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Department of Physics

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International award for Durham Physicist

(22 August 2018)

Professor Michael Spannowsky

A Durham University physicist has won an international award for his work on modelling elementary particles, in particular the Higgs boson.

Professor Michael Spannowsky, who joined Durham University’s Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology (IPPP) seven years ago, has been awarded the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award, in recognition of his work on Higgs boson phenomenology, which has helped inform work at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland. 

Outstanding research record

The Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award is presented by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, based in Germany, which works to promote academic cooperation between scientists and scholars from across the world.

Named after the scientist Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel, the award recognises a recipient’s outstanding research record. Winners receive funding to enable them to spend up to a year collaborating on a long-term research project with colleagues at a German institution.

The Higgs particle generates masses for other elementary particles and without it the Universe would not remotely look like anything we see today. Professor Spannowsky’s research uses quantum field theoretical methods implemented into super-computers to model the predicted behaviour of the Higgs Boson and aid the design of experiments to test these models at the LHC.

Professor Spannowsky will use his award to collaborate with colleagues at University of Tübingen in southwest Germany on research into dark matter and Higgs phenomenology.

Speaking about the award Professor Spannowsky said: “It is a great honour, not only to be nominated for this award, but especially to have won. An award of this nature is a wonderful recognition of my and the IPPP’s research work. I am excited to use the award fund to undertake the collaboration with fellow physicists at the University of Tübingen.”

Leading centre of Particle Physics Phenomenology

Professor Keith Ellis, Director of the IPPP, said: ““The Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award covers a number of disciplines, not just particle physics phenomenology, so it is a significant achievement for Professor Spannowsky’s work to be recognised in this way.

“The IPPP at Durham University is the UK national centre for particle physics phenomenology – a research area that forms the bridge between theory and experiment in the study of the tiny building blocks of all matter.

“We pride ourselves on offering a dynamic and inspiring research environment. Michael’s award is a further confirmation that the work we do at the IPPP is world-leading.”

Find out more

  • For more information about the IPPP visit their website.
  • If you would like to join our Physics Department, please see our list of current vacancies. Alternatively register your interest and we will contact you when vacancies are advertised.