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Professor Sambles said the temperature difference between New Zealand in summer and Canada in winter was a "body shock"

Cornwall physicist lives the same day twice in global speaking tour

A University of Exeter professor, born and bred in Cornwall, has gone round the world in 39 days – crossing 24 time zones in just over a month – to promote the importance of physics.

Professor Roy Sambles carried out a whistle-stop tour of at least a dozen universities and research centres around the world, ranging from the universities of Wollongong and Tasmania in Australia to the University of Ottawa in Canada.

The professor of physics delivered a packed schedule of lectures on subjects ranging from microwaves to the amazing iridescent colours of butterflies. 

Professor Sambles crossed so many time zones that he actually relived the same day twice – on different sides of the planet.

He left New Zealand at 3pm and arrived at 12.15pm, on the same date, in Vancouver, Canada – three hours before he departed.

The academic, who was born in East Cornwall and attended St Dominic Primary School and Callington Grammar school, is president of the Institute of Physics in the UK and Ireland.

His whistle-stop trip earlier this year took him from the UK to Singapore, New Zealand, Australia and Canada – where he not only gave lectures and sealed joint research programmes, but gave out awards for outstanding endeavours in the field of physics.

He immediately followed his round-the-world trip with a speaking tour in Ireland.

In New Zealand and Australia, it was so hot the professor delivered lectures in a T-shirt and shorts, and days later in Canada was wearing mittens, a hat and lined boots in deep snow and sub-zero temperatures.

Professor Sambles delivered a variety of lectures on different topics, as well as developing new research projects with the University of Exeter.

At the University of Sydney he gave a lecture on “acoustic metasurfaces”, while at the University of Wollongong he lectured on “Microwaves and metastructures”.

Professor Sambles said: “The welcome both myself and my wife received from the physics community everywhere was delightful.

“Academics and professional service staff were all incredibly helpful and accommodating.

“I was also particularly pleased to have been the first president of the Institute of Physics to visit Tasmania.

“However, the temperature contrast between a New Zealand summer and an Ottawa winter was bit of a body shock.”

Date: 20 April 2017

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