Dr Vera Hazelwood, one of the KTN's experienced Technology Translators, has been awarded the IoP prize for Best PhD Thesis in Computational Physics.
Vera's winning PhD thesis was on the subject of Finite Difference Time Domain modelling of liquid crystal devices at Southampton University. The prize is awarded annually to the author of the PhD thesis that contributes most strongly to the advancement of Computational Physics.
In her research, Vera applied the FDTD method to solve non-linear time dependent Maxwell’s equations in liquid crystal media. By taking into account the non-linear feedback between the light wave and the orientation of liquid crystal molecules, she observed previously unknown nonlinear oscillations in the transmittance properties of liquid crystal cells and the appearance of optical singularities in a wavefront of a Gaussian laser beam interacting with the cell.
The competition was open to all students from a UK institution whose PhD was examined in 2006. Vera also holds a PhD and MSc in Theoretical Physics, and a BA in General Physics from Kiev State Shevchenko University.