Imperial College London

Dr Jessie Durk

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Physics

Research Associate in Physics Education



jessie.durk10 CV




Blackett LaboratorySouth Kensington Campus






I am a Research Associate in the Department of Physics in the field of Physics Education, where I work on the Strengthening Learning Communities project. This projects aims to identify and alleviate any awarding gaps and educational inequalities between student demographic groups in the department. My role is to perform quantitative analysis on the students' performance data to identify such areas of inequality in outcomes. I am also interested in students' physics identities and fostering a sense of belonging in the department, as well as assessment and teaching methods.

Other research

This summer I am supervising a UROP project investigating how problem-solving is represented in the A-level physics curriculum.

I was the Principal Investigator on two staff-student partnerships (StudentShapers), investigating the impact of cancelled A Level exams on first-year undergraduate physics students, and the teaching choices and decisions of the academic women in the department. Both research projects have been presented at the Variety in Chemistry Education and Physics Higher Education Conference and our work on cancelled A Level exams received a Special Mention for the Institute of Physics's Lillian McDermott Award in Physics Education Research. This work also led to the creation of a welcome booklet for new first year students.

Professional activities and teaching

I am a course associate for the Communicating Physics module on the undergraduate physics degree programme, a mentor for the I-STEMM “How to Outreach” module, and an assessor for the I-STEMM "The Science of Learning" module.

I am also an Ordinary Member of the Institute of Physics Higher Education Group.

Before Imperial

Prior to joining Imperial in 2021 I was a postdoctoral researcher in physics education at the University of Cambridge, and in secondary science education at King's College London in the School of Education, Communication and Society. My undergraduate (Imperial College London), master's (King's College London), and doctoral backgrounds have all been in theoretical physics. I was awarded my PhD in theoretical cosmology from Queen Mary University of London in 2019. 

Alongside my PhD I worked part-time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich as an Observatory Explainer and then as an STFC Astronomer. As part of my role I delivered school sessions to primary and secondary school pupils and presented Planetarium shows to schools and the public.

During my PhD I also took part in various outreach activities, including highlights such as Soapbox Science and Pint of Science.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Durk J, Davies A, Hughes R, et al., 2020, Impact of an active learning physics workshop on secondary school students' self-efficacy and ability, Physical Review Physics Education Research, Vol:16, ISSN:2469-9896

Bentivegna E, Clifton T, Durk J, et al., 2018, Black-hole lattices as cosmological models, Classical and Quantum Gravity, Vol:35, ISSN:0264-9381

Durk J, Clifton T, 2017, A quasi-static approach to structure formation in black hole universes, Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, ISSN:1475-7516

Durk J, Clifton T, 2017, Exact initial data for black hole universes with a cosmological constant, Classical and Quantum Gravity, Vol:34, ISSN:0264-9381

More Publications