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Thunderbolts and lightning – are they really frightening?


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Rhys will explain the processes which lead to a lightning strike and the different types of lightning that can exist. He will explain what happens to aircraft when they are hit by lightning and what can be done to protect against damage.

Date and Time

25 May 2018 - 14:00-15:30


London, United Kingdom - icon_popup  (See map)


Organised by the UK - London 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. 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?!

About the speaker

Rhys Phillips is a research engineer at Airbus in Newport where he was worked since 2009. He graduated from Cardiff University in 2008 with a joint honours degree in Mathematics & Physics. In October 2016, he was made an honorary lecturer at the School of Physics & Astronomy. 

He is an award winning science presenter, presenting science stage shows to schools and the general public around the world having recently presented in Guadeloupe, New Caledonia, Morocco, Australia and New Zealand. Rhys is also an experienced broadcaster presenting his own weekly jazz and science radio shows as well as being a regular guest on BBC national and regional radio. Rhys volunteers in numerous roles for the Institution of Engineering & Technology within the South Wales Local Network, the Electromagnetics Technical Network and the Young Professionals Community Committee. 

He represents Airbus as part of the National Centre for Universities and Business’ ‘Future Leaders Network’, and is a member of the Queen Elizabeth Prize Young Search Group, the Wales Festival of Innovation stakeholder group and the Welsh Government Cross Party Group on Science & Technology. 

Rhys is a trustee of Volunteer Community Services (Cymru) Ltd, co-founder of both Cardiff Science Festival and Cardiff Jazz Festival and when not behind a microphone or in the lab, he can be found performing on stage with his jazz band, Imperfect Tenth or calling ceilidhs.




12:00 to 13:45 – lunch.
14:00 to 14:45/15:00 – lecture 
14:45/15:00 to 15:30 approximately – questions and discussion

Reasons to attend

To understand the phenomenon of different types of lightning and what can be done to minimise damage from a strike.

Continuing Professional Development

CPD logo declaring this event can contribute 1 hours towards your Continuing Professional Development

This event can contribute towards your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) as part of the IET's CPD monitoring scheme.

Additional information

Delegates will have the opportunity to pre book a lunch at Savoy Place.  The cost for a two course meal with wine is £16.95.  It is ESSENTIAL to pre book lunch.

Registration information

Those wishing to attend are asked to send an e-mail by the preceding Monday, giving name(s), and requesting attendance at the lunch and lecture or just the lecture, and in the case of lunch, giving any dietary restrictions.  The e-mail should be sent to both johnfuller500@yahoo.com and tonydavies@ieee.org please note the triple 'e' in the Tony's address, with the subject line [Thunderbolts and lightning – are they really frightening? Friday Lunch and Lecture Friday 25 May 2018]. No acknowledgement will be sent unless specifically requested.

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