Richard Ahlfeld, who is studying a PhD in the Department of Aeronautics, was named winner of the John & Frances Jones Prize for 2015-16 by the Old Centralians’ Trust, the Charitable Trust of the City & Guilds College Association (CGCA).
The award, which is named after the College’s first Registrar John Jones, recognises a postgraduate student who has made the best all-round contribution to College life, taking into account academic achievement, social involvement and extra-curricular activities over the academic year.
In a busy year, Richard undertook a two-month research post at the NASA Langley Research Center to develop structural health monitoring methods for NASA’s Space Launch System, which will carry humans to Mars in the mid-2030s.
He also authored five journal papers and three conference papers, one of which was a finalist for the Best Paper Award at ASME IGTI 2016.
Beyond his personal academic achievements, Richard has inspired his students to hand in more creative and bio-inspired designs for 3D printed wind turbines than in previous years. For this effort he won the Best Teaching Assistant Award in the Department of Aeronautics.
Richard is also an active participant in London’s start-up scene. He was one of five finalists in Imperial’s start-up accelerator programme the Venture Catalyst Challenge, and presented his idea at the showcase event to over 300 people.
Richard also co-founded UQuant, a College spin-off company that provides software solutions and consultancy services to quantify errors in complex physical simulations, and its codes are currently used by NASA and in Formula 1.
Richard becomes the third winner of the prize since it was re-launched in 2014 and will receive a cheque for £200 at the CGCA annual dinner in March.