2017 Best Physics Doctoral Dissertation and Teacher of the Year prizes awarded

PHYS Academic Coordinators

€3,000-prizes were awarded for three Best Doctoral Dissertations in recognition of research and one for Teacher of the Year.


The Teacher of the Year prize was awarded to Emppu Salonen, and Natalie Segercrantz, Konstantin Tiurev and John Tracey were each awarded the Best Physics Doctoral Dissertation in 2017 from the Department of Applied Physics in a ceremony held on 20 December 2017 at Aalto’s Dipoli building in Otaniemi. Each dissertation awardee were invited to give a short presentation on their thesis topics. 


Emppu Salonen was awarded for best teaching in physics in 2017.

The annual prize awarded for the acknowledgement of esteemed teaching in physics in 2017 was selected by a committee consisting of professor, lecturer and student representatives. In its third year, the PhD awards are given in recognition of outstanding excellence in doctoral research. The dissertations were selected by a nominated professor, this year by Professor Robin Ras. Each of these prizes amount to €3,000.

In Natalie Segercrantz's thesis "Optoelectronic properties of III-V compounds and alloys", she used experimental and computational methods to study the relationship between the concentration of N or Bi, the defect concentration in the material, and the properties of GaSb. The research found that the electrical and optical properties of the material can be tuned, thus increasing the range of applications in optoelectronic devices.


Natalie Segercrantz was awarded best PhD dissertation in 2017.

Segercrantz's thesis was supervised by Professor Filip Tuomisto in the Antimatter and Nuclear Engineering group in the department. A summary of the project was presented by Senior University Lecturer Jonatan Slotte, who instructed the researcher during her studies.

In Konstantin Tiurev's thesis "Quantum knots and monopoles", he investigated the creation, stability, and dynamical properties of various topological defects in spinor Bose–Einstein condensates. Many theoretical predictions were in very good agreement with experiments, including the first observations of quantum-mechanical knots and monopoles. 


Konstantin Tiurev also received an award for best doctoral dissertation in 2017 in physics.

Tiurev completed his thesis with Dr Mikko Möttönen in the Quantum Computing and Devices group in the department and Professor Päivi Törmä as supervisor.

In John Tracey's thesis "Simulating atomic force microscopy at the solid-liquid interface", he used a combination of molecular dynamics and simulated atomic force microscopy (AFM) images and developed a model of the interface between water and calcite, giving insight into the dissolution process. By comparing experimental and simulated results, Tracey's work increased objectivity when making such comparisons using AFM.


John Tracey was the third awardee for the best doctoral dissertation in physics in 2017.

Tracey's thesis was supervised by Professor Adam Foster in the Surfaces and Interfaces at the Nanoscale group in the department.

For more information:

Department of Applied Physics: http://physics.aalto.fi/

To learn more about the research groups described here:

Antimatter and Nuclear Engineering: http://physics.aalto.fi/en/groups/antimatter/ 

Quantum Computing and Devices: http://physics.aalto.fi/en/groups/qcd/

Surfaces and Interfaces at the Nanoscale: http://physics.aalto.fi/en/groups/sin/