The University of Southampton

FPSE postgraduates beat the clock in 3MT competition

Published: 11 March 2015

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition challenges doctoral researchers to explain their research projects to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes. Given that the average PhD takes three years to complete, this seems like a very tall order to create something ultimately, rather short. Not so for the ten talented Physical Sciences and Engineering PhD students who took part in this year's Faculty heat.

The event on 4th March 2015 saw the postgraduates from the ORC, ECS and Physics and Astronomy compete to present their research in just three minutes in the hope of winning a £200 cash-prize and a place in the University 3MT Grand Final.

Presentations were given on a wide variety of projects, including optical spectroscopy, novel lasers and fibre technologies, integrated circuits for next-generation computing, spacecraft propulsion, quantum gravity and black holes. Following a deliberation of the judging panel, ECS PhD student Davide Zilli was announced as the winner for his talk on monitoring biodiversity using mobile technology, crowdsourcing and citizen science as part of the New Forest Cicada Project. The runner-up prize was awarded to the ORC’s Harish Acharya for his presentation, Building High Power Lasers.

Davide, who will go on to represent the Faculty at the University Grand Final, commented: "As PhD students we get to present our research in different contexts, but hardly ever in just 3 minutes. I was listening to the other entrants thinking how interesting all their talks were, and then started wondering whether I had managed to get my own ideas across. When my name was called for first prize I was speechless. Competing against the best candidates from the rest of the University will raise the bar even higher, but I'll try to give it my best shot."

The University Grand Final will take place on Wednesday 6th May. For more information, please visit the University Graduate School website.

Details of all the FPSE 3MT presentations can be found below. If you missed the event, a number the talks will be available shortly to watch on the following Academic Unit Youtube channels: ECS , ORC and Physics.

FPSE 3MT 2015 entrants:

• (Runner-up) Harish Acharya (ORC) Building high power lasers
• Jamie Court (P&A) Black holes; testing Einstein’s relativity
• Alexander Daykin-Iliopoulos (ECS) High powered heaterless hollow cathode
• Deepak Jain (ORC) High power fibre lasers
• Saurabh Jain (ORC) Multi-element fibre for space-division multiplexing in optical communication
• Anthony Preston (P&A) Gravity and the cosmos at different scales of length
• Matthew Proctor (ORC) Optical chips for quantum computers
• Joe Spencer (P&A) Nano: How low can you go?
• Theo Chen Sverre (P&A) Laser resonance of nanostructures
• (Winner) Davide Zilli (ECS) New Forest Cicada Project

Members of the judging panel: Tom Carr (Research Funding Development Manager, Zepler Institute), Dr Peter Horak (Reader, and Head of the Computational Nonlinear Optics Group, ORC), Joyce Lewis (Senior Fellow for Partnerships and Business Development, ECS), Prof Christian Knigge (Professor of Astrophysics and Director of Programmes, P&A), and Dr Gopal Ramchurn (Agents, Interaction, and Complexity Group (AIC), ECS)

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