Simon is a long-time member of the High Power Laser (HPL) community and is internationally known for his incredible research into novel waveguides, which are capable of guiding relativistically intense laser pulses.
Over the years, he has been a prolific user and collaborator of Gemini, using its experimental areas for some of the seminal research in this field, including his latest work on multi-pulse laser-driven plasma accelerators. Until recently, he was the chair of the UK's Plasma Wakefield Accelerator Steering Committee.
Simon's significant contributions to the HPL community have aided many laser facilities, including the Central Laser Facility (CLF), in the field of laser acceleration and plasma waveguides.
One of the key reasons for his Award is his invention of the gas-filled capillary discharge waveguide. A major piece of research into this was performed using the CLF's Astra laser in early 2000s, which led to the experiments that showed the first ever GeV electrons produced by a laser (at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory). This has since paved the way for experiments which have produced multiple GeVs of electrons, making laser Wakefield electron accelerators viable competitors to traditional synchrotrons.
This novel approach to acceleration has some particularly exciting potential applications such as expanding the horizons of high-field QED science, to the production of relatively cheap, room-sized laser accelerators for hospital-based diagnostic imaging.
Additionally, Simon has worked with the CLF for a number of years as a member of our HPL Facility Access Panel (FAP), where he has helped to identify and grant access for Vulcan and Gemini laser proposals ranging from laser-driven acceleration, to bio-imaging, to laboratory astrophysics.
We would like to thank Professor Hooker for contributing his enthusiasm and wealth of knowledge to the HPL community, helping to shape it into what it is today.
IOP President, Jonathan Flint said:
“Congratulations to all the winners of this year's IOP Awards, which recognise and reward excellence in individuals and teams and their contribution to physics. We're delighted to celebrate the winners' extraordinary achievements."
For more about the work that led Professor Simon Hooker's Medal and Prize, be sure to read the IOP article.