Professor Carl Wheldon CPhys, MinstP, Ph.D, BSc

Professor Carl Wheldon

School of Physics and Astronomy
Professor of Nuclear Physics

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Carl Wheldon is a Professor of Nuclear Physics in the Nuclear Physics Group at Birmingham and a Humboldtian.

Most of Carl's research explores light nuclei, with a particular interest being particle-gamma studies and spectrometer experiments. Currently, much of his research is based at the Birmingham MC40 cyclotron for which he has recently won a grant for constructing an array of lanthanum-bromide detectors.

Carl has previously worked on metastable nuclear states, predominantly in rare-earth nuclei and this has evolved into a research theme on waiting points in slow- and rapid-neutron-capture-process nuclei.

During the year, Carl contributes to various practical outreach activities giving school children the chance to try experiments in the laboratory and leading a course for Ph.D students to have the opportunity for hand-on studies at the Birmingham cyclotron.


– Foundation of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (FLTHE, 2013) – distinction
– Associate member of the HEA (2014).
– Charted Physicist awarded by the Institute of Physics.
– Member of the Institute of Physics.
– Ph.D in experimental nuclear physics, University of Surrey (1999).
– BSc. with honours (1st Class) in Physics (1996), University of Newcastle upon Tyne.


After graduating from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne with a BSc. (Hons – 1st class) in 1996, Carl won a scholarship to study experimental nuclear physics at the University of Surrey, specialising in K-isomers, a particular class of metastable nuclear states, and gained his Ph.D in 1999.

Post-doctoral research at the Universities of Surrey and Liverpool in the UK followed, during which time Carl met his future wife, Dr. Tzany Kokalova, at that time working in Berlin on the subject of light cluster nuclei. Subsequently, Carl moved to GSI, Darmstadt, Germany to work on the RISING set-up for investigating exotic nuclei produced in relativistic fragmentation. After a move to the Hahn-Meitner-Institute in Berlin at the end of 2003 to marry his then fiancée, Carl was awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, 2004-2006, to explore extreme deformations of nuclear matter with the technique of particle-gamma coincidences. His research continued in Berlin until, in 2007, following the birth of his twin boys, Carl was awarded an STFC Advanced Fellowship to work at the University of Birmingham on high-resolution particle spectroscopy – the experimental work being carried out at the Maier Leibnitz Laboratory, Munich, Germany. In 2012 Carl was appointed Lecturer in Nuclear Physics at Birmingham and began building up a research set-up at the Birmingham MC40 cyclotron.

Carl is the recipient of several research grants, has served as the honorary secretary of the Nuclear Physics Group Committee of the Institute of Physics (2008-2014) and is currently Nuclear Liaison for the University of Birmingham to the NEA, Paris. During 2016 he is hosting an EU-funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow, Dr. Domenico Torresi, to advance the technique of resonant scattering.
Carl undertakes a wide variety of teaching across three-years.

Carl grew up in rural North Yorkshire where his passion for physics, mountain biking, nature and breath-taking scenery were forged.


Carl currently teaches:

  • Ph.D supervision,
  • Mid-course assessor (Ph.D),
  • Reactor physics lectures on the PTNR MSc.,
  • Reactor physics lectures on the NTEC programme.
  • PTNR MSc. project supervisor,
  • PTNR MSc. thesis assessment,
  • Fourth-year project supervisor,
  • Head of third-year nuclear laboratory,
  • Third-year pastoral tutor,
  • Second-year tutor,
  • Chair of nuclear vetting group,
  • Director of the 'Hands-on experiments at the Birmingham cyclotron' intensive residential course as part of the UK nuclear physics graduate school.

Postgraduate supervision

– PTNR MSc. project supervision.
– Ph.D supervision.


  • Clustering in light nuclei.
  • Mirror symmetry in light nuclei.
  • Waiting points on s- and r-process paths.
  • Isomeric states.

Other activities

– Nuclear Liaison Officer to the NEA for the University of Birmingham.

– International journal referee.

– External Ph.D examiner.

– Material development for teaching module sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry.


Spectroscopy of 9B via high-resolution ejectile-tagged recoil break-up.

C. Wheldon, Tz. Kokalova, M. Freer, J. Walshe, R. Hertenberger, H.-F. Wirth, N.I. Ashwood, M. Barr, N. Curtis,

Th. Faestermann, R. Lutter, J.D. Malcolm and D.J. Mar´ın-L´ambarri,Phys. Rev. C 91 (2015) 024308, p1-6 (6 pages)

Shape evolution in the neutron-rich osmium isotopes: Prompt g-ray spectroscopy of 196Os.

P.R. John, V. Modamio, J.J. Valiente-Dob´on, D. Mengoni, S. Lunardi, T.R. Rodr´ıguez, D. Bazzacco, A. Gadea, C.Wheldon, T. Alexander, G. de Angelis, N. Ashwood, M. Barr, G. Benzoni, B. Birkenbach, P.G. Bizzeti, A.M. Bizzeti-Sona, S. Bottoni, M. Bowry, A. Bracco, F. Browne, M. Bunce, F. Camera, B. Cederwall, L. Corradi, F.C.L. Crespi, P. D´esesquelles, J. Eberth, E. Farnea, E. Fioretto, A.G¨orgen, A. Gottardo, J. Grebosz, L. Grente, H. Hess, A. Jungclaus,Tz. Kokalova, A. Korichi, W. Korten, A. Kus¸o˘glu, S. Lenzi, S. Leoni, J. Ljungvall, G. Maron, W. Meczynski, B. Melon, R. Menegazzo, C. Michelagnoli, T. Mijatovi ´c, B. Million, P. Molini, G. Montagnoli, D. Montanari, D.R. Napoli,P. Nolan, Ch. Oziol, Zs. Podoly´ak, G. Pollarolo, A. Pullia, B. Quintana, F. Recchia, P. Reiter, O.J. Roberts, D. Rosso, E.S¸ ahin, M.-D. Salsac, F. Scarlassara, M. Sferrazza, J. Simpson, P.-A. S¨oderstr ¨om, A.M. Stefanini, O. Stezowski,S. Szilner, Ch. Theisen, C.A. Ur and J. Walshe, Phys. Rev. C 90 (2014) 012301(R), p1-6 (6 pages. 

States at high excitation in 12C from the 12C(3He, 3He)3a reaction.

C. Wheldon, Tz. Kokalova, M. Freer, A. Glenn, D.J. Parker, T. Roberts and I. Walmsley,Phys. Rev. C 90 (2014) 014319, p1-6 (6 pages).

Evidence for triangular D3hsymmetry in 12C.

D.J. Mar´ın-L´ambarri, R. Bijker, M. Freer, M. Gai, Tz. Kokalova, D.J. Parker and C. Wheldon,Phys. Rev. Lett. 113 (2014) 012502, p1-5 (5 pages).

Absolute partial decay-branch measurements in 13C.

C. Wheldon, N.I. Ashwood, M. Barr, N. Curtis, M. Freer, Tz. Kokalova, J.D. Malcolm, V.A. Ziman, Th. Faestermann,H.-F. Wirth, R. Hertenberger and R. Lutter,Phys. Rev. C 86 (2012) 044328, p1-8 (8 pages).

High-resolution measurement of absolute a-decay widths in 16O.

C. Wheldon, N.I. Ashwood, M. Barr, N. Curtis, M. Freer, Tz. Kokalova, J.D. Malcolm, S.J. Spencer, V.A. Ziman,Th. Faestermann, R. Kr ¨ucken, H.-F. Wirth, R. Hertenberger, R. Lutter and A. Bergmaier,Phys. Rev. C 83 (2011) 064324, p1-7 (7 pages).

High-resolution particle-spectroscopy of 186Re.



C.Wheldon, N.I. Ashwood, N. Curtis, M. Freer, T. Munoz-Britton, V.A. Ziman, T. Faestermann, H.-F.Wirth, R. Hertenberger,R. Lutter, R. Gernh¨auser, R. Kr ¨ucken and L. Maier,J. Phys. G 36 (2009) 095102, p1-11 (11 pages).

Particle-g coincidences and coplanarity in the 32S + 24Mg binary reaction.

C. Wheldon, Tz. Kokalova, W. von Oertzen, B. Gebauer, H.G. Bohlen, Ch. Schulz, S. Thummerer, G. Efimov,C. Beck, D. Curien and P. Papka,Nucl. Phys. A 811 (2008) 276-290 (15 pages).

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