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Published: 04 July 2017

Physics student named ‘Postgraduate of the Year’ by UK Nuclear Skills

Michael Hodgson, who completed his PhD in detector physics at Surrey and is now a Technical Manager at Centronic Ltd, has won the UK Nuclear Skills ‘Postgraduate of the Year’ award.

The award was one of the highly prestigious 9th annual awards organised by The National Skills Academy for Nuclear (NSAN) and Cogent Skills, aimed at highlighting the success of students and apprentices at all levels in the nuclear sector. The awards were presented at a special dinner held in Manchester on 16 March, hosted by Iron Maiden lead singer, pilot and entrepreneur, Bruce Dickinson.

Michael was honoured for his PhD research which focused on developing detectors to help prevent nuclear weapons from being smuggled between countries. The research resulted in the publication of three papers as well as talks at several conferences and seminars.

He went on to work for Centronic Limited, initially as a Design and Development Engineer – providing technical and scientific support to the radiation and nuclear product lines – and now as Technical Manager, leading a team of technical authorities across all product lines. Alongside this work, Michael is actively involved in public engagement activities, such as developing an online training video to tackle employability for postgraduates for the South East Physics Network (SEPnet).

He said: “It was a real honour to be nominated for the award. I’m very proud of what I achieved during my PhD, and hope that through my public engagement work I’m helping to communicate this area of work and make the industry and the knowledge behind it transparent to everyone.”

Michael made the decision to undertake his PhD having studied on Surrey’s Masters course in Radiation Detection and Instrumentation. “This course really set me up for my career – both the jobs I have gone on to do and my PhD have directly utilised the skills I acquired from this course. It gave me the core knowledge required in the nuclear industry,” he said. Michael also studied at the University of Surrey for his undergraduate degree, an MPhys in Physics.

Jean Llewellyn OBE, Chief Executive of the National Skills Academy for Nuclear commented: “The UK Nuclear Skills Awards highlights the exceptional quality of people of all levels, who are committed to careers in the nuclear sector. I would like to personally congratulate all of the winners and finalists, they are all examples of excellence in skills development and I wish them all the very best for the future.”

Michael Hodgson’s PhD was in ‘Silicon Carbide and Diamond Neutron Detectors for Active Interrogation Security Applications’.

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