Professor Paolo Radaelli, Professor of Experimental Philosophy at the University of Oxford and long-time ISIS user has today been awarded the Giuseppe Occhialini Medal and Prize from the Italian Physical Society and the Institute of Physics (IOP). The award recognises Professor Radaelli for his 'seminal contributions to understanding functional and magnetic oxides, particularly through the use and development of techniques using neutron and synchrotron facilities and the promotion of UK-Italian bilateral activities.'
(from left to right - Professor Radaelli, Professor Angela Bracco, President of the Italian Physical Society and Dominic Hurley, Head of International Relations at IOP on 11th September 2023)
Throughout his career, Professor Radaelli has studied a variety of materials, from high-Tc superconductors to colossal magnetoresistance manganese oxides. His main interest is the study of transition metal oxides displaying novel physical phenomena, such as high-temperature superconductivity, “colossal" magnetoresistance or multiferroics behaviour, with the potential of device applications. He has made leading contributions to the physics of transition metal oxides and related compounds, using neutron and X-ray scattering and spectroscopy as primary tools. In recent years, Professor Radaelli has established a new field of research in photo-induced magnetism and real-space antiferromagnetic topology.
Professor Radaelli worked at ISIS from 1998 to 2008, first as an instrument scientist on GEM, then as Crystallography Group Leader and STFC Fellow. Dr Andrew Taylor, Executive Director of STFC National Laboratories, who is the former Director of ISIS enthuses, “During his time as a staff member at ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, Professor Radaelli was a major contributor to the design and construction of state-of-the-art diffractometers: GEM, which set the standard for high-count-rate time-of-flight neutron powder diffraction for over a decade; and WISH which was a game changer for studying magnetic materials. Paolo also provided the basic design concept for the POWGEN diffractometer at the US Spallation Neutron Source."
His many other contributions to ISIS include working on the SXD upgrade, HRPD-II, the upgrade of PEARL, the new Polaris, IMAT and LMX, as well as initiating the MANTID software project, which is now a multi-million-pound international endeavour. Professor Radaelli's name is most clearly associated with bodies of work on manganites and multiferroics, in which he has conducted experiments over the years at ISIS, in particular with WISH, which has included research towards solving the problem of polarisation fatigue in BiFeO3 thin films, the magnetic phase diagram of multiferroic GdMn2O5 and most recently, the first bulk observation of helical ordering of electric dipoles, featured as a science highlight in our Annual Review of 2020. His early structural studies of high-Tc superconductors and work on phase transitions in frustrated systems have been fundamentally important within the field, including leading the structural condensed matter physics component of the work.
Professor Radaelli is a tireless promoter of Italian science and culture in the UK. Since 1990, he has been a key figure in collaborative projects between the UK and Italy. During his time at ISIS, and most recently in connection with Italian participation in the European Spallation Source (ESS), he established himself as a lynchpin in supporting collaboration between the neutron scattering communities in both countries. In 2014, Professor Radaelli became a member of the UK-ESS Project Board, which manages the UK in-kind contribution to the ESS. From 2016, he was a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Italian contribution to ESS and recently the author of a major review of the Italian neutron programme.
Awarded the prize today at the Opening Ceremony of the Congress of the Italian Physical Society in Salerno, Italy by Professor Angela Bracco, President of the Italian Physical Society and Dominic Hurley, Head of International Relations at IOP, Professor Radaelli said, “I am very proud to be recognised at the same time by the Italian physics community, which educated me as an undergraduate, and by the UK physics community, which 'adopted' me and enabled me to achieve my scientific ambitions. I also wish to pay tribute to my STFC colleagues: much of the work that is recognised with this prize was done as an ISIS staff scientist and would not have been possible without their help and support."
The prize was jointly established in 2007 by IOP and the Italian Physical Society on the Centenary of the birth of Giuseppe Occhialini with the aim to commemorate the eminent scientist as well as to strengthen the relationship between the two Societies. Giuseppe “Beppo" Occhianlini was an Italian physicist who contributed to the discovery of pion decay in 1947 with colleagues Cesar Lattes and Cecil Frank Powell, the latter who won a Nobel Prize in Physics for this work.
The prize is awarded on an annual basis to a physicist in recognition of distinguished work in physics research conducted within the past decade. In 2016, Professor Carla Andreani, a long-standing ISIS user from the Università degli Studi di Roma "Tor Vergata" was also awarded the Giuseppe Occhialini Medal and Prize 'for her outstanding contributions to novel experimental techniques and methods in neutron spectroscopy and her tireless commitment to fostering the British-Italian collaboration in neutron science.'