Reseach awards for two University academics

Published: 20 January 2012

Professor Christine Davies 0and Professor René de Borst each received the Wolfson Research Merit Award from the Royal Society

Two leading University academics have been presented with prestigious awards from the Royal Society.

Professor Christine Davies, of the School of Physics and Astronomy, and Professor René de Borst, of the School of Engineering, each received the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award.

The Award, jointly funded by the Wolfson Foundation and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, provides universities with financial support for up to five years to enable them to retain respected scientists of outstanding achievement and potential or attract scientists to become new faculty members.

Prof Davies’ area of research expertise is particle physics, particularly the development of a numerical technique known as lattice quantum chromodynamics (QCD) which can be used to study one of the four fundamental particle interactions of the universe known as the ‘strong interaction’. Prof Davies also received the Institute of Physics Nuclear and Particle Physics Division prize for 2011 in recognition of her work in this area.

Prof Davies said: “I’m very pleased that my application for the Wolfson Research Merit Award has been successful.

“I’ve been fascinated from a young age by particle physics and the possibility it offers of answering fundamental questions about how the universe works. The work my team and I are doing in the field of lattice QCD is enormously challenging, but has already helped to determine simple properties of the fundamental building blocks of matter called quarks.

“My future work will build on these achievements and the results will have significant impact on the physics we can extract from experiments at the CERN Large Hadron Collider, and have great potential for exciting new discoveries.”

Prof de Borst, who officially joined the School of Engineering from the Eindhoven University of Technology in January, is working to develop a revolutionary new system of computer simulation which will allow scientists to model processes across a wide range of disciplines.

Prof de Borst said: “Simulation technology has a high degree of accuracy, but is usually limited to fixed domains. Nevertheless, many processes in engineering, physics and biology involve changes in geometry, either the division of an originally intact body into multiple new domains as in fractures, the joining of parts that are originally disjointed in welding, or growth and healing in biology. My research project aims to create a simulation which is capable of modelling all of these processes in a straightforward manner.

“This new system of simulation has the potential to be central to advances in areas including including energy materials, biology and biomedical engineering, micro- and nano-manufacturing, microelectronics, security and safety, and climate and the environment.

“I’m very pleased to have received the Wolfson Research Merit Ward and I’m looking forward to continuing my research at the University of Glasgow.”

A total of 18 UK academics received the award in this round of funding.

First published: 20 January 2012

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