2015 Best Physics Doctoral Dissertation and Lecturer of the Year prizes awarded


The awards for doctoral dissertations are granted in recognition of research. This year a Lecturer of the Year prize was awarded for the first time.

Tuomas Viitanen, Emmi Ruokokoski and Matti Manninen were awarded the 2015 Best Physics Doctoral Dissertation from the Department of Physics in a ceremony held on 15 December 2015 at Aalto’s Otaniemi campus. All three gave short presentations on their theses. This year, a new Lecturer of the Year prize was awarded for the first time, and it was granted to Jami Kinnunen.


Jami Kinnunen was awarded as The Lecturer of the Year.

The annual awards for doctoral dissertations are granted in recognition of outstanding excellence in doctoral research. The dissertations were selected by a nominated professor, this year by Professor Christian Flindt. The annual prize awarded for the acknowledgement of esteemed teaching in physics was newly established in 2015 by the Department of Applied Physics. The awardee was selected by a committee consisting of professor, lecturer and student representatives and with the support of the Guild of Physics. Each of the prizes amount to €3,000.


From left to right: Matti Manninen, Emmi Ruokokoski, Tuomas Viitanen.

In Viitanen’s thesis "Development of a stochastic temperature treatment technique for Monte Carlo neutron tracking", he developed a method for taking the effects of thermal motion into account on-the-fly during Monte Carlo neutron tracking. The method significantly facilitates the modelling of temperature distributions and consequently reduces temperature-related uncertainties in reactor physics analysis.

Viitanen’s thesis was supervised by  Adjunct Professor Jaakko Leppänen from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The Director of Aalto Nuclear Safety Program, Professor Filip Tuomisto, acted as the thesis supervisor at Aalto.

In Ruokokoski’s work, "Magnetic-Monopole Analogues and Topological Textures in Dilute Bose–Einstein Condensates", she studied the creation, stability and dynamics of different textures by numerically solving the gas dynamics using parameters received from an experimental group at Amherst College in the United States. The research group created and detected topological point-like defects that are equivalent to Dirac's monopole and to 't Hooft–Polyakov monopole. The discovery shows that the quantum-mechanical monopole defect can exist in nature and therefore consolidates the belief in the existence of a magnetic monopole.

Ruokokoski’s PhD was instructed by Academy Research Fellow and ERC grantee Dr. Mikko Möttönen, and supervised by Academician Risto Nieminen.

In his dissertation "Oscillations on helium surfaces”, Manninen studied surface waves in superfluid helium. In addition, helium mixtures and compressed helium crystals were examined. The  studies of this extremely ideal continuous media contribute to the understanding of quantum phenomena in superfluids.

Manninen’s thesis was instructed in the µKI group by Doc. Juha Tuoriniemi and was supervised by Professor Pertti Hakonen.

For more information

Department of Applied Physics: http://physics.aalto.fi/

Centre of Excellence in Low Temperature Quantum Phenomena and Devices, LTQ: http://ltq.aalto.fi/

Centre of Excellence in Computational Nanoscience, COMP: http://comp.aalto.fi

VTT Technical Research Centre: http://www.vttresearch.com/

To learn more about the research groups described here:

Antimatter and Nuclear Engineering: http://physics.aalto.fi/antimatter/

Quantum Computing and Devices: http://physics.aalto.fi/qcd/

µKI: http://physics.aalto.fi/ukl/