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The University of Southampton

Top engineering award for Southampton professor

Published: 20 February 2009

A University of Southampton scientist has been recognised for his significant contributions to the field of engineering acoustics with a national award.

Professor Tim Leighton, from the University’s Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR), has been awarded the RWB Stephens Medal for his outstanding research and exceptional work in encouraging and training the next generation of researchers, by the Institute of Acoustics.

He has been awarded the medal for his ground-breaking work in a number of different research fields, all of which have a strong acoustics component including sonochemistry, underwater acoustics, and acoustics in space, animal bioacoustics, medical ultrasonics, acoustical oceanography and physical acoustics.

On receiving the award Professor Leighton said: “I am very honoured to receive this medal. I never had the good fortune to meet Professor Stephens, but I am well aware of his outstanding reputation and legacy through the Institute of Acoustics and through his thoughtful articles on teaching and research. He has been a model for those of us who came to acoustics from a physics background, and have like him enjoyed the opportunity that acoustics gives us to work in a wide range of topic areas, and who are privileged to encourage the next generation of researchers.”

The medal will be presented at Fifth International Conference on Bio-Acoustics (31 March to 2 April) at Loughborough University.

Notes for editors

A Fellow of the Institute of Acoustics, Professor Leighton, who already holds the AB Wood Medal and the Tyndall Medal of the Institute of Acoustics, has been awarded a number of prestigious prizes (including the Paterson Medal of the Institute of Physics, the Medwin Prize of the Acoustical Society of America, and the Early Career Medal of the International Commission for Acoustics).

Professor Leighton is an acknowledged world leader in four fields for his rigorous and ground-breaking research relating to acoustics in liquids: biomedical ultrasonics, cavitation, acoustical oceanography and industrial unltrasonics.

As well as all this, over the past 10 years Professor Leighton has delivered many practical applications from acoustics research, taking the studies from fundamentals to deliverable instruments or datasets in the field, clinical, industry, ocean or laboratory. He has delivered more than 70 pioneering advances, from devices used in hospitals, to operating the world’s first count of bubbles in the surf zone.

He is committed to training and care for PhD students, having set up the Postgraduate monitoring and care systems for ISVR, which have since been used as the model for support systems elsewhere. He has founded a cross-school research centre and, though written 13 years ago, his book The Acoustic Bubble, is still seen as the central text in the field.

The RWB Stephens Medal is awarded for outstanding contributions to acoustics research or education.

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