Trinity Fellow speaks at Nobel Symposium

Professor Justin Wark, Fellow and Tutor in Physics, presented an invited talk at a special Nobel Symposium on Free Electron Laser Research,  held in Sweden between 14 and 18 June, organised by Stockholm University and sponsored by the Nobel Foundation, a private institution that also handles administrative activities related to the annual Nobel Prize presentations.

According to the symposium’s website ‘The aim of the Nobel Symposium is to give an overview of free-electron lasers from an accelerator physics point of view, and their use in research in the natural sciences.’ It is the 158th in a series of Nobel symposia held since 1965 and devoted to ‘areas of science where breakthroughs are occurring.’ During the invitation-only symposium, a total of twenty-five scientific talks were presented, with speakers from Italy, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Japan, the US and the United Kingdom.

Professor Wark was the only UK scientist invited to speak, and he presented his work, performed in collaboration with Trinity JRF Dr Sam Vinko, on using free-electron x-ray lasers to create and investigate matter with temperatures and densities similar to those that exist half way to the centre of the sun.  This work has been performed using the world’s first free-electron x-ray laser, the Linear Collider Light Source (LCLS), based in Stanford, California.

Professor Wark said of the symposium: The development of x-ray lasers, a billion times brighter than any other x-ray source on the planet, is revolutionising many areas of science.  Along with my research group, I have been very privileged to have been given access to perform some of the first experiments using these novel machines.  Knowing that the Nobel Foundation is interested in their development, and the research being performed with them, is welcome recognition of the importance of the machines themselves, as well as the amazing science that they have enabled.  This technology is leading to many exciting new results across the disciplines.  Never did I imagine that during my career that a tool would be developed that improved key parameters by a factor of a billion in a single bound.  It is truly a great time to be working in x-ray science.

Posted: 19 June 2015

Professor Justin Wark