Who we are:
Prof. Kai Bongs, Physics and Astronomy, University of Birmingham. Kai leads the Midlands Ultracold Atom Research Centre (MUARC) at the University of Birmingham (UoB). He has worked in the field of cold atoms for more than 15 years. Working in the world-leading atom interferometry group of Prof. Kasevich at Yale University from 2000-02, he started the development of the first mobile atom interferometric gravity gradient sensor. From 2003 to 2007 he led the atom optics branch with 4 experimental setups in the research group of Prof. Sengstock at Hamburg University. He currently coordinates a 9 partner collaborative European Project 'iSense' (EC 250072, €3.5M) targeting a portable atom interferometric gravity sensor. He is PI for 'Cold Atom Quantum Simulator – Disorder' (EP/H009914, £890k), PI for the 'Mobile Optical Clock' Marie Curie Fellowship (EC 255000, €231k) and local PI for the collaborative European project SOC-II 'Space Optical Clock-II' (EC 263500). He participates in the 'Space Atom Interferometer' project (ESA contract 20578/07/NL/VJ), advises ESA on 'Applications and Implementations of Atom-Based Inertial Quantum Sensors – APPIA' (ESA ITT AO/1-5421/07/NL/HE) and is a member of the QUANTUS – 'Quantum gases under microgravity' collaboration (DLR 50WM1133). He has organised an international summer school and several international workshops. He has over 50 publications (including 1 Science, 1 Nature Physics and 14 Phys. Rev. Lett.), over 1700 citations and an h-index of 20.
Prof. Alberto Vecchio, Physics and Astronomy at the University of Birmingham, has been working in the field of relativistic astrophysics and gravitational-wave science for 15 years. He has led searches for gravitational waves in the data from the LIGO-VIRGO-GEO network (ST/H002006/1 £2.5M, co-I), is PI and Project Manager for the suspension electronics work-package of the UK Advanced LIGO Project (PPA/G/S/2002/00652, £1.4M+0.8M, PI), and is playing a leading role in the preparation for the science exploitation of space-based gravitational wave observations as co-chair of the Task Force of the LISA International Science Team on Mock LISA Data Challenges. Prof. Vecchio has published over 110 papers with a total of ~2900 citations and has an h-index of 34. He was awarded the Zeldovich Medal from Russian Academy of Sciences/Cospar (2000) and was visiting Professor at Northwestern University (2006-07). He is a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration Council, the GEO Executive Committee, and regularly serves on many scientific boards and committees, including chairing the STFC Particle Astrophysics Advisory Panel (2005-07).
Dr Andreas Freise, Physics and Astronomy at the University of Birmingham, focuses on advanced interferometry technologies. He has led the optical design of the European gravitational detectors for several years, leading one of the four work packages in the Einstein Gravitational Wave Telescope (2009 to date), as subsystem manager in the Advanced Virgo project (2007 – 2009) and as chair of the Virgo Optical Simulation and Design group (2005-07). He chairs the GEO 600 Simulation Group (2006 to date) and has coordinated the work towards a novel space-based optical technology as the chair of the international Optical Readout Group of the LISA Science Team (2005-08). He leads the UoB research activity into new technologies for gravitational wave detection, focussing on numerical noise models and lab-based prototypes. The interferometer simulation software for interferometer noise studies 'Finesse' developed and maintained by Dr Freise has been chosen as the standard simulation software for both European gravitational wave detectors GEO 600 and Virgo, is used in the Advanced LIGO project and the Japanese underground detector LCGT. He has published more than 110 peer-reviewed papers; has an h-index of 26 and more than 2000 citations.
Prof. Chris Rogers leads the Birmingham Centre for Resilience Research and Education, Civil Engineering at the University of Birmingham. He has 25 years’ experience of research in buried pipes, trenchless pipelaying and underground space engineering. Editor of Engineering Sustainability (2007 to date) and one of 4 Senior Editors of Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology (1996 to date), he is a member of the International Trenchless Technology Research Forum (ITTRF) and 3 US Transportation Research Board (TRB) committees. He led NETTWORK (GR/R14064, £64k to establish a research community in trenchless technology), is PI for the Mapping the Underworld (MTU) programme initiated via an EPSRC Sand Pit (£1.2M, 2004-2008) and is PI of the MTU2 Location project (EP/F065965, £3.5M, 2008-2012). He leads research into sustainable urban environments, notably buried utility provision and underground space usage (GR/S20482, EP/C513177, EP/E021603, EP/F007426, £4.3M, 2004-2012). He has led industrial and EPSRC projects on optical fibre sensors for tunnel monitoring (GR/R68573, £363k), trenchless installation of high-voltage cables (GR/T27235, £107k), trenchless technology (GR/E83917, GR/F26164, GR/H89104, GR/K32265), buried pipe monitoring and analysis (GR/H90902, GR/K40048, EP/D058589), and road and railway foundations (GR/E39962, GR/K57299, GR/M76508). He has been awarded >£10 million, supervised >50 researchers and published >200 papers.
Dr Nicole Metje, Lecturer, Civil Engineerin, University of Birmingham, was a PDRF developing sensors for navigation of an autonomous underwater vehicle, and the Senior PDRF on GR/R68573 (developing optical fibre sensors) and the MTU1 projects. She is CI (and PI at UoB) for the EPSRC-AHRC DART: 'Detection of Archaeological Residues using remote sensing Techniques' (£0.8M, 2010-2013).
Dr David Chapman, Reader, Civil Engineerin, University of Birmingham, leads research into nano-scale embedded sensors (£255k, UK and US Water Associations, 2006-12) for ‘smart infrastructure monitoring’ and geotechnical controls on leakage from cast iron pipes (£155k from two UK water companies). He is a CI of the MTU1 and MTU2 projects, and was CI on the trenchless cable installation (GR/T27235) and remote tunnel monitoring (GR/R68573) grants. He has led research into the effects of tunnelling on existing buried structures (GR/M57026) and cyclic loading of soils and railway foundations (GR/H42550), and was CI for grants GR/R14064, GR/H89104, GR/K32265 and GR/M76508. He is a member of ITTRF and the US TRB Tunnelling Committee, has supervised 26 researchers and has published widely on buried infrastructure topics.
Mr Phil Atkins, Senior Lecturer, Electronic, Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Birmingham, has 25 years’ experience of underwater sensors and their associated signal processing, including active and passive sonar systems, navigation systems, underwater communication systems and imaging/mapping technologies. The PI of > 25 research contracts, mostly UK Government-funded, his research includes underwater position fixing, remote imaging within large quantities of high-explosives, remotely measuring capillary waves on the surface of the ocean, underwater bispectral and cyclo-stationary direction finding, subsurface covert communication and imaging systems, mapping in the surf zone, remote marine creature classification, incoherent synthetic aperture systems and the location of pin-hole leaks in landfill liner membranes. A member of the Technical Working Group for UK signature ranging capabilities, he is an independent technical assessor for large Government procurement activities. He is a CI of the MTU1 and MTU2 projects, and currently has responsibility for investigating the underwater position fixing, networking and communication aspects of the Royal Navy mine hunter and oceanographic vessel replacement programme.
Prof. Vincent Gaffney, Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity (IAA), University of Birmingham, is Chair in Landscape Archaeology and Geomatics, Director of the Visual and Spatial Technology Centre (VISTA). He has been involved in the application and development of archaeological geophysics and visualisation for 30 years and has managed several of the world’s largest archaeological remote sensing projects including mapping the inundated palaeolandscapes of the North Sea and the first multi-sensor survey of an entire roman town in Britain (Viroconium Cornoviorum – Wroxeter). He is a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, chairs the management board of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology and sits on the JISC Geospatial Data working party, the European Associated Laboratory ModeLTER, the Archaeology Data Service. He Co-Directed the Visualisation and Imaging Network (ERDF/AWM/BU Consortium), chaired the JISC Silchester Virtual Research Environment Project management committee and has served on a number of research council digital humanities working groups. He is a member of the EU COST programme 'Submerged Prehistoric Archaeology and Landscapes of the Continental Shelf' and contributed to national marine policy and framework documents in relation to remote sensing. He has acted as consultant for national and international groups including the National Trust, the Inter-American Development Bank and US Department of Defence. In the last 5 years he has attracted over 19 research grants (total value over £10M), presented over 40 papers at conferences and received 3 awards for his work. He has published 11 monographs, edited 6 books and published over 84 papers.
Dr Eamonn Baldwin, Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity (IAA), University of Birmingham, is GIS and Surface Modelling Project Manager and is responsible for VISTA's Geophysics division. He has extensive experience in the archaeological application of geomatics in both research and commercial environments. He specialises in a range of archaeological survey methods, including geophysical survey (magnetometer, resistance and GPR), topographical survey (DGPS and Total station) and standing building recording and appraisal (measured survey and 3D laser scanning), as well as in the integration and management of spatial data in GIS and CAD systems for analytical purposes or heritage management. His research interests lie in the investigation, interpretation and presentation of archaeological landscapes through modern technology, and in the archaeology of the central Mediterranean.
Dr Charles Wang, Reader in Dynamics and Cruickshank Lecturer in Astronomy, Department of Physics, University of Aberdeen, has a strong track record of being PI of EPSRC funded projects in gravitational physics and nonlinear dynamical systems, and Co-I of EC funded project on micro-electro-mechanical systems. He led and contributed to several BP-funded projects on oil exploration using particle beams and drilling dynamics. He is interested in general relativity, gravitation and cosmology and he pioneered probing quantum gravity phenomenology using atom interferometry. He is involved in designing experimental tests of classical and quantum gravity in space. In applied and engineering mathematics, he is interested in differential geometry, Clifford algebra, Cosserat theory of rods and nonlinear dynamics. He has been collaborating with industries in microelectronics, defence and oil & gas and is developing subsea applications of precision gravity sensing using atom interferometry. He is the IOP Coordinator for the NE of Scotland, Fellow of STFC Centre for Fundamental Physics and Editor of the Springer Briefs in Physics Series.