important things for scientists to think about for fundings and funding proposals
[20:49] – In the news this month we focus on how artificial intelligence is helping to speed up the discovery of new materials. Atoms are the basic building blocks of every material. Combining different types of atoms naturally leads to different materials. However, it is not just the types of atoms that determine material properties, but also their arrangement.
[24:37] – Moving back to Cavendish as Professor and Head of the Department, and rebuilding Cavendish Laboratory
[27:50] – Sequence of new Cavendish buildings and facilities to support different research areas (such as Physics of Medicine, Astrophysics and more)
[31:58] – Future vision essential for Cavendish
[33:02] – Key takeaways, suggestions for early science researchers / physicists
[36:35] – Outro
* Visit _Cavendish Astrophysics_ to understand more about their research.
* Read more about Cavendish Laboratory's new home and facility - Ray Dolby Centre
* Read the...