Imperial Researchers Honoured In Institute Of Physics' Annual Awards

Four researchers from Imperial's Department of Physics have been honoured in the Institute of Physics' annual awards announced this week - more than at any other UK university.

The 2009 Faraday Medal, one of the Institute's three gold medals, is awarded to Professor Donal Bradley FRS for his pioneering work in the field of plastic electronics. Professor Bradley who holds the Lee Lucas Chair in Experimental Physics, is Director of the newly established Centre for Plastic Electronics at Imperial.

This award is the latest in a succession of prestigious prizes given to Professor Bradley - it follows most recently a request to deliver the 2009 Institute of Physics Mott Lecture.

Professor Bradley's research focuses on optimising plastic semiconductors for use in a wide range of electronic devices, with applications spanning displays, lighting, electronics, solar energy, communications and medical diagnostics.

On being told of the award of the Faraday Medal, Professor Bradley said: "What a wonderful way to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of conjugated polymer LEDs - a discovery that helped to launch plastic electronics on the path to its present day vibrancy as an academic research field with great commercial potential. I am delighted to have been able to walk that path in the company of so many talented students, postdoctoral researchers and academic and industrial colleagues – this award recognises the fruits of a great many, very enjoyable collaborative interactions."

The Glazebrook Medal of the Institute of Physics, another of the Institute of Physics' gold medals is awarded to Professor Sir Peter Knight FRS, Imperial's Senior Principal and Professor of Quantum Optics. He receives the Glazebrook Medal for his outstanding contributions to physics in the UK and globally, through both his scholarship as a pre-eminent atomic and molecular optics theoretician and as a charismatic and effective leader of research and research organisations.

In addition to leading Imperial's world-leading quantum optics and quantum information science research group, Sir Peter recently formulated and led two initiatives at Imperial College that resulted in the creation of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, funded by an initial private donation of £12.5m and of the Institute for Shock Physics, established with an initial budget of £10 million.

Sir Peter commented: "It's delightful to receive this Medal from the Institute of Physics in recognition of both my own research and of my contributions to UK Physics. I am touched and honoured by this recognition."

The Institute of Physics' Joule Medal is awarded to Imperial's Professor Jenny Nelson for distinguished research in applied physics. Director of Imperial's Doctoral Training Centre in the Science and Application of Plastic Electronic Materials, Professor Nelson's research focuses on a range of novel photovoltaic materials.

Professor Nelson is currently working on the use of molecular or 'plastic' electronic materials in solar cells, in order to reduce the cost of solar electricity. Once the basic properties of the materials are properly understood, design rules can be developed for new materials and types of device with better performance.

Commenting on receiving the Joule Medal, Professor Nelson said: "I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to receive the Joule Medal for our research into photovoltaic materials. I'm delighted that both the importance of the subject and my own group's contribution to it have been recognised in this way."

The Chadwick Medal for distinguished research in particle physics is awarded to Professor Tejinder Virdee. A Professor in Imperial's High Energy Physics research group, Professor Virdee is based at CERN, where he is the lead scientist on the CMS detector experiment, one of four particle detectors at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator.

Professor Virdee has played a crucial role in all phases of CMS since its formation in 1992, including design, prototyping, construction, installation, commissioning and initial operation. CMS, along with the other main LHC experiment, ATLAS, is likely to dominate particle physics over at least the next decade.

Commenting on receiving the Chadwick Medal, Professor Virdee said: "I am proud of what we, and we are many, have achieved in CMS. CMS is a technological marvel that has pushed many boundaries. We now look forward to extracting the science which is widely expected to be revolutionary."

Professor Jo Haigh, Head of the Department of Physics at Imperial, congratulated her colleagues, saying: "We are absolutely delighted that four members of the Imperial Physics Dept have been honored by the IoP. This is recognition of the stellar quality of our staff and the research that they carry out."

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