Welcome to the family!

3 June 2020

The Department of Physics is delighted to welcome eight new Associate Professor Tutorial Fellows to its academic staff.

‘We are thrilled to be joined by such fantastic new colleagues,’ enthuses Professor Ian Shipsey, Head of Department. ‘Each one brings with them their rich experience, cutting-edge research and insightful teaching practice. As leading experts in their fields, the entire department is very excited for what the future holds. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the search committees for their excellent work in identifying such exceptional talent.’


Prateek Agrawal

Dr Prateek Agrawal joined the Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics as an Associate Professor in the Particle Theory Group this month, in conjunction with a Tutorial Fellowship held at Somerville College.

Prateek is a particle phenomenologist and is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for the Fundamental Laws of Nature at Harvard University, USA. He has broad research interests that include collider physics, dark matter and new ideas beyond the Standard Model.

Prateek intends to continue his current work on novel model building and cosmological mechanisms in axion physics. More broadly he will enhance our activity at the interface of particle physics with cosmology and astro-particle physics, and in searches for new physics at current and future colliders.


Jayne Birkby

Dr Jayne Birkby will join Astrophysics as an Associate Professor in Exoplanetary Science from July 2020, in conjunction with a Tutorial Fellowship held at Brasenose College.

Jayne is an astronomer and ERC Starting Grant laureate currently serving as Assistant Professor at the Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astrophysics, University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. She is an expert in observing the atmospheres of exoplanets at high spectral resolution to determine their chemical composition and their atmospheric dynamics.

Jayne will be focusing on studying the wide variety of nearby terrestrial exoplanet atmospheres, and placing Earth in the context of the extreme diversity of the exoplanet population. Her observational expertise bridges to key future instrumentation, including the Extremely Large Telescopes, with further goals of making the first maps of directly imaged Jovian planets and detecting their companion exomoons.


Hannah Christensen

Dr Hannah Christensen will join Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics as an Associate Professor in Physical Climate Science from July 2020 in conjunction with a Tutorial Fellowship held at Wadham College.

Hannah is a climate physicist who currently holds a NERC independent research fellowship in the department after a stint as post-doctoral fellow in the Advanced Study Program of the US National Center for Atmospheric Research. She is an expert on stochastic climate physics and the uncertain representation of clouds in climate models.

Once in post, Hannah will continue to focus on improving our understanding of the interaction between fast atmospheric processes and slower components of the climate system, key to improve our estimates of future climate change. Her group will bridge the gap between observations, theory and the development of numerical models for improved understanding and predictions of the climate system.


Marina Filip

Dr Marina Filip joined Condensed Matter Physics as an Associate Professor in Materials Modelling in February 2020, in conjunction with a Tutorial Fellowship held at University College.

Marina joined us from the Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, where she worked with Professor Jeffrey B. Neaton, and before that she was a post-doctoral research assistant at the Department of Materials here in Oxford working with Professor Feliciano Giustino.

Marina employs first principles computational modelling where she uses density functional theory and many-body perturbation theory in her research on materials design and discovery, metal-halide perovskites and materials for solar energy conversion and storage.


Carly Howett

Dr Carly Howett will join Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics as an Associate Professor in Space instrumentation from July 2020, in conjunction with a Tutorial Fellowship held at St Edmund Hall.

Carly is a planetary physicist currently serving as Assistant Director of the Department of Space Studies at the Southwest Research Institute, Department of Space Studies, USA. She is an expert of the surfaces of icy worlds with a long track record in space instrumentation.

Carly will be focusing on new observations and instrumentation for the exploration of icy worlds as well as the exploitation of existing remote-sensing data to study the surfaces of icy bodies in our solar system.


Bence Kocsis

Dr Bence Kocsis will join the Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics as an Associate Professor in Theoretical Astrophysics and Plasma Physics from July 2020, in conjunction with a Tutorial Fellowship held at St Hugh's College.

Bence is currently leading the GALNUC project funded by an ERC Starting Grant at Eotvos University, Budapest in Hungary where he serves as an Assistant Professor. He has a broad range of interest in theoretical astrophysics, including astrophysical dynamics, astrophysical general relativity, black hole physics, gravitational wave astrophysics, accretion disks, and statistical mechanics.

Once in post, Bence plans to focus on the theoretical origin of gravitational wave sources including the recently discovered LIGO/VIRGO sources and the expected sources for the upcoming spaced-based LISA instrument and pulsar timing arrays. He will also continue to examine the interface between astrophysics and statistical physics.


Kimberly Palladino

Dr Kimberly Palladino will join Particle Physics as an Associate Professor in Non-Accelerator Particle Physics from July 2020, in conjunction with a Tutorial Fellowship held at Lincoln College.

Kimberly is an astro-particle physicist, currently an Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. She is an expert in liquid noble dark matter detectors, and currently the physics coordinator of the international LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) experiment.

Kimberly will join Oxford’s dark matter group to continue working on the upcoming LZ experiment which will look for dark matter from 2020-2025, as well as building the group to work towards future dark matter and low background experiments.


Sam Vinko

Dr Sam Vinko will join Atomic and Laser Physics as an Associate Professor in High Energy Density Science from July 2020, in conjunction with a Tutorial Fellowship at Trinity College.

Sam already leads a research group in the Department of Physics as a Royal Society URF, and plans to continue his successful research programme investigating extreme states of matter using x-ray free electron laser light sources, and on developing new computational tools to help design and interpret large-scale plasma experiments.