Marco Pinna received the Institute of Physics 2009 prize for the best PhD thesis in Computational Physics !
That is a remarkable achievement for UCLan as the competition was open to all students from an institution in either the UK or Ireland across the entire spectrum of computational physics, and last year, for instance, the prize went to the University of Cambridge !
IoP e-mail says:
“… the Institute of Physics Computational Physics Group Committee have chosen your thesis to be awarded our 2009 annual prize for the work that in our opinion contributes most strongly to the advancement of computational physics.”
See the list of previous recipients here.
Marco’s PhD thesis featured in the IoP newsletter.
Read also UCLan news on Marco’s prize:
Doctoral student awarded for his expertise
Institute of Physics rewards Marco for significant advancement in his field.
A former PhD student from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has been awarded for his work in advancing the field of computational physics.
Dr Marco Pinna beat off Doctoral students from all over the UK and the Republic of Ireland to be given the annual thesis prize from the Institute of Physics Computational Physics Group. The award is given annually to the PhD student judged to have contributed most strongly to advancing work in his or hers chosen field.
Dr Pinna is an expert is in using supercomputers for discovering laws of the nano-world. Technology on this scale is so small it is invisible to the naked eye, being roughly 100,000th of the width of a human hair.
Commenting on his PhD award Dr Pinna said: “This award confirms that it’s possible to take part in world-class research at a modern University. During my studies I visited Japan, Germany, Holland and America and had the opportunity to work on one of the largest Europe supercomputers in Barcelona.
“Getting a prize in the UK has also a second, non-research, dimension for me. I am Italian and although I studied French as a foreign language in school, I learned English only through self-study, which wasn’t easy. Therefore receiving a prize in England is also great for my self-confidence.”
Dr Vera Hazelwood from the Knowledge Transfer Network for Industrial Mathematics was on the judging panel for the award. She commented: “We had a record number of submissions and the overall standard of entries was higher than it has ever been. The prize was awarded to Marco Pinna as we felt he has made an outstanding contribution and significant advancement in his field.”
Professor Andrei V Zvelindovsky, UCLan’s Chair in Computational and Theoretical Physics, was Dr Pinna’s PhD supervisor. He commented: “Marco demonstrated a highly industrious way of working with a perfect mixture of his own ideas and team work. His research makes a significant advancement of computational physics of soft matter.”
External PhD examiner, Dr Josep Bonet i Avalos, stated: “I find that this work opens up further perspectives for future research in the field. The technical achievement of building a computer code able to carry out such computationally expensive simulations deserves a special mention.”
Dr Pinna now works at UCLan as a Research Associate on an EU project involving five universities from four countries; the UK, Holland, Germany and Israel. The project focuses on creating inexpensive memory devises that can be flexible as a post stamp. Dr Pinna has also been awarded two grants since completing his Phd; one in collaboration with Barcelona looking at high performance computing and an undergraduate research bursary through Nuffield Foundation to host UCLan undergraduate student, Christine Stokes, for a summer project.