We were delighted to welcome back Tormead alumna, Jemima (Class of 2017), to deliver a Beacon lecture to our scholars about her PhD work trying to detect dark matter. Dark matter makes up a significant proportion of the mass of galaxies but does not reflect or give off light as normal matter does. Jemima masterfully explained, in a way accessible to scientists and non-scientist alike, how we know dark matter is out there, the current theories about what it might be and her role in a team building a detector for one of the candidate theories – WIMPS (weakly interacting massive particles) – down a deep salt mine in North Yorkshire. The thickness of rock above the mine will screen out most of the other particles bombarding the Earth from outer space. Jemima is specifically researching the levels of radioactive emissions from the surrounding minerals. Once these are understood and accounted for, what is left in the detector may be traces of the elusive dark matter.

As well as giving such a fascinating lecture, Jemima was generous with her time talking to the students about her career path and working as a woman in this field. Her enthusiasm was palpable and her message was to pursue your passion and opportunities will follow!

Where next?