Professor Séamus Davis awarded Olli V Lounasmaa Memorial Prize

1 July 2020

Professor Séamus Davis from Oxford’s Department of Physics has been awarded the Olli V Lounasmaa Memorial Prize 2020. The prize is awarded once every four years to a scientist who has made outstanding contributions to advances on low temperature physics and related fields and is named in honour of the founder of the Low Temperature Laboratory at Aalto University.

Professor Davis receives the prize for his pioneering research into visualising electronic quantum matter at the atomic scale. The panel agreed: ‘He has pioneered the development and applications of electronic matter visualisation techniques in the low temperature regime. Today, the instruments emulating his design have spawned a worldwide revolution in electronic quantum matter studies allowing direct visualisation of electronic matter. His persistent scientific and technological work has generated numerous advances in the understanding of strongly correlated superconductivity, changing the direction of discourse in the field of low temperature physics.’

Professor Davis is a Fellow of Wadham College at Oxford and Professor of Quantum Physics at University College Cork; his research group operates laboratories at the Department of Physics at Oxford, University College Cork and Cornell University.

Professor Robert Taylor is Head of Condensed Matter Physic at Oxford and writes: ‘Congratulations to Professor Séamus Davis, who is a Royal Society Research Professor in our department. It is particularly appropriate that Professor Davis should get this prize as Professor Lounasmaa was himself trained at the Clarendon Laboratory under the supervision of Dr. Ron Hill, where he received his DPhil in 1958. His thesis was on the measurements of the thermodynamic properties of liquid helium-4 between 1.5 and 20 K. He went on to found the low-temperature laboratory at the Helsinki University of Technology in 1965. On January 1, 2012, the Low Temperature Laboratory at Aalto University was renamed the O. V. Lounasmaa Laboratory in honour of its founder and long-time director.’

Head of the Department of Physics at Oxford, Professor Ian Shipsey confirms: ‘We are delighted that Professor Davis has received this accolade. He has been one of the first to benefit from our ultra-low vibration and ultra-low temperature laboratory, the Beecroft building, opened in 2019 and made possible by a combination of university and benefactor funding. Séamus is a pioneer in atomic-scale visualisation of quantum matter and he is developing new types of microscope to do this in the Beecroft. Both staff and students alike are very excited to see how his research develops in this remarkable facility.’

Find out more about the Olli V Lounasmaa Memorial Prize.