Rutherford Plasma Physics Communication Prize

Sponsored by STFC Central Laser Facility.

The IOP Plasma Physics Group is proud to host the annual Rutherford Plasma Physics Communication Prize 2019. The award recognises those who exemplify excellence in outreach to the general public through the communication of plasma physics to those that are non-experts.

The prize is open to ALL members of the plasma physics community, whose application will be judged by a distinguished panel of scientists and communicators (to include one plasma physicist, one non-plasma physicist and one non-physicist).

This year's winner will be announced during the 2019 IOP Plasma Physics Conference (23 - 26 April, Loughborough) and will receive £500.

The application procedure requires evidence of excellent communication skills and discussion of the impact of the activity. Past applications have seen examples such as creating a website, giving a talk or lecture, writing an essay or an article in a magazine, blogging or producing a podcast or video. Anything that communicates our plasma science will be considered - the more creative the better! However applications should be based on one specific activity rather than a range of activities.

Nominations and self-nominations are welcome.

For more information and an application form, please email

Deadline for submissions: 12:00, 15 February 2019.

Previous recipients

A Glass of Seawater team, Fusion CDT
For their podcast series on fusion and fusion-related plasma physics. The judges were particularly impressed with this grassroots initiative to start a relaxed and entertaining series that adds plasma physics to the subjects available on this fast-growth communication platform. The team are Fusion CDT PhD students.The series is available on iTunes and their website where they include notes and links for the content featured in each episode. There's a new episode approximately every month.Twitter account: @GlassOfSeawater.

Dr Jena Meinecke, University of Oxford
For her role as lead organiser for the 2017 Royal Society Summer Exhibition stand 'How to Make a Supernova', featuring plasma research conducted on large laser facilities (focused on AWE's Orion laser) to recreate astrophysical environments in the lab. Jena led a collaborative team of 34 physicists from Imperial College London, Oxford University and AWE. She contributed by directing, writing and featuring in the Royal Society YouTube promotional film; designing and writing promotional material for the event; designing the exhibition stand; leading the creation of demonstration equipment; and working with broadcast and online media outlets. The stand was visited by the general public, school groups and VIP guests, with over 10,000 people attending the exhibition over the week.

Dr Melanie Windridge, Business Development Manager for Tokamak Energy
For her popular science book, Aurora: in search of the northern lights, published by William Collins in 2016. The book contains a detailed introduction for the layperson to plasmas and specifically to aurora plasma formation, fusion and the physics of solar wind. The impact of the book has been boosted by articles featured in Wired magazine, VICE Motherboard, Sidetracked magazine, Sky at Night and Astronomy Now as well as over 30 public talks across the world.

Kate Lancaster, University of York
For her Friday evening Discourse lecture at the Royal Institution.

Rachel McAdams, Ben Moody, Lee Morgan, Mohammed Shahzad and Tom Williams, University of York.
For their short film aimed at children aged 9-11, which explains why scientists are trying to build a 'mini-sun' on earth. The film previously won the first prize at Durham Energy Futures Film.

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