Prof. Graeme Ackland, of the School's Institute for Condensed Matter & Complex Systems, is to receive the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award, which recognises outstanding scientists working in the UK.
Prof. Ackland's research is in applying quantum mechanics to the structure of materials. This requires not just being able to do quantum mechanics, but to be able to understand it well enough to extract the essential physics without calculating too many less relevant details.
The award recognises his work in making simplifying approximations to the quantum mechanical description of materials. This enables him, and other groups, to carry out simulations using millions of atoms, rather than the hundreds which are possible with the exact treatment. In most practical applications, the advantages of the full quantum treatment are negated by prosaic difficulties arising from finite size effects.The award recognises Prof. Ackland's definitive model for iron, applications in radiation damage, and supports future development of simple models for metal-oxide interfacial binding.
"This is a great honour. Well done, Graeme!"
Prof. Arthur Trew, Head of the School of Physics & Astronomy
This video gives a short summary of the research: http://www.nutshell-videos.ed.ac.uk/graeme-ackland-self-healing-materials/
About the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award
This scheme is for outstanding scientists who would benefit from a five-year salary enhancement to help recruit them to or retain them in the UK. Sir Isaac Wolfson FRS (1897-1991) was a businessman who distributed most of his fortune to good causes. The scheme provides universities with additional support to enable them to recruit or retain respected scientists of outstanding achievement and potential to the UK. It provides a salary enhancement which is paid by the university in addition to the basic salary. The scheme covers all areas of the life and physical sciences, including engineering, but excluding clinical medicine. The scheme is jointly funded by the Wolfson Foundation and the Royal Society.