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The annual MPLS Teaching Award winners were announced at last night’s Summer Party, which was hosted by Professor Alex Halliday, Head of MPLS. 

The main ‘Project Award’ for innovative teaching was awarded to Dr Christopher Palmer, a Departmental Lecturer in the Department of Physics. Dr Palmer runs the annual Oxford Undergraduate Physics conference.

Dr Palmer received £3,000 towards his proposal to expand this conference into an inter-disciplinary event that will enable large numbers of students from many undergraduate courses to be enthused by topics outside of their usual taught curriculum.

Dr Palmer said, “This project builds on the successful Undergraduate Physics Conferences that I have been running since 2007. I found that I was getting more and more interested in topics that related physics to completely different disciplines, for example a very rewarding session with a theatre director, an expert on Galileo and an expert on Bertolt Brecht in connection with a production of Brecht's Life of Galileo by the RSC at Stratford.

"I am delighted, if slightly daunted, by the opportunity that this award gives me to develop the conference in a completely interdisciplinary and inter-divisional setting."

Other teaching awards were received by the following colleagues:

  • Ms Belinda Hughes, Teaching Design Engineer in the Department of Engineering Science
  • Dr Steve Sheard, Associate Head of Department (teaching) in the Department of Engineering Science
  • Dr Andrew Ker, a University Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science
  • Dr Cath Wilkins, a Departmental Lecturer in the Mathematical Institute
  • Professor Fabian Essler, a Professor in the Department of Physics
  • Professor Owen Lewis, a Professor in the Department of Zoology

Advancing women’s careers in STEM research and academia was the theme of the evening, with talks from Professor Kylie Vincent from the Department of Chemistry, Professor Stuart West from the Department of Zoology and Professor Daniela Bortoletto from the Department of Physics.

This was Professor Alex Halliday’s last Divisional Party and the Vice Chancellor Professor Andrew Hamilton thanked him for his leadership of MPLS and wished him well for the future.

Professor Halliday will be focusing on his role as a Vice President of the Royal Society and returning to his research in the Department of Earth Sciences. We were joined by his successor Professor Donal Bradley who will be joining us on 1 September 2015 from Imperial College London.