The IOP’s annual awards celebrate the best of physics, both to reward researchers for groundbreaking work and to help inspire the next generation of physicists.

Several of these are awarded jointly with our partner societies from around the world and presented in alternate years at the IOP’s awards dinner and in ceremonies organised by those other societies.      

Our most prestigious award, the Isaac Newton medal is awarded to any physicist, regardless of subject area, background or nationality, for outstanding contributions to physics.

The IOP also awards medals jointly with other international societies, known as the international bilateral awards:

The Born medal and prize

The IOP and the German Physical Society instituted this award in 1972 to commemorate Max Born who died in 1970. It is made alternately by the Councils of one of the two societies to a physicist selected from a list of nominees submitted by the other, for outstanding contributions to physics.

The Holweck medal and prize

This award was instituted in 1945, jointly by the French Physical Society as a memorial to Fernand Holweck, director of the Curie Laboratory of the Radium Institute in Paris, who was tortured and killed by the Gestapo during the occupation of France 1940–44. The award is made for distinguished work in any aspect of physics that is ongoing or has been carried out within the 10 years preceding the award.

The Massey medal and prize

The Harrie Massey Medal and Prize was created by the IOP’s council in 1988 to mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Australian Institute of Physics. It’s awarded for contributions to physics or its applications.

The Occhialini medal and prize

In 2007 the Italian Physical Society together and the IOP instituted an award to honour the memory of Giuseppe Occhialini. It’s awarded for distinguished work carried out within the 10 years preceding the award.

Related information


Institute of Physics awards

IOP Awards recognise teams and individuals who have made a substantial contribution to the development or reputation of physics in the UK or Ireland