Astrophysical outreach and premier league research: News from the College

Here’s a batch of fresh news and announcements from across Imperial.

From an award for promoting the public understanding of astrophysics to an investigation into football fan injuries, here is some quick-read news from across the College.

Astrophysical outreach

Professor Roberto Trotta of the Department of Physics has been awarded the Annie Maunder Medal for Outreach from the Royal Astronomical Society.

He has focused on promoting the public understanding of cosmology and astrophysics with underserved audiences, for example by creating novel, edible metaphors for some of the universe’s most complex ideas, and has interacted with thousands of members of the public and school students.

Professor Trotta said: "I am thrilled and hugely honoured by this recognition of my work aimed at making astronomy more accessible and inclusive for all. The cosmos is humbling, inspiring and mysterious but also understandable, poetic and simply beautiful. I feel privileged to have been able to bring a little bit of the universe into the lives of many people over the years. I would like to dedicate this award to those who have never seen the stars.”

Read more at the Royal Astronomical Society.

Drilling down

Professor Geoffrey Maitland featured in a Discovery Channel documentary on 15 January 2020, speaking about the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, in which an estimated 4.9 million barrels worth of oil from the BP -operated Macondo Well leaked into the sea in the Gulf of Mexico, USA.

Professor Maitland, of the Department of Chemical Engineering , is an expert in deep-water drilling in the oil and gas industry.

He said: “Thankfully incidents like those featured are rare, but they highlight that engineering processes are complicated and require skilled engineering professionals, careful management, and clear communication to manage them effectively, and minimise damage and losses when issues do occur. I took part in this documentary because it is vital that a factual account is given of the incident, and to help the public be better informed of technical processes and engineering issues, especially when incidents become widely reported upon across the world.”

Game face

Georgia Bateman , Dr Elena Psyllou , and Dr Arnab Majumdar of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering , worked with the Premier League and the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) to investigate how spectator injury data is collected at sports stadiums across the UK, to improve the quality of this data.

Football fans at stadiums suffer one injury per 18,402 spectators - a third of which were caused by slips, trips and falls. The researchers in the report found that injuries account for less than half of all medical incidents treated at stadiums during matches, and that most treatments given are for illnesses and exacerbations of pre-existing conditions.

Georgia said: “The SGSA has agreed to adopt all of the recommendations we proposed from the project and implement them in their policies, which is a great result showing the impact of Imperial research.”

Read more on the SGSA website.

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Hayley Dunning
Communications and Public Affairs

Caroline Brogan
Communications and Public Affairs

Madeleine Stone
Communications and Public Affairs

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  • Dr Arnab Majumdar
    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Professor Roberto Trotta
    Department of Physics
  • Professor Geoffrey C Maitland FREng
    Department of Chemical Engineering
  • Ms Georgia L Bateman
    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


  • Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Department of Physics
  • Department of Chemical Engineering
  • College and campus

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