Roman Walczak

Senior Research Fellow; Associate Professor of Particle Physics,
Department of Physics

I arrived in the UK in 1993 to take my fellowship in Somerville and lectureship in the Physics Department. The UK is my fourth country after my native Poland, Switzerland and Germany where I lived and worked for many years; quite a long journey from state schools in Poland to Oxford. In 2019 I retired my Tutorial Fellowship to become a Senior Research Fellow.

Most of my research so far has been in experimental particle physics but in recent years I have been moving my main interests from particle to accelerator physics. In plasma (ionised gas, for example hydrogen), using a laser, one can move electrons away from ions creating a huge electric field; many orders of magnitude bigger then what one can get using current technology. Such a field can be used to accelerate particles and to build accelerators beyond the Large Hadron Collider era and beyond current X ray sources (synchrotron radiation), like Diamond near Oxford. Acceleration using plasma would move particle physics to a new territory and simultaneously would make tuneable wavelength, short pulse X ray sources affordable for Universities and hospitals.

My main expertise in particle physics is in the design of wire chambers and calorimeters and on physics beyond the Standard Model as well as on some aspects of Quantum Chromo Dynamics. I worked at the following accelerators: CERN: PS, ISR, SPS; and DESY: PETRA, HERA. At John Adams Institute for Accelerator Science at Oxford University, I am leading the Lasers for Accelerators (L4A) group.

Besides physics, I am working on a small family farm and I am a keen swimmer; I am holding one national swimming record in my age group.

My advice to my students: Only beginners compete. When you go to a higher level, your aim is quality.



The Dean is in charge of the non-academic discipline of our Junior Members and the College’s rules, which are set out in Somerville’s College Handbooks. (Please see the Undergraduate-Postgraduate Student Handbook.)

Junior Members should feel free to approach the Dean on any appropriate matter, especially if it involves non-pastoral difficulties.

In exceptional circumstances, Junior Members may also be summoned to see the Dean and they are reminded that such summons take priority over any academic, sporting or social engagement.

Dean’s Hour in Hilary Term 2015 takes place on Wednesdays (13:00-14:00) in Vaughan SCR.

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