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Six scientists from the Department of Physics have been recognised by the Institute of Physics in this year’s IOP awards along with a seventh physicist from Oxford’s Department of Education. Two academics have also be made Honorary Fellows, the highest accolade presented by the IOP.

A view of Oxford colleges and spires

Medals and Prizes

Professor David Deutsch receives the Isaac Newton Medal and Prize awarded for world-leading contributions to physics. The IOP medal recognises Professor Deutsch’s work in founding the discipline named quantum computation and establishing quantum computation's fundamental idea, now known as the ‘qubit’ or quantum bit.

Professor Steve Balbus receives the Paul Dirac Medal and Prize awarded for theoretical (including mathematical and computational) physics. The IOP gold medal recognises his 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 Roger Davies receives the Fred Hoyle Medal and Prize awarded for distinguished contributions to astrophysics, gravitational physics or cosmology. The IOP silver subject medal recognises his seminal contributions to understanding the nature and evolution of early type galaxies and developing their use as cosmological probes.

Professor Philip Stier receives the Edward Appleton Medal and Prize awarded for distinguished contributions to environmental, Earth or atmospheric physics. The IOP silver subject medal recognises his pioneering research on the role of clouds, aerosols and their interactions in the climate system, through innovative combination of models, observations and theory.

Professor Julia Yeomans receives the Sam Edwards Medal and Prize awarded for distinguished contributions in soft matter physics. The IOP silver subject medal recognises her work in developing mathematical models and numerical algorithms to increase our understanding of soft and active matter, statistical physics and bIOPhysics.

Dr Rebecca Bowler receives the Henry Moseley Medal and Prize awarded for exceptional early-career contributions to experimental physics. The IOP bronze early-career medal recognises her 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.

Professor Judith Hillier receives the Marie Curie-Sklodowska Medal and Prize awarded for distinguished contributions to physics education. The IOP silver subject medal recognises her significant contribution to the support of women in physics through her work with the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP UK & Ireland), and to the education of physics teachers and teachers of physics.

Honorary Fellowships

Honorary fellowship is the highest accolade presented by the IOP and reflects an individual’s exceptional services to physics.

Professor Daniela Bortoletto has been awarded honorary fellowship of the Institute of Physics in recognition of her significant contributions to particle physics, her advisory role in the UK and internationally and founding the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics series (CUWiP UK). 

Professor Tim Palmer has been awarded honorary fellowship of the Institute of Physics in recognition of his long and remarkable career during which he has pioneered the application of nonlinear dynamical thinking to improve our understanding of the climate system which has had a profound influence on our ability to predict weather and climate. 

‘The IOP plays an essential role in furthering physics and its work benefits not only physicists themselves but society at large; to be recognised by your own professional body and learned society is a career highlight for any scientist,’ comments Professor Ian Shipsey, Head of the Department of Physics at Oxford. ‘It is wonderful to see the breadth of exceptional talent recognised by these awards and we are incredibly proud of our colleagues and their achievements.’

IOP President Professor Sheila Rowan adds: ‘On behalf of the Institute of Physics, I warmly congratulate all of this year’s award winners. Each and every one of them has made a significant and positive impact in their profession, whether as a researcher, teacher, industrialist, technician or apprentice. Recent events have underlined the absolute necessity to encourage and reward our scientists and those who teach and encourage future generations. We rely on their dedication and innovation to improve many aspects of the lives of individuals and of our wider society.’

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