Jocelyn Bell Burnell Medal and Prize

This award has been established since 2007 as the Women in Physics Group award and was originally known as the Very Early Career Female Physicist Award. In 2016 Council incorporated the award into the IOP Science Awards programme and subsequently renamed it the Jocelyn Bell Burnell Medal and Prize.

Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell is a Northern Irish astrophysicist who, as a PhD student at the University of Cambridge in 1969 was involved in opening up a new branch of astrophysics through her involvement in the discovery of pulsars. She is a well-known figure in the world of public understanding of science, and was patron of the IOP’s Einstein Year programme. In 2010, Bell Burnell was awarded the Royal Society Michael Faraday prize for excellence in communicating science. Jocelyn has served on many boards and panels throughout Europe, including serving as president of both the Royal Astronomical Society and of the Institute of Physics.


The award shall be made to a woman who is within five years of the award of her first degree in physics (Bachelor’s or Master’s), not including career breaks, and is either working as a physicist or engaged in postgraduate study in physics, in recognition of a substantial contribution to physics and work to support and encourage others in the field.

Nominations will be assessed by the Women in Physics Group Advisory Panel with the decision being ratified by the Awards Committee. The medal will be bronze and will be accompanied by a prize of £1,000 and a certificate.