The highest accolade, the Isaac Newton Medal for “outstanding contributions to physics”, went to Deborah Jin for her work at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the US.
Professor Jin’s award was presented for “pioneering the field of quantum-degenerate Fermi gases”. The experimental research focused on the “laser cooling” of atoms, which has helped to form a practical realisation of the universal laws that underpin fundamental quantum behaviour.
Ed Hinds, from the Centre for Cold Matter at Imperial College London, who is also a fellow of the IoP, congratulated Professor Jin, adding: “[These] incredibly complex experiments have significantly advanced our understanding of the behaviour of electrons in materials… [this] work is likely to lead to profound advances in measuring and sensing, as well as quantum computing.”
Other prizes presented included the Gold medal awards as well as honours for distinguished research in niche subject fields, for outstanding contributions at an early stage in a physicist’s career and for achievement in physics education and outreach.
This year’s Gold medal winners are Tim Palmer from the University of Oxford for the development of probabilistic weather and climate systems, Giles Davies and Edmund Linfield from the University of Leeds for their work on terahertz physics and technology, Gerhard Materlik from University College London for his leadership at the Diamond Light Source and Michael Payne from the University of Cambridge for the development of computational techniques that have revolutionised materials design.
Seven subject medals were awarded to academics, including the University of Oxford’s Anthony Bell for his exposition on the origin and impact of cosmic rays.
Meanwhile, education and outreach awards went to Pete Vukusic from the University of Exeter for his “significant contributions to widening participation in physics education” and to Teresa Anderson and Tim O’Brien from the University of Manchester for their development of an educational programme that is used by 16,000 school children each year.