Setting a Speed Trap for an Avalanche

Dr Nathalie Vriend of DAMTP was, with her collaborators Dr Chris Keylock from University of Sheffield and Professor Paul Brennan from University College London, an exhibitor at this year's Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition held over the six days 3-8 July. Their display described experimental studies of avalanches in the DAMTP laboratory as well as radar monitoring of the internal details of full-size snow avalanches induced artificially at a test site in Switzerland.

Royal Society ImageDr Vriend, who holds a NERC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, reports:

"The exhibition was well-attended with visitor's numbers exceeding 13.000. During the week the visitors consisted mainly of high school students on organized school trips, local business people that popped in during their lunch break and retired members of the general public. At the weekend, many families attended. Highlights were the evening soirees on Wednesday and Thursday where, dressed in black tie and cocktail dresses, Fellows of the Royal Society and VIPs visited and mingled with the exhibiting scientists.

The display was manned by almost 30 volunteers who rotated on a schedule from 10am until 9pm. The enthusiasm and support of students and postdocs from the Environmental Fluid Dynamics group and the Institute of Theoretical Geophysics, both of pavilion H in DAMTP, was overwhelming.

Thank you: Joshua, Hugh, Megan, Sam, Jamie, David, Daria, Romain, Madeline, Charlie, Antoine, Alan, Clara and Jenny for all your hard work!"

Generous support for the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition was received from the University of Cambridge (DAMTP), UCL (DEEE), the University of Sheffield (DCSE), the Cambridge Philosophical Society, the Institute of Mathematics and its Application, Newnham College and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). The scientific research underlying the exhibition has been funded by NERC (NE/F004621/1, PIs Keylock, Brennan and McElwaine) and results will be published shortly by Vriend, Brennan and Keylock together with collaborators Dr. Jim McElwaine, Dr. Betty Sovilla and Mr. Matt Ash.