2021 IOP Award winners

Introducing the winners of the 2021 Institute of Physics Awards.

Isaac Newton Medal and Prize

The Isaac Newton Medal and Prize is for world-leading contributions to physics by an individual of any nationality.

2021 Isaac Newton Medal and Prize winner

  • Professor David Deutsch receives the medal and prize for founding the discipline named quantum computation and establishing quantum computation's fundamental idea, now known as the ‘qubit’ or quantum bit. 

Gold Medals

Our six Gold Medals recognise outstanding and sustained contributions by physicists of international renown to a wide range of physics.

2021 Gold Medal winners

  • Professor Steven Balbus receives the Paul Dirac Medal and Prize for fundamental contributions to the theory of accretion-disc turbulence and the dynamical stability of astrophysical fluids, breaking new ground by establishing the critical role played by weak magnetic fields.
  • Professor Ian Chapman receives the Richard Glazebrook Medal and Prize for outstanding leadership of the UK Atomic Energy Authority and the world’s foremost fusion research and technology facility, the Joint European Torus, and the progress it has delivered in plasma physics, deuterium-tritium experiments, robotics, and new materials.
  • Brian Corbett receives the Katharine Burr Blodgett Medal and Prize for serial identification and creation of breakthrough innovative photonic device technology solutions that have driven the development and growth of several startups, and major innovations by multinational corporations. 
  • Dr Robert P Crease receives the William Thomson, Lord Kelvin Medal and Prize for 21 years writing Physics World’s outstanding Critical Point column, describing key humanities concepts for scientists, and explaining the significance of key scientific ideas for humanities scholars.
  • Dr Bucker Dangor receives the Michael Faraday Medal and Prize for outstanding contributions to experimental plasma physics, and in particular for his role in the development of the field of laser-plasma acceleration.

Silver Subject Medals

Our Silver Subject Medals are awarded annually to recognise and reward distinguished contributions to physics.

2021 Silver Subject Medal winners

  • Professor Polina Bayvel receives the Thomas Young Medal and Prize for distinguished contributions to the development of optical communications and the understanding of the physics and mitigation of nonlinear phenomena in optical-fibre transmission.
  • Professor Michael A Bentley receives the Ernest Rutherford Medal and Prize for distinguished contribution to the understanding of fundamental symmetries in atomic nuclei and their relation to the underlying interaction between nucleons. 
  • Professor Leigh Canham receives the David Tabor Medal and Prize for founding the field of nanostructured silicon, discovering and correctly attributing its efficient luminescence to quantum confinement effects, and for uncovering the remarkable biological properties of nanostructured silicon and demonstrating their applications.
  • Professor Roger L Davies receives the Fred Hoyle Medal and Prize for seminal contributions to understanding the nature and evolution of early-type galaxies and developing their use as cosmological probes.
  • Professor Carla Figueira De Morisson Faria receives the Joseph Thomson Medal and Prize for distinguished contributions to the theory of strong-field laser-matter interactions, particularly the development of semi-analytical models bringing together attoscience and mathematical physics that provide vital tools to the physics community.
  • Professor Jerome P Gauntlett receives the John William Strutt, Lord Rayleigh Medal and Prize for distinguished contributions to our understanding of string theory and its application to quantum field theory, black holes, condensed matter physics and geometry. 
  • Dr Judith Hillier receives the Marie Curie-Sklodowska Medal and Prize for significant contribution to the support of women in physics through her work with the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics, and to the education of teachers of physics.
  • Professor Brian F Hutton receives the Peter Mansfield Medal and Prize for distinguished contributions to the field of nuclear medicine, specifically in single-photon emission computed tomography quantification, image reconstruction and multimodality imaging, as well as for providing training in the field around the globe.
  • Professor Mark Lancaster receives the James Chadwick Medal and Prize for distinguished, precise measurements in particle physics, particularly of the W boson mass and the muon’s anomalous magnetic moment. 
  • Professor Mihalis Mathioudakis receives the Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin Medal and Prize for pioneering contributions to the development of high-cadence, large-format cameras for next-generation astrophysical telescopes and their application to dynamic imaging of the Sun’s tenuous atmosphere.
  • Professor Raman Prinja receives the Lise Meitner Medal and Prize for distinguished long-term contributions to engage and inspire children in physics, including his highly motivating range of books, public lectures and interactive science events for young people.
  • Professor Philip Stier receives the Edward Appleton Medal and Prize for pioneering research on the role of clouds and aerosols and their interactions in the climate system, through an innovative combination of models, observations and theory.
  • Athanasia Tzelepi receives the Dennis Gabor Medal and Prize for significant and sustained contributions to the management of graphite in nuclear reactors, providing key technical expertise and advice supporting continued operation and decommissioning of the UK reactor fleet.
  • Professor Frank Vollmer receives the Rosalind Franklin Medal and Prize for distinguished contributions to biosensing with optical microcavities. The single-molecule technique enables ground-breaking advances in how we use light to study biomolecules and their biochemical reactions.
  • Professor Richard J Warburton receives the Nevill Mott Medal and Prize for pioneering work in semiconductor quantum dots and solid-state quantum optics, especially the invention and application of Coulomb blockade devices to create coherent spin-photon interfaces and quantum light sources. 
  • Professor Julia M Yeomans receives the Sam Edwards Medal and Prize for developing mathematical models and numerical algorithms to increase our understanding of soft and active matter, statistical physics and biophysics. 
  • Professor Bajram Zeqiri receives the James Joule Medal and Prize for distinguished contributions to the development of acoustic measurement techniques and sensors; in particular, underpinning the provision of international standards enabling the safe clinical application of medical ultrasound.

Bronze Early Career Medals

Our Bronze Early Career medals are for exceptional physicists in the early stages of their careers.

2021 Bronze Early Career Medal winners

  • Dr Rebecca Bowler receives the Henry Moseley Medal and Prize for exceptional contributions to the observational study of the first galaxies in the universe, where she has provided the benchmark for future studies with new facilities.
  • Dr Chris S Edmonds receives the Daphne Jackson Medal and Prize for exceptional contributions to physics education, by improving access for the visually impaired, enhancing teacher training and creating award-winning teaching material. 
  • Dr Ying Lia Li receives the Clifford Paterson Medal and Prize for developing her pioneering quantum sensing research into an inertial sensor startup to commercialise breakthrough optomechanical accelerometers, and for her drive to build a better and more supportive research community.
  • Dr XinRan Liu receives the Mary Somerville Medal and Prize for exceptional contributions to public engagement in the field of particle physics, and for promoting leading UK research and innovation to both national and international audiences.
  • Dr Bartomeu Monserrat receives the James Clerk Maxwell Medal and Prize for exceptional contributions to the development of computational techniques that bring temperature to modern electronic structure methods, and their application to topological materials, photovoltaics, superconductors and planetary physics.
  • Sara Motaghian receives the Jocelyn Bell Burnell Medal and Prize for developing spectral mission software for ExoMars to expedite analysis and maximise scientific mission return, equity work leading Roving with Rosalind, and inspiring thousands of children with ExoMars.

Phillips Award

The Phillips Award rewards innovative ideas or activities that have made major contributions to the IOP's objectives, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

2021 Phillips Award winners

  • Heather M Beaumont for her exemplary leadership of the Nuclear Industry Group over the last five years and sustained collaboration with a number of international, national and regional Institute of Physics activities.
  • Dr Claire Davies for her unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion, and her pioneering work fostering and nurturing networks between LGBTQ+ physicists in academia and industry.
  • Professor Angela Newing for her many contributions to the Institute of Physics through her support of the South West Branch, her service on Council and its sub-committees, and her ongoing support of retired members through the retired members network.
  • Professor Michael E Ries for distinguished service to the Institute of Physics Yorkshire Branch, performing many outreach events inspiring countless children and adults alike with the magic, fun and wonder that he experiences through physics.

Teachers of Physics Award

The Teachers of Physics awards celebrate the success of secondary school physics teachers who have raised the profile of physics and science in schools.

2021 Teachers of Physics Award winners

  • Steve Dempsey wins for his outstanding teaching, exceptional care of pupils inside and outside the classroom, and exemplary work in the wider community.
  • Dr Steve Essex wins for his inspirational teaching, development of his department and his superlative support for staff across his academy trust and nationally.
  • Lawrence Herklots wins for his outstanding creativity and teaching skills, support for colleagues, and work in the wider community especially in the area of examinations.
  • Sarah Hookway wins for her passion for the subject, remarkable teaching skills, leadership, contributions to extracurricular activities and work in inclusion.
  • Edward Male wins for his inspirational and inventive teaching, noteworthy commitment to pupils inside and outside the classroom, and support for colleagues both in person and online.
  • Dr Isabelle Parkes wins for her outstanding teaching, her work on inclusion and support for schools across the region.
  • Tom Tierney wins for his exceptional teaching and care of pupils, his encouragement of extracurricular activities and support for colleagues locally and nationally.

Honorary Fellows

Our Honorary Fellowships acknowledge physicists who have contributed to physics generally or to the work of the IOP.

2021 Honorary Fellows

In 2021 Honorary Fellowships have been conferred upon:

  • Dr Arnab Basu for outstanding and ongoing contribution to business in the field of physics-based technological innovation, scientific advances of immeasurable significance, and commitment to the global advancement of security and our health.
  • Professor Daniela Bortoletto for her significant contributions to particle physics, her advisory role in the UK and internationally, and founding the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics series in the UK.
  • Paul Lawrence Brown for outstanding service to physics, leadership and innovation in the establishment of the mechanical instrumentation facility in physics at Imperial College London, which has underpinned diverse and internationally leading physics research programmes.
  • Professor Penny Endersby for outstanding leadership and contributions to weather and climate science and services, and significant achievements as a government scientist.
  • Professor Lyndon Rees Evans for sustained and distinguished contributions to, and leadership in, the design, construction and operation of particle accelerator systems, and in particular the Large Hadron Collider facility.
  • Professor Shlomo Havlin for being among the pioneers of the field of complex networks, and in particular the sub-field of interacting networks based on statistical physics and percolation theory.
  • Professor Jenny Nelson for the development of fundamental physical models, simulation tools and experiments to discover and exploit relationships between the performance of solar cell devices and properties of their constituent materials. 
  • Professor Tim Palmer for pioneering work exploring the nonlinear dynamics and predictability of the climate system and for developing ensemble prediction systems that quantify the flow-dependent uncertainty of weather and climate forecasts.

Technical Skills Awards

The Technical Skills Awards celebrate the contributions that Technicians and Apprentices make to physics, and recognise employers that demonstrate their commitment and contribution to scientific and engineering apprenticeship schemes.

2021 Technician Award winners

  • Phillip Clarke at the University of Manchester, Jodrell Bank Observatory, wins for his outstanding contribution to provision of world-class radio astronomy instrumentation at Jodrell Bank Observatory and the e-MERLIN National Facility for use by UK and international astronomers.
  • David Ferguson at Uppingham School wins for providing outstanding long-term support and assistance to teachers and peers in his role as a physics technician for over 20 years.
  • Andrew Goodwin at Sellafield Ltd wins for contributing over four decades to non-destructive analysis at Sellafield and developing gamma spectrometry for use on routine and emergency samples, ensuring safety of employees and the general public.
  • Joseph McCauley at the School of Physics, Trinity College Dublin wins for his outstanding technical leadership associated with the planning, construction and operation of the Irish Low Frequency Array radio telescope at Birr Castle.
  • Sample Environment Cryogenics Team, ISIS Neutron and Muon Source wins for providing exceptional ultra-low temperature and high magnetic field technical support, contributing to more than 500 neutron- and muon-scattering experiments annually at the Source.

2021 Apprentice Award winner

  • Lewis Liston of Leonardo UK wins for outstanding contribution and achievement in his apprenticeship journey and continued career development within industrial engineering, supporting Leonardo UK through varied and complex simulations and data analysis of production systems.

2021 Apprenticeship Employer Award winner

  • National Physical Laboratory wins for developing their award-winning apprentice programme which has inspired the next generation of scientists and engineers and enabled innovation to thrive by fostering energetic, passionate and talented young people.

Business Awards

The IOP Business Awards recognise the vital role physics and physicists play in our economy, creating jobs and growth by powering innovation to meet the challenges facing us today, ranging from climate change to better healthcare and food production.