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December 2007 Issue
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National physics award to researcher

University of Adelaide physics researcher Associate Professor Derek Leinweber has won one of Australia's major physics prizes for his research contribution to physics.

The Australian Institute of Physics has awarded to Associate Professor Leinweber the 2007 Walter Boas Medal for original research making the "most important contribution to physics".

Associate Professor Leinweber is Deputy Director of the University's Special Research Centre for the Subatomic Structure of Matter within the School of Chemistry & Physics, and is also Deputy Director (Visualisation) of the South Australian Partnership for Advanced Computing (SAPAC).

His research, using supercomputer simulations, has provided new ways of determining the properties of subatomic particles.

"Associate Professor Leinweber has made world-leading contributions to quantum chromodynamics," the award citation said. Quantum chromodynamics is a complex mathematical theory describing the interactions of the subatomic particles, quarks and gluons, within the atom.

"His research has, among other achievements, led to a precise prediction of the role of strange quarks in the magnetic moment and charge distribution in particles such as the proton and neutron."

This has led to significant interest from major particle accelerator projects worldwide.

The award is judged on research papers published during the previous four years.

The Selection Panel said Associate Professor Leinweber has produced a significant and widely cited body of work.

The Panel also praised his clear explanations, innovative use of computer-generated visualisation of his research (which was featured in the 2004 physics Nobel Prize lecture) and contribution to physics through general media.

Story by Robyn Mills

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