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Southampton Theory Astrophysics and Gravity (STAG) Research Centre

STAG prizes

Learn about the 4 prizes we've created to celebrate the work of postgraduate students.

Each year, we honour students with prizes for:

  • best publication in gravitational physics
  • best publication in high-energy physics
  • best publication in astrophysics
  • public engagement

The publication prizes are given for work published during the last 2 years by PhD students in each of the 3 research areas. The prizes are awarded at the annual STAG lecture.

2023 winners

Best publication in gravitational physics: Chris Whittall and Thomas Hutchins

The 2023 STAG publication prize in gravitational physics is awarded jointly to Chris Whittall and Thomas Hutchins. 

In his work, Chris studied the 'self-force' experienced by scalar charges when they scatter off a black hole. This work enables the application of frequency-domain techniques to problems with unbounded orbits, opening up possibilities of exploring the interplay between different modern approaches used to study the gravitational dynamics of celestial bodies. 

Thomas' work 'Gravitational radiation from thermal mountains on accreting neutron stars: sources of temperature non-axisymmetry' studies how the shapes of neutron stars lose their symmetry due to temperature fluctuations inside them. Thomas’ work demonstrates that neutron stars are viable sources of continuous gravitational radiation. 

Chris Whittall receiving his STAG Prize.
Chris Whittall receives his STAG Prize.
Thomas Hutchins receiving his STAG Prize.
Thomas Hutchins receives his STAG Prize.

Best publication in high-energy physics: Shubhani Jain 

The 2023 STAG publication prize for High Energy Physics is awarded to Shubhani Jain for her work on assessing the performance of different jet-clustering algorithms in probing the physics of the Higgs boson at the LHC.  Her work allows tests of the Standard Model and could potentially help identify beyond-Standard Model physics.   

Shubhani Jain receiving her STAG Prize.
Shubhani Jain receives her STAG Prize.

Best publication in astrophysics: Cordelia Dashwood Brown 

Cordelia is awarded the Astrophysics prize for her theoretical work on black holes. Black hole mass is one of the fundamental properties of black holes, but notoriously difficult to measure. Cordelia has developed a new method to measure black hole masses using X-rays. The novel method uses the irradiation of a companion star to determine the mass of the black hole. This promising technique has the potential to unveil for the first time the masses of black holes that have not been probed before, due to residing in obscured regions of the galaxy. 

Cordelia Dashwood Brown receiving her STAG Prize.
Cordelia Dashwood Brown receives her STAG Prize.

2022 winners

2021 winners

2019 winners

Best publication in gravitational physics

Best publication in high-energy physics

Best publication in astrophysics

Joint winners:

Public engagement

  • Lorenzo Zanisi for winning a Silver Award in the STEM for Britain poster competition. His poster was selected among over 500 entrants and the project was presented in the House of Commons. Lorenzo demonstrated that techniques used in Astronomy may also be useful in medical research.

2018 winners