Particle research recognised in physics award

Friday, 19 October 2007

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 and Physics. 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.

Associate Professor Leinweber completed his PhD in theoretical physics at McMaster University in Canada and had a series of post-doctoral fellowships in Canada and the US before coming to the University of Adelaide in 1997 as a physics lecturer and establishing a research program in numerical supercomputer simulations of quantum chromodynamics. He was appointed Associate Professor in 2003 and is also Deputy Director (Visulisation) of the South Australian Partnership for Advanced Computing (SAPAC). He has been serving as Associate Dean (ICT) in the Faculty of Sciences since 2006.

The Walter Boas Medal has previously been won by two other University of Adelaide researchers: Professor Tony Thomas in 1987 (now Chief Scientist at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in the US) and Professor Anthony Williams in 2001.


Contact Details

Professor Derek Leinweber
Head, School of Chemistry & Physics
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 3423
Mobile: 0406 383 577

Media Team
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 0814