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Omani undergrad set to be youngest speaker at British Omani Society

20 Feb 2024 Omani undergrad set to be youngest speaker at British Omani Society

Muscat – An Omani physics and astronomy undergraduate at Cardiff University has been invited to give a lecture at British Omani Society in London, becoming the youngest speaker the society has had since its inception in 1976. 

At 20, Aziza al Mugheiry is the first GCC national to be employed by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a milestone for Gulf Arab representation in science. She is currently completing an industrial placement at ISIS Neutron and Muon Source for research at the Science and Technology Facilities Council in Oxfordshire, which comes under UKRI.

Aziza’s lecture – ‘How Modern Science Unravels the Secrets of the Ancient Worlds’ – on February 21 will cover the brief history of subatomic and particle physics, how neutrons and muons were first discovered and produced, and why they are helpful.

“Some of the most significant figures of Oman and Britain have delivered phenomenal lectures over the years at the society. It feels rather unsettling and exhilarating simultaneously to be invited,” she said. 

Regarding her lecture, Aziza added that since the sciences are seen as very difficult and “not to most people’s taste”, the central theme of the lecture is to demonstrate that “the sciences are not in a world of their own – they are tools to help us learn about the world – from our histories to our biology. It is fascinating”. 

Her lecture will further delve on how neutrons and muons have shed light on artefacts from the Roman Empire and Ancient Egypt. “Personally, my favourite are the animal statues of Ancient Egypt. For centuries, it was uncertain what those statue-like objects contained and whether any animal remnants were inside. The saying, ‘X-ray vision’, is possible with physics!”

She informed that neutron studies have revealed mesmerising facts about the ancient Roman economy – a time filled with civil unrest and political upheaval. “Neutrons were used to study the debasement of coins of that period. Coins from the Northumbrian Kingdom will also be discussed, among other things.

“These subatomic particles have proved extremely useful in studying countless archaeological artefacts.”

Those interested can register to join via Zoom on www.britishomani.org

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