Matthew Smith's Personal Webpage


February 2024

BT Tower is Being Turned Into a Hotel

Today we had the news that BT Tower in London is being sold and being made into a hotel. My dad spent the vast majority of his long BT career based in the tower, was in the building when the IRA bomb went off, and I think he potentially was the last engineer based in the building. I luckily had a few opportunities to visit him, see the many floors of equipment, the TV switching centre below, and watch the almost total eclipse from the top. Here's a picture of my dad at his desk and an example of a 'standard' floor with racks of equipment.

Dad at his desk
Dad at his desk

April 2023

My First Colour Astro Image from my Garden!

After making some upgrades to my telescope, I've made my first colour image with my telescope! The image is of M81 a very nearby galaxy; it's an Sab class so has a fairly chunky bulge but nice spiral arms and dust lanes. I potentially overdid the colours, but as a first attempt from my suburban garden I'm pretty happy. I'm planning to start a blog to document this, keep an eye on this space.

July 2022

First Teaching & Learning Conference

I have just given my first talk at a Teaching & Learning conference! I was sharing my experience about the coursework I set my first year students where they have to do some practical observing. This was in a 'Pecha Kucha' format (which I'd never heard of before) where you have to give 20 slides each timed at 20 seconds - luckily all went well. It was also my first look at Cardiff Universities brand new and largest lecture theatre. Its a bit unusual in that it's really steep, but the screen is an amazing LED screen so the brightness and contrast is far better than traditional projectors. There was several speakers from physics who gave some great talks about the more creative assignments we set our students.

June 2022

My PhD Student is Awarded an IOP Bell Burnell Scholarship!

My PhD student, Gayathri Eknath, has been awarded a Bell Burnell Scholarship to fund her for the final year of her PhD. The Bell Burnell Scholarship is a great scheme to try and improve diversity in physics by providing funds for PhD students. Gayathri is a very motivated student and brought this fund to the attention of the department, and wrote her successfull application. Below is a link to a nice article/press release/interview with her on the IOP website.

May 2022

The 'Rest Frame' is Reopen

Our department coffee room, officially called the 'rest frame' (yes we are a physics department...) has reopened. During the pandemic it was turned into a furniture store due to the University no longer renting 53 The Parade. Today a team of PhD students, postdocs, and a couple restored the room to its (almost) former glory. One of my favourite features of the room is its view out over the north of Cardiff looking up to the hills. Another to notice in the far corner is our PhD 'trophy' cabinet where the cork from the post-viva Champagne bottle is stored as a momento. Unfortunately, there's a bit of gap due to Covid, but hopefully we can start to fill it up now!

April 2022

Return of the Chaos Physics Ball

In another step towards 'normality' today was the return of the Annual Chaos Physics Ball. The ball is an event run by our undergraduate physics society (called Chaos), and is one of the few social events for both undgraduate students and staff. Great night had by all, and the dinner suit still fit!

October 2021

The First Sub-millimetre Image of Andromeda from the Ground!

My paper releasing the first sub-millimetre image from the ground has just been accepted to ApJS. The data is from the HASHTAG project (I am the UK PI), which images the entirety of Andromeda with SCUBA-2 at 450 and 850μm. Click the link below to go to the HASHTAG website where there is more infomation about the survey and the data products, or more information can be found on this sites HASHTAG page.

July 2018

My Work on ESA Image of the Week!

The European Space Agency decided to feature some images from my latest paper as their image of the week. The images are are from the latest data release from H-ATLAS, the largest-area survey undertaken with Herschel. The article focuses on the fact while Herschel images look noisy, each point on is a different galaxy (in fact there are so many we experience confusion as they all overlap).

July 2018

BETHS Year 8 Camp Turns 40!

I've just got back from another two weeks volunteering at my old secondary school's year 8 camp. One of the great things about camp is that it gives a chance for students from London to experience the outoors, leave all electronic gadgets behind and for some be away from home for the first time. The activities vary from canoeing, building a rope bridge over the river, to camps own olympics (with some very bizarre events). This year is camps 40th anniversary, and we've been using the same camp site in the new forest for all those years (to celebrate we took the above drone picture).

June 2018

Invited Talk at Dust Conference in Copenhagen

This week I've given an invited talk at the Copenhagen dust conference on using dust as a tracer input nearby galaxies. This conferences which looks at all aspects of cosmic dust from lab measurements to dust in the early Universe. The conference went very well, was extremly informative and had possibly the best conference 'feast' that I've seen (the wine didn't stop appearing!)

June 2018

My PhD Students First Paper

My PhD student Tom Williams has had his first paper accepted! The paper looks at the Schmidt-Kennicutt Law in M33 using new SCUBA-2 data. The paper is now available through MNRAS and the arxiv.

December 2017

ATLAS Data Release 2

My paper describing the images for the second Herschel-ATLAS data release has been accepted! This marks the full release of the H-ATLAS data, the largest Herschel survey of the extragalactic sky. The maps cover an area approximately 660 square degrees, in the wavelength range 100 to 500µm. The paper can be accessed here.

May 2017

HASHTAG is a Go!

I've received the brilliant news that HASHTAG, a new large program on the JCMT has been approved! With its ~275 hours the survey will observe the whole of Andromeda with SCUBA-2 at 450 and 850µm, as well CO(J=3-2) with HARP in selected regions. The project has a PI for each region, and I'm the UK PI.