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Thesis Winners

2011 Prizewinners:

RAS Michael Penston Prizewinner: Dr Ryan Cooke

Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, for the thesis 'Finding the First Metals.'


Runners-up: Dr Adrian Barker, DAMPT, University of Cambridge, 'Tidal Interactions between Planets and Stars' and Dr David Sobral, The Royal Observatory, Edinburgh University, for the thesis 'The Star-Formation History of the Universe.'


RAS Keith Runcorn Prizewinner: Dr David Kipping

Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London, for the thesis 'The Transits of Extrasolar Planets with Moons.'


Runner-up: Dr David Andrews, University of Leicester for the these 'Planetary-Period Oscillations in Saturn's Magnetosphere'


2010 Prizewinners:

RAS Michael Penston Prizewinner: Dr Duncan Forgan

Institute for Astronomy, University of Edinburgh for the thesis entitled 'Probing Self-Gravitating Discs Using Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics with Radiative Transfer'


Runner-up: Dr Andrew Eyre of the Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics, University of Oxford for his thesis 'On the Dynamics of Tidal Streams in the Milky Way Galaxy’


RAS Keith Runcorn Prizewinner: Dr James Verdon

Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol for the thesis entitled ‘Microseismic monitoring and geomechanical modelling of CO2 storage in subsurface reservoirs’


Runner-up: Dr Richard Morton of the department of Applied Mathematics, University of Sheffield for his thesis 'Magneto-seismology: The influence of the properties of solar waveguides on MHD wave propagation’


2009 Prizewinners:

RAS Michael Penston Prizewinner:  Dr Baojiu Li

DAMTP, University of Cambridge for the thesis entitled ‘Physical and Cosmological Implications of Modified Gravity Theories’

Runner-up : Dr Emily Curtis of the Astrophysics Group, University of Cambridge for her thesis ‘A Submillimetre Survey of Clustered Low-Mass Star Formation’


RAS Keith Runcorn Prizewinner:  Dr David Halliday

The University of Edinburgh, for his thesis entitled ‘Surface Wave Interferometry’.
(presently based at Schlumberger Cambridge Research, UK)

Runner-up : Dr Lasse B. N. Clausen of the University of Leicester
 (presently based at Virginia Tech, USA) for his thesis ‘Ultra-low frequency waves in the magnetosphere’


2008 Prizewinners:
RAS Michael Penston Prizewinner: Dr Kevin Schawinski

Oxford University (currently based at the Yale Center for Astronomy & Astrophysics, Department of Physics) for his thesis entitled  ‘The Star Formation History of Early-type Galaxies’.
Runner-up : Dr Rita Tojeiro of the University of Edinburgh (currently based at Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, University of Portsmouth) for her thesis entitled ‘Analysing observables in structure formation theories’

RAS Keith Runcorn Prizewinner:  Dr David Jess

Queen’s University Belfast, for his thesis entitled ‘High-cadence observations of the solar atmosphere’.
Runner-up : Dr Remco de Kok of Oxford University
 (presently based at SEON Netherlands Institute for Space Research Sorbonnelaan 2) for his thesis ‘Oxygen compounds, aerosols and condensate clouds in Titan’s stratosphere’


2007 Prizewinners:
Michael Penston Prizewinner: Dr Joern Geisbuesch  


University of Cambridge, Astrophysics Group, Cavendish Laboratory for his thesis entitled ‘‘Cosmology with Sunyaev-Zel’dovich Cluster Surveys’.
Runner-up : Dr Joseph Zuntz of Imperial College London  for his thesis entitled ‘Cosmic Microwave Background Power Spectrum Estimation and Prediction with Curious Methods and Theories’ 



Runcorn Prizewinner: Dr Leigh Fletcher 

University of Oxford, for her thesis entitled ‘Saturn’s Atmosphere: Structure and Composition from Cassini/CIRS’. 



Runner-up :Dr Dirk-Jan van Manen of Grant Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Edinburgh  for his thesis entitled ‘Time-reversal and Interferometry with applications to forward modeling of wave propagation and a chapter on receiver functions’.

2006 Prizewinners:
RAS-Blackwell Prizewinner: Sophie Bassett
Runner -up: James While

RAS Michael Penston Astronomy Prizewinner : Kate Land
Runners-up: James Bolton & Adam Moss


2005 Prizewinners:
RAS-Blackwell Prizewinner: Dr Phillip Livermore
Runner-up: Dr Trudi Hoogenboom

RAS Michael Penston Astronomy Prizewinner (sponsored by PPARC and Wiley): Dr Haley Gomez (nee Morgan) 
Runners-up: Dr Jeanne Wilson, Dr Carrie Trundle


2004 Prizewinners:

RAS-Blackwell Prizewinner: Dr Paul Williams
Runner-up: Dr James Wookey
RAS Michael Penston Astronomy Prizewinner (sponsored by PPARC and Wiley): Dr Clive Dickinson


2003 Prizewinners:

RAS-Blackwell Prizewinner: Dr Clare Watt
RAS Michael Penston Astronomy Prizewinner (sponsored by PPARC and Wiley): Dr Samuel Leach
Runners-up: Dr Chris Blake, Dr Darren Madwick


2002 Prizewinners:

RAS-Blackwell Prizewinner: Dr Emma Bunce
Runners-up: Dr Kathryn Hardacre, Dr Claire Newman
RAS Michael Penston Astronomy Prizewinner (sponsored by PPARC and Wiley): Dr Mark Wright
Runners-up: Dr Loretta Dunne, Dr Ole Moeller


(Before 2002, prizes were designated by year of thesis; since 2002, prizes have been designated by year of award. Thus although the thesis prizes are annual there were no '2001' prizes)

2000 Prizewinners: 


RAS-Blackwell Prizewinner: Dr Dave Skeet
Runners-up: Dr Mimi Hill, Dr Dan Raymer
RAS Michael Penston Astronomy Prizewinner (sponsored by PPARC): Dr Andrew Benson
Runners-up: Dr Sara Ellison, Dr Rob Hynes


1999 Prizewinners: 

RAS-Blackwell Prizewinner: Dr Marcus Bruggen
Runners-up: Dr Claire Price, Dr Anna Vickery
RAS Michael Penston Astronomy Prizewinner (sponsored by PPARC): Dr Anthony Challinor
Runners-up: Dr Eric Bell, Dr Harald Kuntschner


1998 Prizewinners:


RAS-Blackwell Prizewinner: Dr Mark Muller – 'Crustal Structure of the Southwest Indian Ridge'
RAS Michael Penston Astronomy Prizewinner (sponsored by PPARC): Dr Steven Rogers – The Nature of Cometary and Interstellar Ices
Runners-up: Dr Simon Dicker, Dr Tizania Matteo and Dr David Strickland.


1997 Prizewinners: 

RAS-Blackwell Prizewinner: Dr Cathryn Mitchell – Tomography of Spatial Structures in Ionospheric Plasmas
Runner-up: Dr Stephen Bourne.
RAS Astronomy Prizewinner (sponsored by PPARC): Dr Richard Townsend – Asteroseismology
Runner-up: Dr Coryn Bailer-Jones.


1996 Prizewinners:


RAS Blackwell Prizewinner: Dr Tim Horbury – 'Ulysses observations of magnetic field fluctuations in the heliosphere'
RAS Astronomy Prizewinner (sponsored by CUP/PPARC): Dr John Sleath – 'A new model of spiral galaxies based on propagating star formation'.
Runners-up: Dr Robert Fender, Dr Carole Mundell and Dr Steven Tobias.


1995 Prizewinners: 


RAS Astronomy Prizewinner (sponsored by CUP/PPARC): Dr Stephen Hancock – 'Detections of structure in the Cosmic Microwave Background'.



T. Henstock (Cambridge)


S. Russell (Open)


D. Stewart (Leeds)

'Geomagnetic Impulses and the Electrical Conductivity of the Lower Mantle'

Available at 


Summary of a meeting on Astronomy Research Projects for School and University Students (2000 August).