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2019 James Chadwick Medal and Prize

Professor Ian Shipsey for his elucidation of the physics of heavy quarks, the development of the enabling instrumentation, and leadership of scientific collaborations.


Professor Ian Shipsey.

Ian Shipsey is renowned for the elucidation of the physics of beauty and charm quarks. From 1986-2012 he was a leader of the pioneering twenty-institution CLEO experiments at the Cornell Electron Storage Ring (CESR).

In 2000, Shipsey played a crucial role in defining the physics programme, developing the detector design, and obtaining funding for CLEO-c/CESR-c. He was elected co-spokesperson three times. Built on time and on budget, CLEO-c pioneered new understandings of weak and strong interactions, verifying precision Lattice Quantum Chromodynamics (LQCD) calculations by measuring charm decay-constants and form-factors and determining the Cabibbo-Kobayashi-Maskawa matrix elements Vcs and Vcd with percent-level precision. Shipsey led two of the four CLEO-c flagship measurements. These verified LQCD calculations of beauty form-factors and decay-constants used to determine Vub, Vcb, Vts, and Vtd by BABAR/BELLE/LHCb/CDF/D0. Shipsey also discovered thirteen decay modes of the psi(2S).

Shipsey made leading contributions to the design, construction and commissioning of key CLEO instrumentation: the muon and silicon vertex detectors. He also made leading contributions to the measurements of Vcb and Vub, and beauty-meson rare decay searches. He invented analysis techniques that isolated charm-baryons, enabling new tests of theory, made first observations of numerous charm-decay processes, and discovered strange-beauty-meson production at the Y(5S).

A leader of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) from 2002 to 2015, as Quarkonia Convener he made the first LHC Upsilon cross-section measurement, an important test of non-perturbative QCD. He observed Upsilon suppression in heavy-ion collisions, a smoking-gun for the long-sought Quark-Gluon Plasma, and led one of two teams that observed strange-B-meson di-muon decay, a process highly sensitive to new physics. He made leading contributions to the Forward-Pixel detector construction, key for the Higgs discovery. He served as CMS Collaboration Board Chair in 2013.

As APS-DPF Chair he co-coordinated the US Community Particle-Physics strategic planning exercise ‘Snowmass-2013’. Now leading the Oxford ATLAS group, his research activity spans the Higgs boson and the Silicon Tracker upgrade. He is also principal investigator for the Quantum Sensors for Fundamental Physics consortium and a leader of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.

Read about our Silver Subject Medals.