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Jessica Stobbs at Euro-Asian Pulsed Power Conference 2021

Jessica Stobbs

PhD students win prestigious international awards

Two Loughborough PhD students have received prestigious international awards at the Euro-Asian Pulsed Power Conference (EAPPC), held in Biarritz, France 29 August-3 September.

Matthew Woodyard and Jessica Stobbs, from the Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering, were recently named as the winners of two esteemed awards at the EAPPC.

Matthew Woodyard was awarded the EAPPC Outstanding Young Researcher Award which is presented to a researcher who can contribute with an outstanding oral presentation during the conference that includes a worldwide relevant breakthrough in pulsed power physics and technology.

Matthew’s research is concentrated on the generation of intense Pulsed Electric Fields (PEF). It is the latest advancement in a novel and non-invasive food processing technique developed at Loughborough University. It utilises the output of a compact one-million-volt pulsed power generator, based on Tesla transformer technology and, if it is successful, may change the way food is preserved.

Matthew said: “It was a huge honour to be recognised as an outstanding young researcher. The culmination of this research topic has taken a few years to come to fruition and simply would not have been possible without the support and advice of my supervisor Professor Novac as well as the skill and craftsmanship of the technicians making my designs a reality.”

Matthew Woodyard at Euro-Asian Pulsed Power Conference 2021

Image: Matthew Woodyard (middle)

Jessica Stobbs received a travel grant from the International Society on Pulsed Power Applications after impressing the panel with the outstanding results of her research, which investigates supersonic pulsed electric discharges in water and the production of ultrasound associated with them.

Jessica’s research concerns the practical demonstration of an underwater supersonic acoustic source. She said, “Winning this travel grant is important to me for two main reasons. Firstly, I feel that this award acknowledges my work; I have found that studying for a PhD can be a time of self-doubt and anxiety about the quality of my own work, however this award has given me the confidence in my own ability to work at this level. 

“Secondly, the cost of a conference is the greatest obstacle to attending them. Conferences are a fantastic opportunity to meet influential researchers from around the world, gain experience delivering presentations and discuss both your own, and other peoples work with experts in the field. The grant will allow me to attend at least one more before the completion of my PhD.”

Matthew and Jessica attended the conference together with their supervisor, Professor Bucur Novac, who played the role of Technical Chair at the EAPPC conference and is the Head of Loughborough’s Plasma and Pulsed Power Research Group.

Having been postponed by a year due to the pandemic, the EAPPC provided a forum for scientists and engineers in the field of physics and pulsed power technology, to cover a wide range of topics and exchange scientific and technical information between industry, academic institutions, and leading research organisations.