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Lincoln College

Physics

Why study physics?

 

From subatomic scales to intergalactic distances, physics can help you understand how our universe behaves. By studying physics, you can solve unanswered questions and design new solutions to global problems. You also learn about the link between prediction, observation, and analysis: the scientific method that helps us develop and test evidence-based theories. Finally, physics develops your wider skills; obviously, you can gain strong quantitative and analytical skills, but you can also improve your communication, project management, and teamwork skills.

Meet our students

Alex Althuis

I am an international student studying Physics at Lincoln College. I started my 4-year MPhys in 2012, after graduating from an international high school in the Netherlands. Before living in the Netherlands, I lived in both Australia and Indonesia for a few years. I have always been interested in science and I decided I was most interested in Physics towards the end of high school. Studying physics at Oxford is a great experience; the work is both demanding and interesting, and it gives students a solid foundation to pursue further studies. As a Lincoln student, I receive fantastic support from my tutors. We have several weekly tutorials held in college to discuss topics covered in lectures and to go over our weekly problem sheets. These are very important because there isn’t enough time in lectures to cover the material to a sufficient depth. Additionally, the Lincoln tutors are very understanding and supportive when it comes to the students’ work-life balance. For instance, I have been able to play on the university tennis teams, which occasionally involves rescheduling tutorials or handing in work late. Another part of life at Lincoln are the great facilities. The food in hall is really good, and the location of the main site and the annexes couldn’t be better. The library is also very popular among the students and a great place to get work done. Overall, I have enjoyed my degree so far, and I am happy to be a member of Lincoln!

Crispin White

Hi, I'm Crispin and I'm completing an MPhys. Before I came to Lincoln, I took a 10 month industrial placement with a technological engineering firm during a gap year, which gave me a great insight in the practical applications of physics. I applied for physics as I enjoy understanding how the world works!

Studying physics at Oxford has been a great experience. The course is quite general, which I’ve really enjoyed as it’s given me a broad understanding of many different aspects of physics. However, in the 4th year you can specialise in the topics you are most interested in. I have chosen condensed matter physics and astrophysics, and my project will be on whether the latest discovered galaxies fit with the most recent models of the early universe. Studying physics at Lincoln has been particularly rewarding: we have a really strong group of tutors who work hard to ensure you get the most out of the course. I’ve also really enjoyed getting to know the other Lincoln physicists: the intake is small enough that you get to know everyone very well.

Being at Lincoln has been a great experience. When I applied, I primarily chose Lincoln as it offered accommodation for the whole undergraduate course – after the experience of finding my own accommodation during my gap year, this cannot be overstated!

However, once I arrived I found that it was Lincoln's small size that I really benefited from – there is a real community atmosphere and everyone is very friendly. Although Lincoln is small, it has many opportunities to offer. I’m a choral scholar with the college choir: singing services once or twice a week during term times, and I also help out with the college music society. In the second year, I helped to organise the Lincoln College May Ball – a biennial party organised by students for the college community and university.

Looking ahead to after the course, Lincoln also provides a great career mentoring service to help you work out what to do in the future: this is invaluable when jobs seem to be getting more competitive! I’ve decided not to pursue a career in physics but to start in Strategy Consulting in London. There’s no doubt that the experience of studying physics at Lincoln has been tremendously helpful for my application: but more importantly I’ve had a great time and really enjoyed studying the course.

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Meet our tutors

Radu Coldea

I am Radu Coldea and have been a Fellow of Lincoln College since 2008. I am a Professor of Experimental Condensed Matter Physics at the University of Oxford, having previously been a Lecturer and EPSRC Advanced Research Fellow at the University of Bristol. I held post-doctoral research positions in the Clarendon Laboratory in Oxford, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (USA) and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, after my Oxford DPhil. In 2008 I was awarded the B.T.M. Willis prize for neutron scattering from the Institute of Physics and the Faraday Division of the Royal Society of Chemistry for "fundamental research into quantum properties of novel materials". At Lincoln I teach second and third year Physics undergraduates and in the Physics Department I give a series of lectures as part of the 4th year Condensed Matter Physics Option – Magnetism and I also lecture part of a graduate course “Symmetry in Condensed Matter Physics”.

My research involves the use of x-ray and neutron scattering to probe the structure and dynamics in complex electronic materials with the aim to understand the quantum rules that govern the physical properties. In my group we study the crystal and magnetic structures of materials in single crystal form, often synthesized in our laboratory, using powerful x-ray and neutron beams to probe novel forms of magnetism and magnetic phase transitions. We often perform such measurements under extreme conditions of very low temperatures (miliKelvin) and high magnetic field (15 Tesla), when under certain circumstances novel quantum properties emerge.

Cigdem Issever

I am a Tutorial Fellow in Physics; I focus on teaching the Mathematical Methods and Quantum Mechanics courses in the second year at Lincoln. I am a particle physicist and member of the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN close to Geneva in Switzerland. My current research interest is the search for new exotic particles or physics effects beyond the Standard Model in jet final states. One of the most important discovery signatures at the LHC are final states with hadrons which produce complex particle showers initiated by them and by interactions with the detector material. These particle showers are reconstructed in the detectors as so called “jets”. In addition to the experimental searches I actively work on the calibration and performance studies of jets in the ATLAS detector with the focus on extremely energetic jets and large area jets important for the searches with highly energetic top quark and Higgs final states. 
Based on the graduate seminar "How to give a good Presentation" I wrote a book about "Presenting Science" with Professor Ken Peach. I also visit primary schools in the area of Oxford to talk about the work of particle physicists which is a lot of fun and I am also chair of the Outreach Committee of the Particle Physics Group at the University of Oxford. 
You can find more about my teaching and also my research here

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What does a typical day look like?

Emma Abell

6am: Wake up for an early morning rowing outing with the women’s Lincoln College Boat Club. Watch the sun rise over Christ Church Meadows as we push off the bank. 
8:30am: Return to Lincoln for a cooked breakfast and warm mug of tea in the college hall. 
9am: Take a five-minute walk to the physics department for lectures. Electromagnetism, thermodynamics, and quantum mechanics. 
12:30pm: Head to Deep Hall (college bar) for a toasted tuna baguette and catch up with friends. 
2pm: Tutorial on thermodynamics in college with two other Lincoln physicists. Great opportunity to review previous week’s problem sheet and ask my tutor about the best method to tackle the questions I couldn’t quite solve. 
3:30pm: Go to Lincoln library, a beautiful converted church, to work on this week’s electromagnetism problem set. 
4:30pm: Tea and cake break at the Missing Bean, a cafe on Turl Street.
5pm: Head back to library to continue studying.
7:15pm: Throw on my gown and head down to hall for a formal, candle-lit three-course dinner. 
8pm: Grab my cello and haul it off to music department for Oxford Millennium Orchestra rehearsal – preparation for “Last Night of the Proms” concert in the Sheldonian Theatre at the end of term.
10pm: Stroll to King’s Arms pub for a quick drink with friends from orchestra.
11pm: Chill out in front of the TV in the JCR.
Midnight: Off to bed!

Aaron Briggs

8:15am: Wake up, shower, breakfast and sort out stuff for lectures.
8:55am: Walk 5 minutes to Physics Department from Museum Road (Lincoln 3rd Year accommodation).
9:00am: 4 lectures in the Martin Wood Lecture Theatre. These usually consist of taking notes while the lecturer uses slides and blackboard notes to complement their talk.  
1:00pm: Head back to College for deli lunch in Deep Hall, or cooked meal in Hall.
1:30pm: Cycle to Barties (Lincoln College sports ground) for a College Football match. These are often once a week, though it can be more during a busy part of the season. 
2:00pm: Help Lincoln to emphatic 4-0 victory over rivals Brasenose.
4:30pm: Tutorial back in College with Radu in room 2:2. These sessions are really valuable with 2 or 3 students to 1 tutor, and usually lasting around one hour depending on the subject and tutor.
6:30pm: Head back to Mus Road, to shower and cook with my housemates. All third year houses have their own kitchens, sharing with four or six other people. 
7:45pm: Relax for a bit! On a busy day where you are on the go constantly, it can be tough to find time to socialise and take it easy, both of which are really important in a busy Oxford life.
9:00pm: Tutorial sheets and other work. I usually hand in my work to the tutors a few days before the tutorial and a good attempt is vital to make the most of the classes.
11:00pm: Wind down, do some leisure reading, watch some TV before bed.

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How does Lincoln College support physics students?

We have a thriving physics community at Lincoln, made up of undergraduates, graduates, and tutors. Lincoln College is in the centre of Oxford, close to the physics department and lecture theatres. We have a beautiful library with physics textbooks and substantial study space.
If you enter as an undergraduate, you will receive specialist tutorials from our team of tutors. You will meet your tutors several times a week to discuss topics from lectures, questions testing your knowledge, and the latest physical breakthroughs. Our tutors are subject experts who will provide you with individual feedback to help you achieve your best. Tutorials are a great opportunity to learn about new ideas in small groups, ask questions, and study in a supportive environment.
If you enter as a graduate, you will work on your project in your department. Lincoln will provide you with a College advisor, with whom you can discuss your research. There are also several grants to support graduate research.

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How do I apply to study physics at Lincoln College?

If you are applying to be a physics undergraduate at Lincoln, complete the annual Oxford/UCAS application. We look for strong physics students who would thrive at Oxford. As with all other Oxford Colleges, all candidates should take the PAT (Physics Aptitude Test). Based on the PAT result and the UCAS application, we invite candidates to interview, where we simulate a typical Oxford tutorial with questions on physics and mathematics. We expect candidates to have good predicted grades, a strong PAT result, and to excel at our interviews. We accept around six undergraduates each year. 
If you are applying to be a physics graduate at Lincoln, you should complete the Oxford application for a place. The application form will ask you to state your preferred College, which should be Lincoln!
You can find more information about the application process on the Oxford Physics website.

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