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Loughborough Professor is first non-Russian or American winner of prestigious international science prize

Research into ultrahigh magnetic fields at Loughborough University has attracted the attention of the Russian Academy of Sciences and landed one academic with a rare distinction.

Professor Bucur Novac, of the University’s Plasma and Pulsed Power Group, based at the Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering, is the first scientist based outside Russia or the USA to be awarded the Pavlovsky Prize.

The honour is awarded to two scientists every four years for their contributions to the field of ultrahigh magnetic field physics and technology.

Prof Novac received the joint accolade in Estoril, Portugal, on September 22, at a banquet organised by the International Megagauss Conference MG-XV, where he received a Diploma, a Gold Medal and $1,000.

Also chosen to receive the quadrennial prize was Sergey Garanin, of the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute for Experimental Physics (VNIIEF) – making theirs the first winning partnership which does not include only Russian and American academics.

Prof Novac said: “It feels good to be recognised, but it is not only for me – this symbolises the work of a very dedicated team.

“Representing Loughborough University makes me very proud, and I hope that my small contribution will help in spreading its reputation on the worldwide scientific stage.”

The research which won Prof Novac the award is related to the use of magnetic fields in excess of 100 Tesla – a 1 Tesla magnet is capable of pulling fillings from teeth.

But the Loughborough team has created even stronger fields.

“The most successful related work we have performed is the generation of magnetic fields in excess of 300 Tesla by electromagnetic flux-compression,” said Prof Novac. “Also worth mentioning are the development of unique numerical simulation codes for both fast magnetic flux-compression and for compact inductively-coupled explosively-driven systems termed 'Fluxars’ – both examples of the front line research here at Loughborough.”

The practical applications of ultrahigh magnetic fields, also termed Megagauss fields, include high energy dense magnetised plasma physics related to fusion and for the development of various defence related systems.

Earlier this year, Prof Novac also received the IEEE 2016 Sol Schneider Award offered for “continuing contributions to compact and repetitive pulsed power technologies and leadership in engineering education”.

And in 2008 he was presented with the Max Fowler Commemorative Medal for “outstanding contribution to the high energy density physics and for promotion of international cooperation”.

Prof Novac is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Institution of Engineering and Technology.