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.

Winners of UROS-2021 research projects awards

Maths & Physics News

In the university-wide Undergraduate Research Opportunities Scheme (UROS), the in 2021 are students of School of Mathematics and Physics:

Roksana Kulengowska, with project “Calculating the Hill Sphere of Known Exoplanets: Which Exoplanets Could Host Moon Systems?“, under supervision of Dr Phil Sutton, and

Christopher Denison, with project “Lamellar Block Copolymers Under Shear Flow“, under supervision of Dr Marco Pinna & Dr Javier Diaz.

These wins continue the successful participation of our students in previous years: in 2020 one of the two runners-up for People’s Choice Award was

Henry Macpherson, with project “Mathematical modelling of polymer capsules“, under supervision of Dr Martin Greenall (

The 2021 winners were announced at the on-campus UROS Celebration event on the 11th November, in Skal Tipi:

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Astro-Chat: White dwarfs

Science views

an astro-chat with

Professor Don Kurtz

Visiting Professor, School of Mathematics and Physics, University of Lincoln, UK

Friday, 10 December 2021

7:00-8:00 pm

Live online

Book a place

Stars do not live forever. They are born out of the gas and dust in our Milky Way Galaxy and spend much of their lives fusing hydrogen to helium, the same energy source that powers our terrifying hydrogen bombs, but will one day provide abundant, clean, cheap power to us. Over the coming billions of years the Sun will swell to become a red giant star, boiling the Earth’s oceans and blowing away its atmosphere. It will then become a white dwarf star mostly made of carbon and only about the size of Earth. The oldest white dwarfs that formed when the Milky Way was young, 11 billion years ago, have now cooled to 3000 C, and crystallised into giant carbon crystals…

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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?

Astro-Chat: Juno at Jupiter

Science views

an astro-chat with

Professor Don Kurtz

Visiting Professor, School of Mathematics and Physics, University of Lincoln, UK

Friday, 24 September 2021

7:00-8:00 pm

Live online

Book a place

Jupiter is big. Really Big. (Apologies to Douglas Adams). It is the beautiful, bright planet that is visible all night now, rising in the east just after sunset, then travelling across the sky to set around sunrise. It will be with us through the end of the year. In our solar system, this is the big one. Jupiter has more mass than all the other planets, asteroids, comets and moons added together. In Roman mythology Jupiter is god of the sky and king of the gods. His wife, Juno, is the daughter of Saturn and mother of Mars. This is an illustrious family. Ten years ago, NASA launched a mission to Jupiter, naming it after Juno. It is a long way to…

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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:

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