Culham Thesis Prize

Terms of reference
The prize is awarded annually to the candidate who has displayed the highest degree of excellence in the execution of the scientific method as witnessed by the award of Doctor of Philosophy in plasma science from a UK or Irish university in the last two calendar years. 

The thesis content should exhibit significant new work and originality, clearly driven by the nominee, be well explained and demonstrate a good understanding of the subject. 

The prize consists of £500 in cash plus an expenses paid trip (to a maximum of £500 for travel) to the annual IOP plasma physics conference, where the recipient will be asked to give an invited talk. The prize is sponsored by CCFE and jointly coordinated by CCFE and the IOP Plasma Physics Group.


  • The thesis must have been submitted in the last two calendar years leading up to the nomination deadline
  • Nominees must be a member of the Institute of Physics
  • Non UK/Irish nationals are eligible but the PhD award must have been made at an Irish/UK university
  • In the event that no candidate satisfies the criteria for the prize, the prize will lapse
  • Previously unsuccessful theses may be re-submitted – please make this clear on the nomination
  • Proposers are encouraged to nominate only the highest quality pieces of work, with one nomination per proposer, noting there are no runner-up places for this prize

Details of submission and nomination

Previous recipients:

Kevin Verhaegh, University of York
For his thesis, "Spectroscopic investigations of detachment on the Tokamak à Configuration Variable (TCV)"

Dr Clare Kettle (Scullion), Queen's University Belfast
For her thesis, "Investigations of ion acceleration from solid targets driven by ultrashort laser pulses"

Dr Jason Cole, Imperial College London
For his thesis "Diagnosis and Applications of Laser-Wakefield Accelerators"

Thomas White, University of Oxford
For his thesis "Resolving ion acoustic waves in warm dense matter"

Dr. David A. MacLellan, University of Strathclyde
For his thesis "Effects of Electrical Resistivity on Fast Electron Transport in Relativistic Laser-Solid Interactions"

Dr Guy Burdiak, Imperial College London
For his thesis "An investigation of cylindrical liner Z-pinches as drivers for converging strong shock experiments"

Dr Charlotte Palmer, Imperial College, London
For her thesis, “Approaching the radiation pressure regime of proton acceleration with high intensity lasers”

Dr S M Vinko, University of Oxford
For his thesis “Studying dense plasmas using intense UV and X-ray free-electron laser radiation”

Stefan Kneip, Imperial College, London
For his thesis entitled 'Laser Plasma Accelerator and Wiggler'

Ian Chapman, Imperial College London
For his thesis "Modelling the stability of the n=1 internal kink mode in tokamak plasmas"

Dr Ben Dudson, University of Oxford
For his thesis “Edge turbulence in the Mega-Amp spherical tokamak” dealing with the collection of data on edge turbulence and its analysis using novel statistical methods. These results were compared to computational simulations using BOUT, an edge turbulence code originating with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to which Dr Dudson contributed important improvements. He has made an important contribution to the understanding of edge turbulence, a topic of great importance to the understanding of tokamaks and the development of tokamak reactors, carrying out work of a depth and originality which the Prize judges found very impressive.

Dr Louise Willingale, Imperial College London
For significant experimental and numerical work on the acceleration of ions to high energies by laser-plasma interaction.

Dr Phil Nilson, Imperial College London
For Measurements of the Dynamics of Laser and Soft X-Ray Heated Targets by XUV and Optical Probing.

Dr Stuart P D Mangles, Imperial College London
For measurements of relativistic electrons from intense laser-plasma interactions.

Dr Barney Walton, Imperial College London
For novel experimental investigations of beat-wave acceleration as intense electromagnetic fields interact with material in a plasma state.

Dr Andrea Ciardi, Imperial College London
For laboratory investigation and modelling of hypersonic jets in wire array Z-pinch experiments.

Dr Roderick Kennedy, University of Oxford
For innovative research on the application of probe theory to dust particles immersed in plasma.

Dr Eugene Clark, Imperial College London
For ground breaking research on proton and ion acceleration in ultra intense laser plasma interactions.

Related information

Culham Thesis Prize

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