Swansea University has awarded an honorary degree to the esteemed scientist Dr Rhodri Jones in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field of physics and his remarkable achievements as Head of the Beams Department at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
In his role as Head of the Beams Department at CERN, Dr Jones is responsible for the operation of the CERN accelerator complex, the conception and design of future particle physics accelerators, accelerator control systems, and geodetic metrology and robotics for accelerator environments.
Although Dr Jones was born in Carmarthenshire, his early childhood was spent in the Netherlands, and at the age of eight, he moved to Cambridge. Nonetheless, he harbored a strong desire to live in Wales and attending university provided him with an opportunity to fulfill that wish.
In 1992, Dr Jones completed his undergraduate studies in Physics at the University of Wales, Swansea. Building on his academic achievements, he continued his studies at Swansea and pursued a PhD in Atomic and Laser Physics. Upon obtaining his doctorate, he embarked on a new chapter in 1996, joining CERN to contribute to the advancement of diagnostic systems for the renowned Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
Dr Jones has played a multifaceted role at CERN, including researching innovative techniques for particle beam characterization. Additionally, he was responsible for implementing and activating the beam position system for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a crucial distributed measurement system for effective control of the accelerated particle beams. From 2009 to 2020, he led the Beam Instrumentation Group at CERN, fostering collaboration in accelerator technology among European institutes and universities.
His engagement encompassed direct involvement and participation in European Union programs. In 2021, Dr Jones assumed the position of Beams Department Head. Furthermore, he has a longstanding involvement with the CERN Accelerator School, where he regularly delivers lectures and facilitates practical courses, contributing to the training of the upcoming generation of accelerator physicists and engineers.
While studying at Swansea, Dr Jones met his wife, Sharon, and together they have four daughters, all brought up through the medium of Welsh in France.
On receiving his honorary award, Dr Jones, said: “I am deeply honoured to receive this honorary degree from my alma mater, Swansea University. I would not be where I am today were it not for the solid base Swansea University and its physics department provided me during my undergraduate and postgraduate studies.
“The university has a long history of collaboration with the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) with many former students having conducted research there or taken up staff positions. This continues today with a strong Swansea presence on the CERN antimatter experiments and as part of the CERN management team.
“Having recently had the pleasure of welcoming the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Boyle, on a visit to CERN, I look forward to an invigorated effort to maintain the strong ties Swansea University has with the largest physics laboratory in the world, to ensure that we continue to benefit from the excellent graduates that it produces. To this end we are currently working on the details of a CERN-Swansea event to showcase our respective research and identify new areas of collaboration”.