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Cardiff academics pick up prestigious physics awards

3 July 2017

Wendy Sadler

Two members of Cardiff University staff have been awarded prestigious medals by the Institute of Physics (IOP).

Dr Jane Greaves from the School of Physics and Astronomy has been awarded the Fred Hoyle Medal and Prize for her “significant contribution to our understanding of planet formation and exoplanet habitability through her seminal imaging of debris discs around Sun-like stars and solar system bodies using far-infrared telescopes.”

Wendy Sadler MBE, a part-time lecturer in the School of Physics and Astronomy, has been awarded the William Thomson, Lord Kelvin Medal and Prize for founding science made simple – a science outreach enterprise which has reached over 750,000 people with live performances promoting the relevance of physical sciences to society and careers.

The annual IOP awards recognise and reward excellence in people and teams who have made outstanding and exceptional contributions to the strength of physics.

Ground-breaking contribution

The Fred Hoyle Medal and Prize is awarded to someone for their distinguished contributions to astrophysics, gravitational physics or cosmology. The medal is silver and is accompanied by a prize of £1,000 and a certificate.

Dr Greaves will collect this silver medal, as well a £1000 prize and a certificate, for her ground-breaking contribution to our understanding of the process of planet habitability, planet formation and star formation in different environments.

The William Thomson, Lord Kelvin Medal and Prize is given in recognition of the importance of promoting public awareness of the place of physics in the world, of its contributions to the quality of life and its advancement of an understanding of the physical world and the place of humanity within it.

Wendy will pick up this gold medal, as well as a £1000 prize and a certificate, for being an advocate for the importance of physics and physics education within government policy, as well as being a role model for young scientists, and an ambassador for physics.

Science made simple

Wendy, who set up science made simple after graduating from the School of Physics and Astronomy, was also awarded an MBE in the 2017 Queen’s birthday honours for services to science, engineering communication and engagement.

On receiving the award, Wendy said: “It’s such an honour to receive this as a recognition from the physics community...”

“It’s always been my mission to pass on my love of the subject to a wider audience. It's so fundamental to everything in our world, yet so many people still think it is something to be scared of. I hope I’ve played my part in trying to change that over the years so that more people can access the wonders of physics.”

Wendy Sadler

Commenting on the awards, IOP president Professor Roy Sambles said: “These awards are a celebration and a recognition of excellent physics, by physicists - by which our community honours those who produce the very best work.

“It is brilliant to see the continued creativity and cutting edge endeavours across all areas of physics throughout the UK, Ireland and internationally. The quality of the work and those undertaking it indicates that we have a very bright future ahead of us.

“My warmest congratulations go out to all the winners.”

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