First Irish winner of the Oliver E. Buckley Prize

11 Oct 2022

Professor Séamus Davis of Physics Department, UCC and Univerisity of Oxford has been named as the recipient of the Oliver E. Buckley Prize in Condensed Matter Physics – one of the most prestigious awards in world science.

Prof. Davis will be presented with the award at a ceremony in Las Vegas at the annual conference of the American Physical Society. Presented annually since 1953, a total of 18 recipients of the Buckley Prize have also won the Nobel Prize in Physics in the past 69 years.

Prof. Davis is the first Irish recipient of the award, and UCC is the first Irish institution to host a winner of the award.

The award has been presented to Prof. Davis in recognition of his development of quantum microscopes that allow direct atomic scale imaging of quantum matter existing within advanced materials.

Prof. Davis explains:

“New materials are constantly created in laboratories around the world. Previously, to properly understand these new materials, we would observe some of their characteristics, develop theories based on these observations, test these and develop further theories based on what we would learn.

“This means it was taking years, if not decades in some cases, to develop a full profile of materials. What we have done is developed approaches and designs that allow us to extract direct atomic scale imaging of even the most complex electronic structure, giving us an almost instant and complete profile of these materials.

 “A useful analogy would be to look at what is happening in science of space. Scientists have long held theories about our galaxy and beyond – but now we are sending huge telescopes into space which are capturing images which are giving us the proof of what is out there. We are doing something similar, with the inner space of quantum materials,” he said.

Speaking on the award, Prof. Davis said;

“This work has spanned 25 years and there have been hundreds of contributors in that time – too many to thank individually. I would, however, like to thank all those who have supported our quantum microscope concept, since it started at UC Berkeley in the 1990’s, matured at  Cornell University in the 2000’s and has now become operational at UCC.”

The Physics Department, UCC are very proud and would like to extend a huge congratulations to Prof. Davis on his continued success.  

Department of Physics

Roinn na Fisice

Room 213 (Physics Office), 2nd floor, Kane Science Building, University College Cork, Ireland.,