Dr Michael Faulkner

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Job title: Research Fellow
Division: School of Physics
Organisation: University of Bristol
Tags: Fellowship: Postdoctoral Fellowship, Physical sciences, Researcher, University of Bristol
Related theme: Physical Sciences

Biography

Michael was jointly award his doctorate by University College London and Ecole normale supérieure de Lyon in 2015.  After a short postdoc and a teaching position in the School of Mathematics at Bristol, Michael moved to the School of Physics to start his EPSRC Fellowship in August 2017.

My Fellowship

Michael is a statistical physicist, which means that he uses statistics to model many particles interacting with one another in a single system.  This allows to predict and utilize the mascroscopic properties of the materials used in modern technology.

His research focuses on the statistical physics of long-range interactions, and their relationship with phase transitions in condensed matter.  A major application of his work is superconductivity, which is a state in which the electrical resistance of certain materials becomes zero at low temperatures.  These materials are governed by long-range interactions and experience a phase transition between their normal and superconducting states.  Large resistance fluctuations were recently measured at the transition, and Michael's fellowship aims to understand their connection with the long-range interactions.

The EPSRC fellowship allows Michael to devote maximum time to his research, and, crucially, help him to both develop his niche and gain academic independence.  For example, it provides funding for research visits to Ecole normale supérieure in Paris to work with his collaborators.  This group is a world leader in computational methods for the physical sciences; the time spent working closely has been critical in both developing new methods and applying them to various physical systems governed by long-range interactions.  Such systems are widely used in industrial engineering for medicine, data manipulation, and the clean generation and storage of electrical energy.

Motivation to Apply

An EPSRC Postdoctoral Fellowship offers a very high level of independence for this career stage.  The freedom to develop your own ideas and long term research independence was Michael's main reason for applying to the scheme.

Career benefit of Fellowship

This fellowship will allow Michael to build both an independent reputation in his field and an international network of collaborators.  This will provide a platform on which to build a research group involved in international collaborations.  Collaboration is fundamental to good science, and an international aspect further enriches its benefits.

Advice for future applicants

If you have an idea that you both think is important and could provide a basis from which to building an independent research career, then an EPSRC Postdoctoral Fellowship is for you.