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Image of Francesca Fragkoudi (on the left) and Hannah Williams (pictured on the right in the laser cooling lab)

Dr Hannah Williams and Dr Francesca Fragkoudi have been awarded prestigious UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships.

Pictured are Dr Francesca Fragkoudi (left) and Dr Hannah Williams (right)

Dr Williams’ Fellowship is to use laser cooled molecules trapped in precisely controlled arrays to study the interaction of the molecules to simulate real world systems in a quantum simulator. This work forms part of the rapidly expanding area of quantum technology and computing and will lay the foundations of an entirely new way to study highly complex systems ranging from matter on earth through to the Universe.

Dr Fragkoudi’s research focuses on the interactions between galaxies and Dark Matter, and will be developing state-of-the-art theoretical models to study these interactions and predict how galaxies behave in different Dark Matter scenarios. She will then combine these predictions with upcoming observations of the Milky Way to help determine the properties of the elusive Dark Matter.

Public outreach forms part of each of the Fellowships. Dr Fragkoudi in particular will be running Leadership & STEM Summer Camps in Durham, focusing on girls from post-conflict and socio-economically disadvantaged regions to help make them future leaders in Science and in their communities. Hannah is planning a series of events in the Northeast to promote engagement with quantum technology for people from backgrounds which are traditionally underrepresented within physics.

These two new awardees join the six other FLFs within the Department of physics, believed to be the highest number in any Department except a medical school in the UK. The previous awards cover areas of physics ranging from computational cosmology and astronomy through fundamental particle physics research into space instrumentation and free space optical communications. These awards provide evidence of Durham’s world leading leadership in physics research covering a very wide spectrum of specialisms. The full list of Durham’s FLF awardees is given below.