Bristol academics honoured for world-class achievements
Press release issued: 11 November 2004
Two Bristol University academics, Dr Philip Donoghue in the Department of Earth Sciences, and Dr Jens Marklof in the Department of Mathematics, have been honoured for their research achievements by one of Britain's most important grant-making foundations, the Leverhulme Trust, in its 2004 Philip Leverhulme Prizes.
Two Bristol University academics, Dr Philip Donoghue in the Department of Earth Sciences, and Dr Jens Marklof in the Department of Mathematics, have been honoured for their research achievements by one of Britain’s most important grant-making foundations, the Leverhulme Trust, in its 2004 Philip Leverhulme Prizes.
Dr Donoghue’s award is for his work explaining the origin and early evolution of the vertebrates. His research combines data from palaeontology, zoology, embryology and genetics to the understanding of the origin and early evolution of vertebrates, the origin and evolution of the skeleton in particular, and the evolution of development in general.
Dr Donoghue’s work is conducted along two interrelated strands: unraveling the pattern of evolution and finding out the mechanisms underlying major evolutionary transitions by incorporating data from developmental genetics into his evolutionary framework. This collaborative effort has overturned long-standing hypotheses on the nature of the earliest vertebrate skeleton and provided insight into the evolution of the skeleton as a model embryological system.
Dr Marklof has received the award for his work on quantum chaos. Quantum mechanics tells us that microscopic particles, such as electrons or atoms, are not solid masses but rather behave like interfering waves. The theory of quantum chaos explores the wave dynamics in chaotic geometries, and compares it with the corresponding classical motion of macroscopic particles. One of the main objectives in quantum chaos is to characterise the statistical nature of the quantum fluctuations around the macroscopic mean.
Dr Marklof’s main achievement is the rigorous proof of a 25-year-old assumption on the distribution of gaps between energy levels of certain quantum systems. One of his current projects focuses on the localisation properties of chaotic quantum states. The outcome of this investigation may have important applications in the design of micro-electronic devices.
Professor Sir John Beringer, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, said: “This is a terrific achievement by Philip and Jens. Our congratulations to them on this very considerable recognition for their research.”
The Philip Leverhulme Prize is awarded annually to outstanding young scholars in recognition of their research achievement. Each winner receives a prize of £50,000, paid in two equal instalments over 24 months, to advance their research.The Leverhulme Trust was established in 1925 under the Will of the first Lord Leverhulme - William Hesketh Lever - the entrepreneur and philanthropist who established Lever Brothers in the late nineteenth century. The Trust provides some £25 million each year to promote research of originality and significance principally in the university sector across a full span of disciplines.