Atomic, molecular, optics and quantum technologies

Thomas Young Medal and Prize

History
This award was originally "The Thomas Young Oration" of the Optical Society, instituted in 1907; it was to be 'on an optical subject'. After the Optical Society was amalgamated with The Physical Society of London in 1932 to become The Physical Society, the Council of the latter society appointed the orator. The Council of the amalgamated Institute of Physics and The Physical Society in 1961 changed the award to a medal and prize.

The physicist behind the medal
Thomas Young was an English polymath noted for having established the wave theory of light via his famous double-slit experiment, and for what is now known as Young’s modulus, which relates the stress in a body to its associated strain.

He also made contributions to the theory of colour vision, first coming up with the hypothesis that our perception of colour depends on three kinds of receptors sensitive to different wavelengths of light, and to the understanding of surface tension.

Outside of mathematics and physics he also made important contributions to medicine and to the deciphering of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Terms
The award shall be made for distinguished contributions to optics, including work related to physics outside the visible region. The medal will be silver and will be accompanied by a prize of £1,000 and a certificate.

Thomas Young medal recipients

Joseph Thomson Medal and Prize

History
In 2008 Council decided to establish the Edward Appleton Medal and Prize. This award had originally been known as the Chree Medal and Prize, which was instituted in 1939 as a memorial to Dr Charles Chree (President of The Physical Society 1908-1910). From 1941 to 1999 the award was made in alternate years, from 2001 it was awarded annually and from 2009 in even-dated years until 2017.

The physicist behind the medal
Sir Edward Appleton was an English physicist and radio pioneer who was awarded the 1924 Nobel Prize in Physics for work that proved the existence of the Earth’s ionosphere. His observation that the strength of a radio signal was constant during the day but varied at night had led him to believe that two signals were being received – one along the ground and another reflected off the atmosphere, and he confirmed this in experiments involving measuring variation in radio waves at sunset. Appleton was a fellow of the Royal Society and a winner of its Royal Medal and Hughes Medal, as well as the Royal Society of Arts’ Albert Medal, the IET’s Faraday Medal, the IEEE’s Medal of Honour and the Chree Medal and Prize of the Institute of Physics. – which was renamed the Appleton Medal in his honour in 2008.

Terms
The award shall be made for distinguished contributions to environmental, earth or atmospheric physics. The medal will be silver and will be accompanied by a prize of £1,000 and a certificate.

Joseph Thomson medal recipients