Wednesday, 14 May 2014

PhD in theoretical nuclear physics

At the Univeristy of Surrey we have the largest theoretical nuclear physics group in the UK.  Size isn't everything of course, but it's a vibrant group that works alongside one of the largest experimental groups to make up a great place to do nuclear physics.  I must admit that I was not wholly cognisant of this fact before coming here, and as a finishing undergraduate at Oxford I first looked at local opportunities before thinking about looking further... and took one of those opportunities before looking further afield.  No harm probably came of that, though it was perhaps a little unambitious of me at the time.   Still, I can understand those students today who don't necessarily cast their net as widely as they could when looking for PhD places.  Theoretical Nuclear Physics is increasingly an area outside of the obvious target for graduating students to think about, since it has been quite squeezed out of the undergraduate syllabus, with many students getting little more than what appears in the IoP's Core of Physics, which is a recap and a slight extension of the A-level syllabus.   

It's too bad - there is a lot of activity in nuclear physics (pun intended).  We are not just filling in the gaps in an ageing field of physics.  2010 saw the most new isotopes discovered since nuclear physicists first started building accelerators to study matter - and we are about to enter a new golden period of new experimental facilities around the world, such that the 2010 figure will be overtaken again in the not too-distant future.  The theoretical understanding of nuclei, which are hugely complex objects, gets ever-better, with leaps in understanding of the underlying interaction between the constituents, and in the the ability to perform better calculations.  It's a good time to be in nuclear physics.

So... might I mention here that we have a PhD position available, with funding for a good UK candidate, to undertake research in the theoretical nuclear physics group at Surrey.  We work on a diverse range of topics across the group.  Feel free to get in touch, or leave a comment below if you're interested in finding out more!