Eric de Vries, who recently earned his doctorate from the University of Groningen, has won the NWO Physics Valorisation Chapter Prize for 2018. He has been awarded the prize for the valorisation chapter in his PhD thesis, Taking topological insulators for a spin: A feasibility study. The award ceremony will take place on 22 January 2019 during the annual national physics conference Physics@Veldhoven.
Eric de Vries defended his PhD thesis, which he had written under the supervision of Prof. T. Banerjee at the University of Groningen, on 24 November 2017.
De Vries’s research focused on gaining a better understanding of the transport properties of topological isolators. In one chapter of his thesis, he specifically investigated the feasibility of using these topological isolators in devices for various technological applications. In the process, he not only looked at the scientific feasibility, but he also managed to describe matters like the availability of the raw materials, the impact on the environment and how these materials can fit into the circular economy. He also investigated the industrial scalability. And he did all this in the context of a study that by no means automatically called for or lent itself to the description of such matters.
The selection committee found that De Vries had done thorough research on the technological feasibility and the environmental impact. He had also managed to write up his results in a clear and readable way. Especially considering the fundamental character of his PhD research project, this is certainly a major achievement.
Ten years ago now, as a way to encourage PhD students to devote a chapter in their thesis to the valorisation aspects of their research, NWO Physics established the NWO Physics Valorisation Chapter Prize. The prize includes a sum of EUR 5,000.
The NWO Physics Valorisation Chapter Prize is one of three prizes that NWO will be awarding in the field of physics this year. The other two are the NWO Physics Valorisation Prize and the NWO Physics Thesis Award.
The winning valorisation chapter:
'Taking topological insulators for a spin: A feasibility study'
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