IOP adds new medals to 2017 awards as call for nominations goes out

31 October 2016

The IOP has an increased portfolio of awards including five new medals to better reflect the breadth of endeavour across physics education, outreach, research and the application of physics in an industrial context, and the call for award nominations is now open.

IOP adds new medals to 2017 awards as call for nominations goes out

The IOP has introduced the new awards for 2017 in the light of the growth of new and emerging disciplines and to reflect the physics community as it is today. The gold, subject and early career medal categories are now referred to as gold, silver and bronze to reinforce the imagery and prestige of the Institute’s medals.

The former Swan Medal and Prize, for industrial or commercial applications of physics, has been renamed the Katharine Burr Blodgett Medal and Prize, in honour of the award-winning research scientist who in 1926 was the first woman to gain a PhD in physics from the University of Cambridge and who went on to create several inventions including “invisible” glass.

Previously the Institute had two medals for education and outreach: the Bragg Medal and Prize for physics education and widening participation and the Kelvin Medal and Prize for public engagement. These are now gold medals, while new silver and bronze education and outreach medals have been introduced to enable the community to more effectively recognise important contributions in these areas.

The new silver medals for education and outreach are named in honour of Marie Curie-Sklodowska and Lise Meitner respectively. The new bronze medals in these areas are named in honour of Daphne Jackson and Mary Somerville. One silver and one bronze award will be given each year to the strongest nomination in the education and outreach fields.

IOP adds new medals to 2017 awards as call for nominations goes out

All of the Institute’s subject-based silver medals are now open to nominations every year, whereas previously half were open to nominations only in odd years and half only in even years, so there will now be nine silver medals awarded each year rather than six or seven. Nominations will be sought under broader categories than previously and the strongest nomination in each category will be awarded the appropriate medal.

For example, the Institute will seek nominations for the Rutherford Medal and Prize and the Chadwick Medal and Prize under the broader category of “nuclear and particle physics”. If the strongest nomination is in the field of nuclear physics, the winner will be awarded the Rutherford Medal and Prize for distinguished contributions to nuclear physics. Alternatively, if the strongest nomination is in the field of particle physics, the winner will be awarded the Chadwick Medal and Prize for distinguished contributions to particle physics.

While nominations are sought under broader categories, the terms of all the Institute’s well-established subject-based silver medals remain unchanged.

Among the silver medals, the Sam Edwards Medal and Prize has been introduced for distinguished contributions to soft matter physics. It is named in honour of Professor Sir Sam Edwards, Cavendish Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Cambridge, who died last year. As well as honouring his legacy, it is intended to recognise a dynamic, highly-productive area in UK physics.

IOP adds new medals to 2017 awards as call for nominations goes out

The IOP’s head of science and innovation, Anne Crean, said: “The Institute’s awards are highly significant because they build and reinforce a sense of community, and it’s vital that they reflect the physics landscape as it is today, by being inclusive and recognising its rich diversity.

“All of the Institute’s medals are highly prestigious and, to recognise that, they are presented at our annual Awards Dinner, when the community comes together for an evening event to network and to celebrate the winners.

“Last year we were delighted not only by the number of nominations but also by the remarkable quality of nominees. We had nominations from institutions that had not made them in the past and there was a greater diversity and geographical spread in those put forward for awards. We want to build on that this year and we are actively going out to heads of physics departments and regional institutes, as well as working closely with the IOP's Special Interest Groups, to find this year’s award-winners.”

The Institute’s medals are crafted by the Royal Mint and Fattorini. The gold, silver and bronze medals are approximately 7 cm in diameter and bear the names and portraits of the physicists that they are named after on the front face and on the back face depict an equation or diagram relating to their work. Medal winners have their names etched on the medal edge, with the year of the award.

Nominations for the 2017 awards opened on 10 October and the deadline is 31 January 2017. For more information about the new awards or to make a nomination online, visit here, or email if you have any queries.

IOP adds new medals to 2017 awards as call for nominations goes out