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Warwick professor wins physics prize for research

Professor Robin Ball has been awarded the Institute of Physics 2009 Rayleigh Medal and Prize, which is awarded for distinguished research in theoretical, mathematical or computational physics.

He received the medal and prize of £2000 for his outstanding contributions to the understanding of diverse complex phenomena associated with growth processes and pattern formation.

The professor said: "A lot of people contributed to the work behind this award: forbearing family, supportive colleagues, stimulating collaborators, and a string of exciting research students I would count among both of the latter.

"Warwick Physics and its Theory Group are due recognition for a wide range of wonderful research, and I am pleased if this award contributes."

In the award citation, the Institute noted how the professor has "made outstanding contributions in discovering the unifying theoretical physics of diverse complex phenomena".

The Institute pointed to his work as a leading authority on the physical aspects of fractals and their applications as well as work on polymers, protein folding, dynamics of fracture, granular and colloidal materials, river networks and even snowflakes.

The citation highlighted this work as being "characterised by excellent physical insight, mathematical physics expertise and close collaboration with mathematicians, computer simulation experts, experimentalists and industrialists."

Professor Ball is currently directing Warwick's new Doctoral Training Centre in Complexity Sciences and his research interests include statistical physics with emphasis on self-organising systems.