Dr David Hosking

EPS recognition for Dr David Hosking

Astronomy and astrophysics
Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics

Department of Physics alumnus Dr David Hosking has been awarded the European Physical Society Plasma Physics Division’s PhD Research Award. The Plasma Physics Division of the EPS recognises up to four scientists for truly outstanding research achievements associated with their DPhil study in the field of plasma physics.

Dr Hosking's thesis, ‘The decay of MHD turbulence and the primordial origin of magnetic fields in cosmic voids’, proposes a theory of how chaotic magnetic fields in astrophysical environments decay when their source of energy is removed. The thesis introduces a new integral invariant, the 'Saffman helicity invariant', to express the conservation of the random magnetic helicity – a topological quantity related to linkages and twists of magnetic field lines – contained in large volumes of turbulence. The theory implies a slower decay of primordial magnetic fields in the early Universe than did previous models, suggesting consistency between the deduced strength of the modern-day relics of those fields with observational constraints on the magnetic fields in cosmic voids. The thesis also explores the role of so-called Saffman-like invariants in forced turbulence and considers the effect that tangled magnetic fields might have on the propagation of energy through their host media.

Dr Hosking studied for his DPhil in Astrophysics at Oxford under the supervision of Professors Alex Schekochihin and Steven Balbus. He now holds a postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton Center for Theoretical Science and a research fellowship at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge.

Previous winners of the award from the University of Oxford include: Dr Plamen Ivanov (2022), Dr Archie Bott (2020), Dr Justin Ball (2017) and Dr Edmund Highcock (2014).

Find out more about the EPS Plasma Physics Division PhD Research Award: