Gold Medals

Our Gold Medals are awarded to physicists with international reputations who have made consistent contributions to physics. We award six medals each year. They form part of our large awards programme designed to encourage innovation, diversity and tenacity.


We welcome nominees who have made outstanding and sustained contributions to:

  1. theoretical physics (including mathematical and computational physics
  2. experimental physics
  3. leadership in a physics context
  4. the application of physics in an industrial or commercial context
  5. physics education
  6. public engagement in physics

Eligibility

  • Nominees should have made a substantial contribution to the development or reputation of physics in the UK or Ireland. 
  • Nominees, nominators and referees do not need to be members of the IOP. 
  • Nominees, nominators and referees 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

The 2021 IOP Awards have now closed for nominations. Further information will be provided on the 2022 IOP Awards in due course.

  • 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 optional 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 short biographical statement (up to 1,000 words) 
  • Supporting evidence (up to 400 words) 
  • Contact details for two referees and their supporting statements (up to 300 words each) 

References

  • Nominators will be required to seek the support of two referees outside of the nominees’ institution department. Referees will be well regarded in the appropriate field, familiar with the work in the citations and be able to comment on the significance of the contribution.  
  • Referees should provide a supporting statement of no more than 300 words to confirm the accuracy of and add detail to the citations provided. Nominators should share their short and long citations with their referees to support this.  
  • All supporting statements must be submitted with the overall nomination by the deadline date and referees will be contacted following submission for confirmation. 
  • For Gold Medals and Prizes, international referees are welcomed but not required. 
  • For Industrial Medals and Prizes (Katharine Burr Blodgett, Dennis Gabor and Clifford Paterson) referees can be from within the nominees’ institution department. 
Inscription on the medal reads: Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac

Paul Dirac Medal and Prize

For theoretical (including mathematical and computational) physics

About Paul Dirac

Paul Dirac was an English-Swiss theoretical physicist who made fundamental contributions to the development of quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics.

His eponymous equation describes the behaviour of fermions and predicted the existence of antimatter. Dirac shared the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics with Erwin Schrödinger for their work on quantum theory.

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

Find out about Paul Dirac Medal and Prize recipients

Inscription on the medal reads: Michael Faraday 1791 to 1867

Michael Faraday Medal and Prize

For experimental physics

About Michael Faraday

Michael Faraday was an English experimental scientist who made important discoveries in electromagnetism including:

  • establishing the concept of the magnetic field
  • discovering the law of electromagnetic induction
  • founding the basis of the electric motor
  • pioneering the use of electricity in technology

The unit of capacitance, the farad, is named after him.

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

Find out about Michael Faraday Medal and Prize recipients

Inscription on the medal reads: Richard Glazebrook 1854 to 1935

Richard Glazebrook Medal and Prize

For leadership in a physics context

About Richard Glazebrook

Richard Glazebrook was an English physicist who studied under James Clerk Maxell and Lord Rayleigh at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. His work focused on electrical standards.

Glazebrook determined the correct length of a mercury column to express the absolute value of the ohm.

He was the first Director of the National Physical Laboratory and also responsible for the foundation of the Aeronautical Research Council. He was the first President of the Institute of Physics and is also remembered as the editor of the Dictionary of Applied Physics.

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

Find out about Richard Glazebrook Medal and Prize recipients

Inscription on the medal reads: Katharine Burr Blodgett 1898 to 1979

Katharine Burr Blodgett Medal and Prize

For application of physics in an industrial or commercial context

About Katharine Burr Blodgett

Katharine Burr Blodgett was an American researcher and the first woman to be awarded a PhD in physics from the University of Cambridge, in 1926.

After receiving her master’s degree, she was hired by General Electric, where she invented low-reflectance invisible glass. The non-reflective coating on this glass is called a Langmuir-Blodgett film.

Blodgett had eight US patents during her career and was the sole inventor on all but two of the patented designs.

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

Find out about Katharine Burr Blodgett Medal and Prize recipients

Inscription on the medal reads: William Lawrence Bragg

Lawrence Bragg Medal and Prize

For 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 Lawrence Bragg

Sir William Lawrence Bragg was an Australian-born British physicist. In 1915 he became the youngest ever winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, awarded the honour jointly with his father, William Henry Bragg, for their work on x-ray crystallography.

The law of x-ray diffraction, the basis of determining crystal structure, was discovered by Bragg and is now named after him.

Bragg was director of Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory when James Watson and Francis Crick used the technique that he had pioneered in the discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA.

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

Find out about Lawrence Bragg Medal and Prize recipients

Inscription on the medal reads: Lord Kelvin 1824 to 1907

William Thomson, Lord Kelvin Medal and Prize

For public engagement in physics

About Sir William Thomson, Lord Kelvin

Sir William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, was a Scottish-Irish mathematician and physicist best known for his work on thermodynamics. This included work on the absolute temperature scale. The unit of absolute temperature, the kelvin, is named after him.

Thomson was a scientific adviser when the first Atlantic telegraph cables were laid from 1857 to 1858 and from 1865 to 1866, for which he received a knighthood from Queen Victoria. He was made Baron Kelvin of Largs in 1892.

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

Learn about the William Thomson, Lord Kelvin Medal and Prize recipients

Find out about our other awards