Magnetism 2022

By Paul Fears | 31 March 2022

A report on the Institute of Physics Magnetism 2022 conference (28-29 March, University of York, York, UK) from Matthew Swallow, our Technical Product Manager and Vice Chair of the UK Magnetics Society.

Matthew Swallow
Matthew Swallow

“This week [28-29 March 2022] I have had the honour of attending Magnetism 2022! Having spent the last 3 months organising this event for the first time, it was great to see it come to life and be so widely attended.

I have to say that most of the credit to the success of this event, lies with two other members of the organising committee. Both Helen (Dr Helen C. Walker, Senior Scientist in the Excitations Group at the Isis Neutron and Muon Source, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory) and Ivan (Dr Ivan J. Vera-Marun, Lecturer in Condensed Matter Physics at the University of Manchester) are truly exceptional individuals who are experts in their field and command immense respect within this community.  Along with the tireless effort of the IoP organisational team (Ana Santos, Gonzalo and Christoforos) we pulled off a great event and I hope to be part of it again next year.

The Magnetism 2022 is a premier research conference organised by part of the UK and Republic of Ireland magnetism community. This conference showcases a mixture of invited talks and submitted contributions across the breadth of fundamental magnetism. Participation from outside the UK and Republic of Ireland and from industry is encouraged and includes oral sessions on a range of subjects including spintronics, domain walls, dynamics, vortices, skyrmions and topological systems and organic magnetism.

Magnetism 2022
Magnetism 2022

It is somewhat humbling for someone who considers themselves a reasonably intelligent and connected individual, to be thrown into a world so close to their own, but almost out of reach of understanding. The participants at this level are doing great things in the field of magnetism research and the students, some of who I was able to speak to about their posters, are bright and engaging and the senior staff are incredibly supportive and enthusiastic.

It’s a great community, filled with people who are going to go to do great things for the world.

The UK Magnetics Society was there, represented by myself and the Chair, Ellie Galanis, to work out if there was an appetite within this community to engage with what the society. At the UK Magnetics Society we believe that that magnetism in all its forms is an amazing force, and that by understanding and harnessing it people can deliver amazing things. It is fair to say that, from the people I spoke to, the Institute of Physics Magnetism members also believe the same thing and I think that there will be future collaboration between the two groups, using the resources of the UK Magnetics Society to promote more of the work that the fundamental area is doing and to try to connect this to industrial applications.

At the event there were discussions around greater student opportunity engagement at Leeds and Manchester University, along with supporting speakers for sessions at the UK Magnetics Society’s MMA 2022 conference in Eindhoven, The Netherlands in October 2022 and promoting our upcoming Skyrmions event in Preston.

I must add that I really am grateful to Bunting as not many companies would allow one of their employees to pursue something that they really enjoy personally and professionally with so much freedom. Even in this fundamental research conference though I was still scouting for potential business! One of my favourite talks of the day was “Elasto-Magnetic Pumps for Point-of-Care Diagnostics” by Jacob Binsley of the University of Exeter. Not only was this superbly delivered by an articulate and engaging young man, but it was immediately accessible by the audience in terms of what he was trying to do and why. By creating these tiny pumps he hopes to improve the scope of the sorts of Covid self test kits have become such common place, to detect more illness with more complex “on chip testing”.

Magnetism 2022 Expo
Magnetism 2022

It also didn’t hurt that he needs a tiny permanent magnet in that chip and I happen to be able to make and sell these!

Lastly, I wanted to congratulate the three poster winners. The organising committee members, myself and Ivan, could not be more different in our backgrounds, but we were able to see why each of us recommended a particular poster for the winning award. My preferred choice was perhaps less on the technical demonstration, but heavy on being clear and easy to understand, where Ivan’s was visually striking and clearly brilliant but harder to see the outcome (to me at least). In the end we agreed that Helen would side with Ivan and so our winner was chosen! This really demonstrates the value that having people from different backgrounds can have when making up any sort of team and that if you are prepared to listen and discuss things this diversity has nothing but benefits.

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