18 August 2015
Christopher Pethick receives the Feenberg Award
Christopher Pethick, Professor at the Niels Bohr International Academy and Nordita has received the Feenberg Medal 2015.
The Eugene Feenberg Memorial Medal (or Feenberg Award) was established in 1983 at the International Conference on Recent Progress in Many-Body Theories as a memorial to the American physicist Eugene Feenberg, who was a pioneer in nuclear physics and the development of methods for calculating properties of nuclei and quantum fluids.
“Christopher Pethick is awarded the Feenberg Award for his pioneering contributions and profound insights into many-body physics across diverse physical systems, ranging from ultracold atoms and quantum liquids to dense nuclear matter in neutron stars and stellar collapse,” states The International Advisory Committee’s motivation for awarding the medal to Christopher Pethick.
“I am honoured to receive the medal. I knew Eugene Feenberg personally. He showed great courage in developing methods that were not mainstream, but which later became the preferred ones. He was wonderful at supporting young researchers,” says Christopher Pethick.
Ultracold atoms and neutron stars
Christopher Pethick received his D. Phil. in physics in 1965 from Oxford University, after which he travelled to Illinois in the USA, and in 1973 he became a professor at Nordita in Copenhagen (now in Stockholm). He is now affiliated with the Niels Bohr International Academy at the Niels Bohr Institute.
He works with ultracold atoms cooled to one millionth of a degree above absolute zero, minus 273 degrees Celsius. Research into how particles behave inside these cold gases, in quantum fluids and in atomic nuclei contributes to our understanding of neutron stars in the universe.
A neutron star is the remnant of a massive star that has collapsed into a very compact core resembling a huge atomic nucleus. Many of its properties can be explained by experiments in the laboratory and Chris Pethick remarks that the exciting thing for him is to understand the complex processes that the star undergoes when it collapses to form a neutron star.
Christopher Pethick will be presented with the Feenberg Award at an official ceremony which will take place on 19 August in the USA at the International Conference on Recent Progress in Many-Body Theories.