Professor David Hutchinson and Professor Roy Sambles

New Zealand Physics President returns to his Exeter roots

The President of the New Zealand Institute of Physics returned to his academic roots in Exeter to forge a new collaboration with his UK counterpart - a University of Exeter physics professor.

Professor David Hutchinson, who graduated from Exeter with a BSc in Mathematics and Theoretical Physics 20 years ago, was hosted at the Streatham campus by Professor Roy Sambles, President of the UK’s Institute of Physics and Professor of Experimental Physics in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences.

The two professors made plans for the expansion of a student exchange programme. They also discussed the potential for joint working between their respective research centres and agreed to begin negotiations for more collaboration between the UK’s Institute of Physics and the New Zealand Institute of Physics.

Professor Hutchinson also gave a seminar describing his career, which has taken him from Exeter to the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, an institution as far away from Exeter geographically as you can get in the world.

Professor Hutchinson, Director of the Dodd-Walls Centre, a New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence, said: "It is unusual to have heads of two international institutions like these - two institutes of physics - both from the University of Exeter. This is therefore a great opportunity to refresh an institutional relationship that has a long history but has perhaps been neglected.

“We look forward to developing a package of initiatives to bring together the two institutes in a closer working relationship which we will ratify when Roy visits New Zealand in December.

"It was wonderful to be back at Exeter surrounded by old friends and the beautiful campus. It's great to see the progress made since I left over 20 years ago. I note in particular the rankings in the top 10 in the UK and top 100 worldwide."

Professor Sambles said: “It was a delight to welcome back to Exeter one of our most successful physics alumni. We had opportunity to discuss not just collaborations in research but wider issues involving potential future developments between the UK Institute of Physics and that in New Zealand.

“I am very much looking forward to my reciprocal visit to New Zealand in December so we can further progress our joint endeavours. It is a unique situation to have two prominent figures in the world of physics connected with the University of Exeter, and shows the high regard from the physics community for the work carried out here.

“David, as well as delivering a seminar, explained to PhD students how they might further their research by linking with researchers in New Zealand and gave them sage advice on developing their careers.”

Date: 2 August 2016

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