EducationUniversities of Frankfurt and Berkeley
QualificationsPhysics Diploma, economics undergraduate (Vordiplom) and PhD
Work HistoryStudied in Frankfurt and UC Berkeley Research experience in Japan/RIKEN for 3 months Postdoc in Heidelberg at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics Fellow at CERN in Geneva (3 years) Young Investigator Group leader in Heidelberg/GSI Liverpool/Cockcroft Institute since 2008
Current JobProfessor and Head of Physics Department
Favourite thing to do in my job: Improving our understanding of nature.
My Work: I design and build particle accelerators to help understand nature in all its facets and develop new ways to treat cancer.
I have studied physics and economics at the Universities of Frankfurt (Germany) and UC Berkeley (USA). I finished my diploma thesis on spiral loaded rebunching radio frequency cavities in 1999 at the institute of applied physics before realizing a three months research stay at RIKEN (Japan), where I worked on the layout of a magnetic chicane for the CSM project. Back in Germany, I started my doctoral thesis on the technical and particle optical design of compact ion storage rings, which I finished end of 2002.
My further career brought me to the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg (2003-2004) and as a Fellow to CERN (Switzerland, 2005-2007). I founded the QUASAR Group in the frame of a Helmholtz YIG Award in 2007 and have been leading the Group ever since.
Since November 2008, I am a faculty member at the University of Liverpool and a member of the Cockcroft Institute of Accelerator Science and Technology. In October 2011 I was promoted to Professor of Physics and I also lead the Liverpool Accelerator Physics Group. I have been leading the Physics Department at Liverpool since 2016.
I am specialized in accelerator design and optimization, the development of underpinning technologies – in particular novel beam diagnostics – as well as fundamental science and industry applications of accelerators, from high energy discovery machines, to antimatter facilities, medical accelerators and ultra-compact accelerators-on-a-chip.
I have been a partner in numerous national and international research projects and have been coordinator of 9 EU projects to date, amongst which the large scale networks DITANET,LA³NET, oPAC, OMA and AVA. I am a member of numerous international advisory committees and a frequent speaker at international workshops and conferences.
My Typical Day: Research – Admin – Teaching – Vision – International Collaboration: in a healthy mix.
As an academic I need to do many things in parallel: carry out cutting edge research, train students and researchers, work with partners internationally, write grant applications to attract funding for our research, publish our results in recognized journals, give talks at workshops and conferences, establish partnership with industry…and much, much more – it never gets boring !
As Head of Department, I am responsible for the research and teaching strategy of my Department, supporting 50 academics, 200 staff and around 500 undergraduate and postgraduate students. I am proud that Liverpool physics has now been in the UK top10 (Guardian league table) for 2 years running and we would like to consolidate our top position and continue to attract and train the best students.
What I'd do with the prize money: Produce short videos for school children about the latest advances in accelerator research - in particular "novel" accelerators where extremely high gradients are used to accelerate a beam of charged particles.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
reliable, cheerful, determined
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
Dr. Werner Wildner, a family friend
What was your favourite subject at school?
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
I had a really bad mark in physics in year 9
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Diving at the Great Barrier Reef
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
good health, happiness and a private island
Tell us a joke.
Why does a hamburger have lower energy than a steak ? Because it’s in the ground state.