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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.

2022 winners

Best publication in gravitational physics: Thomas Celora

Thomas is awarded the gravity prize for his work on incorporating bulk viscosity associated with nuclear reactions into nonlinear simulations. This is the first work analysing this issue and the paper explains the numerical issues that arise. A particular highlight of the paper is the work on neutron star merger simulations, which demonstrates the limitations of earlier approaches and approximations.

Thomas Celora collects his prize
Thomas Celora collects his STAG Prize.

Best publication in high-energy physics: Geraint Evans and Jack Mitchell

Geraint and Jack are recognised for their work in improving our understanding of quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of the strong nuclear interaction. Both were the driving forces in their respective projects. Geraint demonstrated analytically the existence of a 'superconducting baryon crystal' state for QCD in very large magnetic fields, improving our understanding of the QCD phase diagram. Jack developed a string-theory based 'holographic' description of quarks in QCD, with low-mass bound-states whose masses match data well. In both cases the results are relevant for understanding quark matter in extreme conditions, for example in heavy-ion collisions or in neutron stars.

Geraint Evans and Jack Mitchell receive their stag prizes
Geraint Evans, left, and Jack Mitchell, right, receive their STAG Prizes.

Best publication in astrophysics: Noel Castro Segura

Noel is awarded the Astrophysics prize for his work on studying multi-phase outflows in the low-mass X-ray binary system Swift J1858. Low-mass X-ray binaries are powerful laboratories for understanding the physics of accretion onto neutron stars. Using a suite of space telescopes and ground-based observatories, Noel and a team of astronomers were able to simultaneously observe signatures of both warm winds at ultraviolet wavelengths and cooler winds at optical wavelengths. By studying the time-variable signatures of these winds, they also observationally confirmed theoretical predictions regarding how these winds respond to changes in brightness of the neutron star itself. The results have strong implications for understanding the physics of neutron stars and how they interact with their environment.

Noel Castro Segura receives his stag prize
Noel Castro Segura, left, receives his STAG Prize.

Public engagement: Filip Landgren

Filip Landgren has created a new podcast series, People Behind Physics, focusing on exciting ideas and recent developments in string theory, quantum gravity and black hole physics. These podcasts are available on Spotify and YouTube. The series has attracted a wide audience, both researchers within physics, engineering and mathematics, and members of the general public with an interest in fundamental physics. Filip's series complements and enhances the public engagement work of the STAG research centre, reaching out to new audiences.

Filip Landgren receives his stag prize
Filip Landgren receives his STAG Prize.

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

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