Public Engagement

The Quantum Workshop

James runs a public engagement project called The Quantum Workshop, which was set up with Ying Lia Li at UCL thanks for the support of a Beacon’s Innovation Seed grant. This project uses a mobile, state-of-the-art laser levitation experiment to beautifully demonstrate some of the experimental techniques needed to study quantum physics. It has been used in markets, shopping centres, pubs, museums, a crypt and science festivals, and in the UK, Austria and Portugal!

Full details on The Quantum Workshop website.

Seeing the Unthinkable

This is a collaboration with artist Steven Claydon, where we use a beautifully and meaningfully designed electrical levitation device to explore the idea of information and culture encoded within objects. In Autumn / Winter 2022 this is exhibited at the Science Gallery London’s Testing Ground exhibition.

London Light

The Levitated Nanophysics group is a member of London Light, an interdisciplinary research network studying the applications of light. James is the academic lead on their public engagement activity.

Guiding Lights 2022

Our 2022 International Day of Light celebration was a big one! 16 researchers from London-based universities were trained in working with glass, and created 12 artworks representing their research, exhibited at the science gallery London. We had 300 visitors on the day, with a full programme of talks and panel discussions, and welcomed the awesome Minimelt Glass mobile glassblowing team to provide activities for the public. 

International Day of Light 2021

We produced a shifting 24 hour artwork “Lighting up 2021” for the International Day of Light, and participated in “The Shared Language of Light“, a panel discussion about light in all its forms, including public submissions of artwork.


Late Light 2019

James was involved in organizing their flagship public engagement event Late Light. This event brought together over a dozen artists and scientists to create new light-inspired works, and attracted more than 250 people with an exhibition and public lectures.




Royal Institution Lectures

I deliver regular Short Courses on quantum physics to the public at the Royal Institution, home of the famous Christmas Lectures. A “Short Course” consists of 9 hours of lectures! I constructed the course from scratch, and I’m pleased to say that in all years the event sold out.

You can find a selection of the lectures on my YouTube page.


James wrote a short article for The Guardian on the prospect of doing quantum physics experiments with living things, called “A living thing in two places at once? This quantum quandary test is limited”.

James wrote an article for Physics World with André Xuereb called “Rise of the Quantum Machines” about quantum thermodynamics.

I wrote a long article with André Xuereb from the University of Malta called “Rise of the Quantum Machines” for Physics World. It is about the implications for engineering of quantum thermodynamics, and you can download it here.