Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Outstanding Flinders Graduate

Craig Roberts (right) with Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Barber in 2009

Craig Roberts (BSc Hons ’84 PhD PhysSc ’89) has received a Helmholtz International Fellowship valued at €20,000 which will allow him to visit to Germany and to conduct cutting-edge research at the interface between nuclear and particle physics in the Institute of Nuclear Physics (IKP) at Research Centre Jülich (FZJ, and as part of the Jülich-Aachen Research Alliance (JARA), a German “Centre of Excellence” that joins FZJ and RWTH Aachen University. Research Centre Jülich, located 30km from Aachen, is one of the largest multidisciplinary research facilities in Europe. Dr Roberts is presently at the Argonne National Laboratory in the US.

Cooperation with the world’s best researchers is a key objective of the Helmholtz Association’s international activities, and the Helmholtz International Fellow Awards, target outstanding senior scientists and research managers based outside Germany who have excelled in fields relevant to the Helmholtz Association, including science management at large international research institutions. Recipients have the opportunity to pursue research flexibly at one or more Helmholtz Centres where cooperation already exists or would be useful and profitable in the future.

FZJ and JARA are preparing research programmes for the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research, a €1B facility due to begin in 2018. FZJ and JARA are leading construction of the High Energy Storage Ring (HESR), which is an essential part of the physics program at FAIR, and the keystone of the collaboration that is constructing and will use the anti-Proton ANnihilation at DArmstadt (PANDA) detector.

The PANDA Collaboration, with more than 450 scientists from seventeen countries, will conduct basic research experiments with numerous themes centring on nonperturbative phenomena in quantum chromodynamics, the strong-interaction part of the Standard Model of Particle Physics. They will search for exotic states of matter, composed solely from force fields. If found, the exotic states will completely eliminate the distinctions long made between matter and force.

The PANDA Collaboration will also probe the structure of hadrons and measure the alteration of hadron properties when they are immersed in dense systems, amongst other things. The entire program is, driven by the dual imperatives of understanding confinement and dynamical chiral symmetry breaking in QCD.

Craig Roberts was nominated for this Award by FZJ and JARA because they want to benefit from his expertise in nonperturbative quantum field theory in the continuum, in particular he says because of his” understanding of the mechanism by which the bulk of observable matter in the Universe was created and the ever present influence of that mechanism.” In 2009, Craig’s contributions in this field were by Flinders University with the award of the Convocation Medal.

Craig says the Fellowship will allow him “to relocate to Jülich, for a meaningful amount of time, and thereby deliver a period of intellectual freedom during which my thoughts and research can focus on the physics of PANDA. Further “ FZJ and JARA will benefit because my presence provides access to the World’s largest international collaboration in continuum strong QCD, more than 20 theorists.” .

It is hoped that this will help build the vigorous international theory program that is necessary in order to ensure success with PANDA at the HESR.

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