• Séamus Davis, Professor of Quantum Physics at UCC, has been named as the recipient of the 2023 O.E. Buckley Physics Prize by the by the American Physical Society
  • Prof Davis is the first Irish winner of the prize, UCC first Irish institution to host a winner
  • 18 previous winners of the Buckley Prize have won the Nobel Prize for Physics
  • Photograph of Prof Seamus Davis available for download below

University College Cork (UCC) is delighted to announce that Séamus Davis, Professor of Quantum Physics at UCC, 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.

Also the Professor of Physics at the Clarendon Lab. at the University of Oxford, Prof. Davis is the first Irish recipient of the award, and UCC is the first Irish institution to host a winner of the award.

An accolade that recognises 25 years’ of work, the award has been presented to Prof. Seamus 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.”

Congratulating Prof. Davis, UCC President Professor John O’Halloran said:

“I wish to extend the warmest congratulations to Professor Davis on this very significant scholarly achievement.  We are so proud of the extraordinary work that Seamus is doing in leading some of the world’s greatest discoveries on Quantum physics.  We are so lucky to have Seamus leading out this ground-breaking work, generously supported by Science Foundation Ireland.  Quantum and Photonics are one of the recently announced thematic areas for UCC Futures research at UCC and this award will give further momentum to this initiative.”

Prof. Sarah Culloty, Head of the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science at UCC said:

"I would like to congratulate Professor Davis on receiving this distinguished accolade. His outstanding scientific and technological endeavours have advanced our understanding of quantum physics, and we are proud that he is continuing his pioneering work at University College Cork," she said.

Prof. Philip Nolan, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland, said:

"I would like to take this opportunity to extend my congratulations to Professor Seamus Davis on being awarded the O.E. Buckley Physics Prize from the American Physical Society.  This distinguished award recognises his pioneering scientific research in quantum physics.  We at Science Foundation Ireland are delighted to have supported his research. I’m sure his achievement will inspire future researchers, and we wish him continued success with his ground-breaking work.”