Dr David Forest BA, PhD

Dr David Forest

School of Physics and Astronomy
Senior Tutor

Contact details

School of Physics and Astronomy
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr David Forest is the Senior Tutor for the School of Physics and Astronomy, and Deputy Director of the Physics and Technology of Nuclear Reactors MSc course. 

Dr Forest is involved with research into fundamental properties of exotic nuclei such as their size, shape, spin and magnetic moments. This is achieved using high resolution laser spectroscopy to measure isotope shifts and hyperfine structures of radioactive nuclei. This work is carried out at the IGISOL facility in Jyväskylä, Finland and at the ISOLDE facility at CERN. Dr Forest has been a co-author on over 40 papers.


  • PhD in Nuclear Physics, University of Birmingham, 1999
  • BA in Physics, University of Oxford, 1994


David Forest qualified with a BA in Physics from the University of Oxford in 1994, and then went on to study for a PhD in experimental nuclear physics at the University of Birmingham, completing it in 1999.

Immediately after completing his PhD, David took up a postdoctoral research position in the Birmingham Nuclear Physics group, working in the same area as his PhD. He was involved in the first laser spectroscopy measurements of radioactive isotopes at the IGISOL facility at Jyväskylä, Finland. He was also part of the team that developed the bunched-beam method of laser spectroscopy, whereby an ion beam cooler accumulates ions for up to several hundred milliseconds and then releases the bunch in a few microseconds. This condensed time structure allows for an improvement in signal to noise of several orders of magnitude, making it possible to carry out precision measurements on very low yields of exotic, short-lived nuclei. This technique was developed at Jyväskylä and is now also used regularly at the ISOLDE facility at CERN.

Dr Forest lectures on topics such as Radiation Protection, Radiation Shielding and Environmental Impact of Nuclear Power for the Physics and Technology of Nuclear Power MSc course. He took over the role of Senior Tutor for the School of Physics and Astronomy in July 2017.


  • MSc and Y3 Radiation Protection
  • MSc and Y3 Radiation Shielding (1/2 the course)
  • MSc Environmental Impact of Nuclear Power
  • MSc Fortran
  • MSc Nuclear Laboratory
  • MSc Radiation Transport (NTEC)
  • MSc Tutorials
  • Y4 Project Supervision
  • Y2 Nuclear Engineering tutorials
  • Y1 Experimental Statistics

Postgraduate supervision

Supervision of Master’s summer projects related to nuclear power.


  • Laser spectroscopy of radioactive nuclei
  • Nuclear structure
  • Evolution of magic numbers away from stability
  • Nuclear deformation


  • Forest, D.H. et al. (2014), High resolution laser spectroscopy of naturally occurring ruthenium isotopes, J. Phys. G, 41:025106
  • Forest, D.H. and Cheal, B. (2014), Physics highlights from laser spectroscopy at the IGISOL, Hyperfine Interactions, 223:207:222
  • Cheal, B. et al. (2010), Nuclear Spins and Moments of Ga Isotopes Reveal Sudden Structural Changes between N=40 and N=50, Phys. Rev. Lett., 104:252502
  • Flanagan, K.T. et al. (2009), Nuclear Spins and Magnetic Moments of Cu-71, Cu-73, Cu-75: Inversion of  2p(3/2) and  1f(5/2) Levels in Cu-75, Phys. Rev. Lett., 103:142501
  • Mane, E. et al. (2009), An ion cooler-buncher for high-sensitivity collinear laser spectroscopy at ISOLDE, Eur. Phys. J., 42:503-507
  • Cheal, B. et al. (2009), Laser Spectroscopy of Niobium Fission Fragments: First Use of Optical Pumping in an Ion Beam Cooler Buncher, Phys. Rev. Lett., 102:222501
  • Campbell, P. et al. (2002), Laser spectroscopy of cooled
  • zirconium fission fragments, Phys. Rev. Lett., 89:082501
  • Nieminen, A. et al. (2002), On-line ion cooling and bunching for collinear laser spectroscopy, Phys. Rev. Lett., 88:094801
  • Levins, J.M.G. et al. (1999), First on-line laser spectroscopy of radioisotopes of a refractory element, Phys. Rev. Lett., 82:2476-2479

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