From War And Peace To The Moon

How to grow a moon, and understanding the evolution of war and peace.

This event will include a viewing of some of our Creative Reactions artworks – art inspired by our Pint of Science speakers’ research.

May 9th 2022

Doors 7pm
Event 7.30pm to 9.30pm
The Pessimist, 4 Mint Lane,
Lincoln LN1 1UD

How to grow a moon

Dr Phil Sutton (Senior Lecturer in Astrophysics)

Most planets in our Solar System have moons orbiting them. The search is on to find moons orbiting planets outside of our solar system, known as exomoons, due to their potential for supporting life. But how do moons form and end up where we find them? This talk will consider some scenarios that can lead to planets having moons, like planetary impacts and gravitational capture.

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Evolution of war and peace

Prof Bino Majolo (Professor of Social Evolution)

Scientists and philosophers have debated for centuries over the peaceful or aggressive nature of humans. This talk will present work from psychology, anthropology and animal behaviour to critically evaluate the extent to which our evolutionary past explains our aggressive or peaceful tendencies.

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Maths & Physics Students Publish An Article On Exoring & Exomoons

Congratulations to current Mathematics student (Brayden Albery) and Physics alumni (Jake Muff) on their first research article. Both worked on small research projects during the summer, one of which was funded by Undergraduate Research Opportunity Scheme (UROS), to help understand the huge ring system thought to orbit the large exoplanet known as J1407b. The ring system was inferred by the unusually long and uneven transit when the planet passed in front of the star J1407, also known as V1400 Centauri. Previous work had shown that a gap in the ring could not be caused by an orbital resonance with a nearby exomoon, similar to how the Cassini Division is formed by the 2:1 orbital resonance with the moon Mimas (seen as the gap in the middle of the ring below).

The new research aim tot investigate if exomoons were able to form in the ring, which could then carve out a gap and is comparable to how the moons Pan and Daphne carve gaps in Saturn’s rings (below).

Simulations of the ring around J1407b as it orbited the star on a very elliptical orbit showed that it was not possible to form moons. The ring underwent significant disruption that hindered the formation of moons. However, an interesting feature was observed in one of the models. A gap did form in a similar location (0.4AU) in the ring where the original gap had been inferred from the transit.

Above: Four models of a retrograde ring system during their close encounter with the star. The eccentricity of the planets orbit increases for each row, and shows a greater degree of distortion. The right hand side gives the surface density of the ring.

Congratulations To PhD Student George Bell On His First Paper

A new paper by PhD student George Bell titled “The Gravitational Braking of Captured Moons Around Ringed Planets” has been published in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society

The paper and project aims to investigate capture dynamics of irregular moons around ringed planets, with Phoebe and Saturn used as a real case study (below).


Irregular moons are a class of satellite found orbiting all of the Solar System’s giant planets: as their orbits do not match those of their planets, they are theorised to have formed elsewhere in the Solar System and were subsequently captured into their observed orbits. Missions such as Cassini have contributed significant empirical data on irregular moons in the present day but this paper aims to develop our currently limited theoretical understanding of their origins and capture as it presents one of the first projects to connect moon capture with another feature common to all giant planets: ring systems.
As a captured body gravitationally brakes around a ringed planet, it transfers orbital energy to the planetary system, a process which has been seen to leave distinctive signatures on the rings which may be used to constrain key parameters of this interaction, including the trajectory and timing. This paper presents a project which applies this technique to constrain scenarios for moon capture through conducting a series of computational simulations using the Python version of the astrophysical code REBOUND modelling the capture of the large irregular moon Phoebe by the planet Saturn and
Phoebe’s effect on Saturn’s ring system. By helping to constrain scenarios for moon capture, this research will further our understanding of the moon systems of the giant planets while simulating the effects of a moon’s interaction with a ring system by offering insight into the formation and evolution of planetary rings, whether within our own Solar System or orbiting exoplanets.

Astronomical Questions and Quantum Queries

Quantum physics and Astrophysics have been captivating the minds of Physicists and the general public for decades. In this event, two of our academics from the School of Mathematics and Physics here at the University of Lincoln will start the discussion with their ‘top tricky questions’ in the fields of astrophysics and quantum physics.

Astronomy (Dr Phil Sutton:

  • How many Moons does the Earth have?
  • Why are there no green stars?

Quantum Physics (Dr Matt Booth):

  • What is wave / particle duality?
  • What is a wave function?
  • What is superposition?

Meet The Physicist Event

A fun , relaxed and informative event for A-level and GSCE students to promote the pursuit of the study of Physics!

About this event

I believe it’s important for people to realise that pursuing the study of Physics, and going on to centre your career on it, isn’t just one straight path. It’s one with options to change direction, there’s a whole multitude of things you can do with Physics.

I didn’t realise that until University. I just kept doing Physics because I loved to do it, I had no idea of how much I could do with it until much later on! So, I’ve organised this session for precisely that purpose and to also get people inspired.

Manuela is a lecturer at the University of Lincoln and is an expert in some of the computer simulation techniques in condensed matter physics. She has a PhD from King’s College London in Computational Physics where she wrote her thesis on the theoretical characterization of STM images of assemblies of flat organic molecules on metal surfaces, under the supervision of Prof Lev Kantorovitch. Manuela also has a MSc in Physics from the University of Cagliari, she is from Italy originally.

Sorcha is a PhD student at the University of Liverpool. Both will be talking about their backgrounds in physics and their current research.

Get tickets to this online event here:

Stellar Evolution 101: STFC Introductory Astronomy Summer School

This was a talk given by Dr Phil Sutton at the 2021 STFC Introductory Astronomy Summer School, which was hosted by The University of Hull. The talk gives a broad overview of stellar evolution, using the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram as the template to explain the key stages like protostar, main sequence, red giant, planetary nebular and the stellar remnants white dwarf stars, neutron star stars and black holes.

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