STFC laser scientist wins prestigious award

30 June 2017


(Credit: IOP)

A senior laser scientist working at STFC’s Central Laser Facility has been awarded a top accolade at the Institute of Physics 2017 awards.

Dr Ceri Brenner is one of just 22 winners at the annual awards, and is to receive the Clifford Paterson Medal and Prize for her work in leading collaborative partnerships between academia and industry in a bid to tackle global challenges.

Dr Brenner specialises in developing the next generation of accelerator technology driven by high-power lasers for applications in nuclear waste inspection, aerospace inspection, fusion energy and medicine.

Speaking of the award, Dr Brenner said: “I'm absolutely chuffed to have been awarded this prize. It's a truly elating feeling to be recognised for the effort you put in to doing what you believe is important. I became a laser-plasma physicist because I truly believe that the laser accelerator concept is a disruptive technology that will improve our future and I want to be part of making that happen. Discoveries made in physics often take a while to translate into new technology but when they do it's an inspiring journey of innovation. It takes credibility, engagement with others outside your field, creativity and perseverance.

“I am superbly supported by my CLF colleagues and university collaborators. I am especially grateful to Dr Ric Allott, Professor Alison Davenport, Professor John Collier and Professor David Neely for their guidance, for championing the role I've carved out for myself at STFC and for giving me the freedom and opportunity to push on with these exciting projects.”

Ceri Brenner

Ceri Brenner
(Credit: Ceri Brenner)

Dr Brenner’s PhD thesis concentrated on the physics of generating high brightness proton beams from the interaction of a high-power laser with solid matter, for applications such as fusion fuel ignitor beams and compact neutron sources. The double-pulse interaction method she developed still remains the world-record for conversion of laser energy into proton-beam energy.

After earning her PhD with the University of Strathclyde, Brenner has established herself as a recognised expert in the applications of laser-accelerators and industrial engagement.

She has pioneered the application of laser-driven multi-modal beams for nuclear waste barrel inspection and her team has been awarded an STFC Innovation Partnership Scheme grant to develop this technology further.

She most recently founded a collaboration to apply laser-driven positron beams for materials inspection with a world-leading aerospace supplier – the first demonstration of which has been granted laser access time for 2017.

Dr Brenner is also the industrial engagement advisor for the A-SAIL project, researching laser-driven ion beams for cancer therapy.

Other award winners from within the STFC research community include:

  • The Michael Faraday Medal and Prize was awarded to Professor Jeremy J Baumberg from the University of Cambridge for his investigations of many ingenious nanostructures supporting novel and precisely engineered plasmonic phenomena relevant to single molecule and atom dynamics, Raman spectroscopies and metamaterials applications.
  • The Richard Glazebrook Medal and Prize was awarded to Professor David Charlton from the University of Birmingham for his leadership in experimental work on the electroweak standard model, beginning with the study of Z-boson decays at LEP and culminating in the discovery of the Higgs boson at the LHC.
  • The James Chadwick Medal and Prize has been awarded to Professor Guy Wilkinson from the University of Oxford for his outstanding contributions to the experimental study of heavy quarks and CP violation, most especially for his leadership of, and his decisive contributions to, the LHCb experiment at CERN.

More information including a complete list of winners.

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