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Advanced Fellowship for Dr Ben Kay

Posted on 28 May 2010

Dr Ben Kay to join York's Physics department as STFC Advanced Fellow

Dr Ben Kay

The nuclear physics group is looking forward to the arrival of Dr Ben Kay in November 2010. Ben was recently awarded a prestigious STFC Advanced Fellowship which will support him in five years of independent research at York.

Ben is presently working as a postdoctoral researcher at Argonne National Laboratory and prior to that was a PhD student at the University of Manchester.

The main thrust of Ben’s advanced fellowship project will be to continue with a research programme at Argonne using the new CARIBU facility which produces accelerated radioactive beams from an extremely strong Curium source. Beams of exotic neutron-rich nuclei are used in making studies of the evolution of nuclear shell structure far from stability. This research has some bearing on the astrophysical r-process which takes place in supernova explosions, and also in providing key Nuclear Physics input for isotopes under study as candidates for neutrinoless double beta-decay which provides constraints on Physics beyond the Standard Model. The instrument used in this research is called HELIOS and is based on a former MRI magnet. Light ions from nuclear reactions follow helical orbits in the high magnetic field and may be measured with energy resolution much superior to competing approaches like silicon barrels. In the medium term, Ben is keen to play a strong role in bringing this novel approach across the Atlantic and designing updated apparatus for the European radioactive beam facilities, SPIRAL2 in France and HIE-ISOLDE in CERN.