Proton beam therapy: how the Large Hadron Collider cures cancer

7.00pm to 8.30pm, Friday 12 October

The Theatre

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place

  • Picture of cancer cells under a microscope

    The science from CERN may help us in more ways than one.

    Credit: skeeze via Pixabay (CC0 Creative Commons)


Standard £16


Concession £10


Ri Members and Ri Patrons £7

Event description

Could particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider really help to cure cancer? An advanced form of radiotherapy, proton beam therapy enables tumours to be targeted with greater precision, reducing the collateral damage to surrounding healthy tissue. With two NHS proton beam centres set to open this year, physicist Simon Jolly sheds light on this cutting-edge technique and the technology needed to deliver it. 

Please note that this event was previously called From CERN to cancer: the physics used in medicine. 

About the speakers

Simon Jolly is currently the leader of the UCL High Energy Physics proton therapy research group where his research focuses on high precision detectors for proton beam Quality Assurance to ensure the treatment is delivered safely. The NHS is building two proton therapy facilities in Manchester and London, to complement the existing ocular facility at the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre. He is also a member of the international AWAKE collaboration that is seeking to develop proton driven plasma wakefield accelerators. He is leading the development of the AWAKE spectrometer to measure the energy of these plasma accelerated electrons.

Simon has played American Football for Great Britain, captaining them in 1996, and also won national titles with Farnham in 1996, Oxford in 2001 and London in 2005.  He  also made a number of appearances on radio, television and at popular science events.

Your chair for the evening is Chamkaur Ghag, Reader in Physics at UCL Department of Physics and Astronomy.



The doors will open at approximately 6.30pm, with a prompt start at 7.00pm. There will be time for questions after the talk.

Latecomers will be admitted into the gallery.


This event will be filmed and on the Ri's YouTube channel within a few months. Subscribe for free to hear when new videos are released.

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