Fellow and Tutor in Physics

Sam M. Vinko

  • I am a University Research Fellow of the Royal Society with Associate Professor status in the Department of Physics.

  • I use x-ray free-electron lasers to create and study extreme states of matter present in the interior of (exo)planets and stars.

  • I am co-founder of Machine Discovery, an Oxford spinout focused developing optimization and acceleration software for intelligent computational R&D.

Sam M. Vinko


As a Tutorial Fellow in Physics at Trinity I teach a range of topics across the undergraduate curriculum. My current focus is on the first-year Mathematics courses (CP3 and CP4 papers), second-year Optics, and third year Atomic and Laser Physics. In the Physics Department I lecture on density functional theory applied to dense plasmas as part of a joint graduate course for first-year DPhil students from Oxford, Imperial College, and the University of Warwick. My research group comprises around ten members, including postdoctoral researchers, DPhil students and final-year MPhys students.



I’m interested in understanding the behaviour of quantum systems in extreme conditions of temperature, density and pressure. Such conditions are ubiquitous in large astrophysical objects such as (exo)planets and stars, but are also of critical importance to research in inertial confinement fusion. To create and study these systems in the laboratory my research group uses some of the largest light sources on the planet, including the LCLS x-ray free-electron laser in California, and the European XFEL in Germany. The experimental research we do is deeply integrated with theoretical and computational endeavours, both in terms of quantum modelling via techniques such as density functional theory, and atomic physics modelling via collisional-radiative atomic kinetics. We also extensively use machine learning to support our research, ranging from prediction acceleration via various novel approaches in deep learning, to the application of Bayesian inference and other advanced statistical techniques to the robust interpretation of noisy, incomplete experimental data.


Selected Publications

S.M. Vinko et al., ‘Time-Resolved XUV Opacity Measurements of Warm Dense Aluminium’, Physical Review Letters 124, 225002 (2020)

M. F. Kasim et al., ‘Up to two billion times acceleration of scientific simulations with deep neural architecture search’, arXiv:2001.08055, 2020. A summary report on this paper: M. Hudson’, Science 367 (6479), 728 (2020)

M.F. Kasim, T.P. Galligan, J. Topp-Mugglestone, G. Gregori, S.M. Vinko, ‘Inverse problem instabilities in large scale modelling of matter in extreme conditions’, Physics of Plasmas 26, 112706 (2019)

P. Hollebon, O. Ciricosta, M.P. Desjarlais, C. Cacho, C. Spindloe, E. Springate, I. C.E. Turcu, J.S. Wark, S.M. Vinko, ‘Ab initio simulations and measurements of the free-free opacity in Aluminum’, Physical Review E 100, 043207 (2019)

M.F. Kasim, A.F.A. Bott, P. Tzeferacos, D.Q. Lamb, G. Gregori, S.M. Vinko, ‘Retrieving fields from proton radiography without source profiles’, Physical Review E 100, 033208 (2019)

Q.Y. van den Berg et al., ‘Clocking Femtosecond Collisional Dynamics via Resonant X-ray Spectroscopy’, Physical Review Letters 120, 055002 (2018)

Dr Vinko

Bright x-ray free-electron lasers enable quantum plasmas to be explored at their fundamental spatial and temporal scales for the first time.