Anne Pawsey wins Very Early Career Woman Physicist Award

18 October 2013

This year’s Very Early Career Woman Physicist Award has gone to Anne Pawsey, a soft matter physicist who has just finished a PhD with the University of Edinburgh. The award is organised by the IOP’s Women in Physics Group (WPG) and the £1,000 prize is sponsored by Shell.

Anne Pawsey wins Very Early Career Woman Physicist Award

The award is given for excellence in scientific work as well as in outreach to a woman who has gained her first degree in physics within the last five years and is an inspirational role model for women in physics. It was presented during a WPG event at the IOP’s London centre on 16 October, where Pawsey and the other three finalists gave presentations on their research and outreach work – one doing so by video, as she was at a climate conference in Africa.

Carol Thompson from Shell presented each finalist with a certificate and a copy of the book Out of the Shadows: contributions of 20th century women to physics. The runners-up were Alice Taylor, a DPhil student at the Clarendon Laboratory, University of Oxford; Stephanie Walton, a fourth-year PhD student at Imperial College, London; and Rachel White, a postdoc who is also at Imperial College London, who gave her presentation by video.

Pawsey undertook her PhD at the Scottish Doctoral Training Centre in Condensed Matter Physics (CM-DTC), where she was studying liquid crystals. Her presentation was about particles on liquid crystal interfaces, and her outreach activities. These included a programme that she started from scratch to communicate the research being undertaken at the CM-DTC, which culminated in a display at the National Museum of Scotland, links with schools, and a stand-up performance in Bright Club at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. She was also a POST Fellow from May to August this year, during which she wrote a briefing note for MPs and peers about autonomous vehicles.

The winning finalist was announced at the WPG event. Pawsey said afterwards: “I’m absolutely delighted and completely shocked; it’s amazing.”

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