Early career woman award for Southampton physicist

19 October 2012

A University of Southampton physicist has been named 2012’s Very Early Career Woman Award Winner.

Kate receiving the award

Kate Sloyan, an EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellow in the Optoelectronics Research Centre, was given the honour at a ceremony in London on Wednesday 17 October.

The Institute of Physics (IOP)’s Very Early Career Woman Physicist of the Year Award, sponsored by Shell, is a celebration of the achievements of female physicists at a very early stage in their physics careers.

The judging panel, which chose between four short-listed candidates to award the £1,000 prize, singled Kate out for her excellent scientific track record and her initiatives for enthusing others, particularly female students and school children, to enjoy science as much as she does.

Kate said, “I am absolutely delighted and honoured to receive this award.  It is recognition for all the hard work I have put in and all the support and encouragement I have been given by my supervisors.”

Professor Paul Hardaker, Chief Executive at IOP, added, "This year’s award was particularly competitive so Kate can be a very proud winner.  It is very inspirational to other early career physicists to see Kate already achieving so much at the beginning of a career, with, I’m certain, greater things to follow."

Each of the shortlisted candidates gave a talk on their research.  Claire Burke, a PhD student from Liverpool John Moores University spoke on understanding the origins of structure in the universe using galaxy clusters; Chiara Mingarelli, a PhD student at the University of Birmingham, spoke on her research in the field of gravitational waves; and, Hayley Smith, an accelerator physicist at ISIS, described her work on the upgrade to a higher intensity beam.

Sloyan won the competition, however, with description of her work on thin film deposition using layers and how this provides a versatile and quick method for creating materials with specific properties that can be used in a wide range of applications.

The Award also recognises her outreach efforts which include involvement in the ORC’s Lightwave Roadshow, campus outreach days and the IONS student conferences, for which she has raised significant funds from industrial supporters.