Simply the best: Prestigious international prize for PhD thesis

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Thomas Whittles and his supervisor, Dr Vin Dhanak

Thomas J Whittles, who completed his PhD in the Department of Physics and the Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy, has been awarded the prestigious Springer Thesis prize.

Thomas’s thesis focused on photovoltaic materials for harnessing solar energy and it will now be published in the Springer Theses series. 

The Springer Theses series is a book series, published annually, featuring the `best of the best’ PhD theses from around the world in the fields of chemistry, physics, earth sciences, engineering and materials science.

Internationally top-ranked research institutes submit their best thesis for publication in this series which are selected for their scientific excellence and impact on research. Each thesis is nominated and endorsed by two recognized specialists.

Dr Vin Dhanak, Tom’s PhD supervisor, said “Tom was an exceptional and very popular student at the Stephenson Institute, and is destined to do great things in science. I was delighted to work with him and his thesis sets a high standard and is of reference quality. It deals with new photovoltaic materials that are safe and earth abundant, and his research highlights techniques for high quality electronic characterization of not only these important class of materials, but generally for all materials used in technological devices.”

Professor Carsten Welch, Head of the Department of Physics, said “This is an outstanding prize for high quality research in one of the most important areas of science dealing with renewable energy conversion. The Department of Physics is proud of Thomas Whittles and congratulate him for winning this prestigious award.”

Professor Ronan McGrath, Head of the School of Physical Sciences, said: “The School of Physical Sciences is delighted that Tom Whittles has received this prestigious award. His thesis represents an important contribution to our understanding of some new solar materials and he showed an impressive command of several complex characterisation techniques in the course of his work.  His thesis examiners were unanimous in agreeing that the thesis was one of the best-presented they had ever encountered. The work is a credit to Tom and his supervisor, Dr Vin Dhanak.”

Professor Laurence Hardwick, Director of Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy, said “The Stephenson Institute is proud and delighted that research done in the institute is internationally recognised through the prestigious Springer thesis prize to Tom Whittles.

“His thesis focussed on characterization of photovoltaic materials and has significantly contributed to a deep understanding of the parameters that would lead to improvement in solar cell design. Congratulations to Tom.”