Higgs Centre grows in strength following recent appointments

Research and teaching in theoretical physics to be enhanced as centre expands.

New appointments

Seven new appointments have been made this year to significantly strengthen the Higgs Centre’s research power and extend the breadth of its activities. 

The new appointments include academic staff and research fellows:

academic staff

  • Samuel Abreu
  • Sašo Grozdanov
  • Anton Ilderton
  • Alkistis Pourtsidou
  • Mao Zeng

Higgs fellows

  • Suddhasattwa Brahma
  • Job Feldbrugge

These appointments follow the recruitment of Professor Neil Turok as the inaugural Higgs Chair of Theoretical Physics in 2020.

Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics

The Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics was established in 2012 following the discovery of the Higgs boson at CERN. It is built on the legacy of Peter Higgs and Edinburgh’s outstanding tradition, going back to key theoretical physicists including Max Born and Nick Kemmer.

The purpose of the centre is to promote research excellence in theoretical physics, aiming to answer fundamental questions about Nature by developing new ideas and concepts. The Centre’s vision includes creating bridges between disciplines and combining graduate-school education in synergy with cutting-edge research. Accordingly, the Higgs Centre has launched highly successful Masters programmes in theoretical and mathematical physics and strengthened its PhD programme.

In parallel, the Centre runs a diverse programme of workshops and schools, through which it has established itself as a global focal point in theoretical physics.

World-leading vision

Professor James Dunlop, Head of School of Physics and Astronomy, commented:

In this most difficult of years, it is wonderful that the Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics at Edinburgh has gone from strength to strength. Building on Neil Turok's appointment in 2020, we have now secured the talents of seven exciting world-leading researchers, whose broad interests will enhance and expand our existing strengths in theoretical physics, as well as forging new interdisciplinary links with Mathematics and Astrophysics/Cosmology. This further substantial investment demonstrates the commitment of the School of Physics & Astronomy and the University of Edinburgh to build on the legacy of Peter Higgs, ensuring that the Higgs Centre can deliver on its promise to be a genuinely world-leading centre for research and teaching in theoretical physics.

Professor Einan Gardi, Director of the Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics, said:

The University of Edinburgh is making here a major strategic investment in theoretical physics. I am delighted to see this dream coming together.  I am thrilled to welcome each and every one of the new researchers to the Higgs Centre. We’ll do our best so that you will flourish and realise your potential. With so much talent and creativity around, I am more confident than ever that we can make big things happen in our field and beyond.

Professor Neil Turok, Higgs Chair of Theoretical Physics, said:

When we launched our recruitment drive last year, its outcome was somewhat uncertain because of the pandemic.  In the event, it greatly exceeded our hopes: we had a wonderful pool of applicants and every offer we made was accepted. We are really excited about the tide of new talent which will be joining the Higgs Centre this September.

Professor Luigi Del Debbio, Head of Particle Physics Theory, said:

I am delighted to see the appointment of seven new theorists in Edinburgh. Building on the award of the Nobel Prize to Peter Higgs in 2013, they will inject new momentum in a long-term strategy to boost our activities, inspire new generations of students and strengthen the commitment to excellence in the School of Physics and Astronomy. The University’s support for its core activities, research and teaching, must be the way forward in these difficult times.