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The Jennison Lecture – Thunderbolts and Lightning - are they really Frightening?


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Lightning Strikes! This first Jennison Lecture opens the University of Kent 50th Anniversary celebrations. Professor Jennison established the Electronic Engineering Laboratory in 1965. This has now grown into the School of Engineering & Digital Arts.

Date and Time

22 October 2014 - 18:00-20:00


Canterbury, United Kingdom - icon_popup  (See map)


Organised by the Kent local network.

About this event

Paraphrasing that famous line from Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, Research Engineer and science broadcaster Rhys Phillips will look at the phenomenon of lightning.  In a light hearted and informative talk, Rhys will explain the processes which lead to a lightning strike and the different types of lightning that can exist. He will then move on to show what happens to aircraft when they are hit by lightning and explain how we protect against damage from this. Using demonstrations and videos, this talk will also give the audience a chance to see exactly what happens in our lightning lab and answer the question that everyone is asking – can a piggy bank survive a lightning strike? As part of the talk, Rhys will also touch upon his experiences as a science communicator & broadcaster, his outreach work with schools and his involvement in the Institution of Engineering & Technology


The talk will be presented by Rhys Phillips - Research Engineer in the Lightning & Electrostatics Team at Airbus Group.

The talk starts a 6.00 p.m.

Additional information

Rhys Phillips is a Research Engineer in the Lightning & Electrostatics Team at Airbus Group Innovations where he has worked since 2009. He is an active STEM Ambassador and his work promoting the sciences to school children and the general public have resulted in him receiving awards from the Welsh Livery Guild, the Institute of Physics and STEMNet. Rhys is an active IET volunteer in South East Wales and also sits on the Electromagnetics Technical Network Committee and the UK Communities Committee. In 2012, he was awarded the Paul Fletcher Medal for services to the IET. Rhys is one of the six volunteers who founded Cardiff Science Festival in 2012 and is currently preparing the programme for the 2014 festival. He is the presenter of the Monday breakfast show, a jazz music programme, a quiz show and a weekly science & technology magazine programme Pythagoras’ Trousers on Radio Cardiff where he also produces the station’s soap opera Sophia Square and reads the news on Saturdays. When not in the lab or on the air, Rhys can be found on stage with his science variety night, The Pythagorean Cabaret or his jazz ensemble, Imperfect Tenth.

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