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Bronze Early Career Medals and Prizes

We award our Bronze Early Career Medals and Prizes each year to exceptional physicists in the early stages of their careers.

Nominations for the 2024 Bronze Early Career Medals and Prizes are now closed. Nominations for the 2025 cycle of IOP Medals and Prizes are scheduled to open towards the end of 2024. Further information will be provided in due course.

 

 


We define early career as meaning someone who is, as of 15 January 2024 and allowing for career breaks:

  • within six years of your PhD graduation date
  • within ten years of first beginning work in the research and/or application of physics, if you don’t have a PhD.

We welcome nominees who have made contributions to:

  1. theoretical physics (including mathematical and computational physics
  2. experimental physics
  3. the application of physics in an industrial or commercial context
  4. physics and you are a woman in the early stages of your career
  5. physics education
  6. public engagement in physics.

Eligibility

  • Nominees should be based in the UK or Ireland and if based internationally, should have made a substantial contribution to the development or reputation of physics in the UK or Ireland.
  • Nominees, nominators and external validators do not need to be members of the IOP. 
  • Nominees, nominators and external validators cannot be current members of Council, IOP employees, people under contract to the IOP, the Awards Committee, or members of any other IOP Awards judging panel.

Nomination process

Nominations for the 2024 Medals and Prizes are now closed. Please email [email protected] if you have any questions about the awards or your submission. The 2025 IOP Medals and Prizes will call for nominations towards the end of 2024.

The following information is provided for reference:

  • You can nominate yourself or someone else for this Award. All nominations will be judged in the same way regardless of the method of nomination.  
  • If you are nominating someone else, you should inform the nominee as you will need to provide their contact details and they will be contacted following submission to complete an equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) monitoring form. 

Nominators must submit:

  • Details of the nominee  
  • Short citation (up to 30 words) 
  • Long citation (up to 400 words) 
  • A CV (up to 1,000 words)  
  • Contact details for one external validator to validate the nomination. For Gold and Silver Medals and Prizes they must, at the minimum, be of the same seniority level as the nominee. For Bronze Medals and Prizes, the validator must be at a higher seniority level than the nominee.

You can find more information on the nominations process in our FAQs and application guidance

Please email [email protected] if you have any questions about the awards or your submission.

External validator

We no longer require references to be submitted for Medals and Prizes. Nominators will now be required to seek the support of an independent expert to validate the information in the nomination. 

You can find out more information on external validators in our FAQs and application guidance

James Clerk Maxwell Medal and Prize

For exceptional early-career contributions to theoretical (including mathematical and computational) physics 

About James Clerk Maxwell

James Clerk Maxwell was a Scottish mathematical physicist best known for his unification of electricity, magnetism and light into the single phenomenon of electromagnetism – one of the first such unifications in physics.

Maxwell and Ludwig Boltzmann devised an equation describing the probability distribution of speeds in an idealised gas – the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution.

Maxwell also worked on colour perception and applied his theory to pioneering colour photography. He lends his name to, among others, a compound-derived unit of magnetic flux and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope.

This medal comes with a prize of £1,000 and a certificate.

Find out about James Clerk Maxwell Medal and Prize recipients

Henry Moseley Medal and Prize

For exceptional early-career contributions to experimental physics

About Henry Moseley

Henry Moseley was an English experimental physicist who went to the University of Oxford in 1906. After graduation, he became an assistant to Sir Ernest Rutherford at the University of Manchester. Shortly after, through experimenting with radioactive beta particles, he invented the first atomic battery.

In 1914, Moseley resigned from the University of Manchester and turned down a job at Oxford to enlist in the Royal Engineers of the British Army. Moseley was killed during the Battle of Gallipoli on 10 August 1915, at the age of 27.

After his death, the British government no longer allowed prominent scientists to serve in combat. Had he not died, it is speculated that he would have received the 1916 Nobel Prize in Physics.

This medal comes with a prize of £1,000 and a certificate.

Find out about Henry Moseley Medal and Prize recipients

Clifford Paterson Medal and Prize

For exceptional early-career contributions to the application of physics in an industrial or commercial context in large and SME businesses

About Clifford Paterson

Clifford Paterson was an English scientist and electrical engineer. He spent the first part of his career from 1901 to 1918 at the National Physical Laboratory as principal assistant.

In 1919, he joined the General Electric Company to found, organise and, for nearly 30 years, direct the company's research laboratories. In 1941, Paterson was made a director of the General Electric Company and five years later he received a knighthood.

He was also deeply involved in creating a national framework for science and engineering. Paterson served as president of the Institute of Physics from 1937 to 1939.

This medal comes with a prize of £1,000 and a certificate.

Find out about Clifford Paterson Medal and Prize recipients

Jocelyn Bell Burnell Medal and Prize

For exceptional early-career contributions to physics by a very early career female physicist

About Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell famously discovered the first four pulsars – one of the constituent discoveries that led to the award of the Nobel Prize in Physics to Martin Ryle and Antony Hewish in 1974. It was very much as a result of her persistence that these exotic and unexpected objects were first recognised.

She was one of a group of senior women scientists whose efforts led to the creation of the Athena SWAN awards, recognising a commitment to advancing the careers of women in science. Bell Burnell served as presidents of the Royal Astronomical Society, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Institute of Physics.

Nominees for the award must:

  • be women
  • have completed their first undergraduate (bachelor’s or master’s) degree in physics less than five years ago (not including career breaks)
  • be making a substantial contribution to physics
  • be working to support and encourage others in the field
  • be working in a physics based role e.g. researcher, graduate trainee or teacher or engaged in postgraduate study in physics

We consider nominees with non-UK degrees on a case by case basis.

This medal comes with a prize of £1,000 and a certificate.

Find out about Jocelyn Bell Burnell Medal and Prize recipients

Daphne Jackson Medal and Prize

For exceptional early career contributions to physics education

Previous medal winners have had significant impact on one or more of the following:

  • the development of teachers
  • teaching materials
  • curriculum projects
  • the assessment process
  • research in physics education
  • diversity in physics education

About Daphne Jackson

Daphne Jackson became Britain’s first female professor of physics in 1971 when she was appointed by Surrey University at the age of 34, and later rose to be the dean.

She was president of the Women’s Engineering Society and vice-president of the Institute of Physics, after being its youngest ever fellow.

She introduced the returner’s fellowships for women having difficulty returning to science after a career break.

After Daphne Jackson died, the returner’s fellowships were named after her. The fellowships are a way to retrain and support women after what may be long breaks. Recipients will have had a career break of two years or more for family, caring or health reasons. Many women have benefitted.

This medal comes with a prize of £1,000 and a certificate.

Find out about Daphne Jackson Medal and Prize recipients

Learn more about returner’s fellowships at the Daphne Jackson Trust.

Mary Somerville Medal and Prize

For exceptional early career contributions to public engagement in physics

About Mary Somerville

Mary Somerville was a Scottish science writer and polymath. She studied mathematics and astronomy. She and Caroline Herschel were jointly nominated as the first women members of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Somerville published her first paper, The Magnetic Properties of the Violet Rays of the Solar Spectrum, in the Proceedings of the Royal Society in 1826.

Her other work, On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences, is one of the biggest-selling science books of the 19th century and was commonly used as a textbook until the early 20th century.

This medal comes with a prize of £1,000 and a certificate.

Find out about Mary Somerville Medal and Prize recipients

Find out about our other awards