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Department of Physics

The Cavendish Laboratory
portraits of the four winners with the words Institute of Physics Awards 2023

Four Cavendish Laboratory researchers have been awarded prestigious 2023 Institute of Physics medals and prizes. Dr Hannah Stern, Dr Harry Cliff, Professor Ulrich Keyser and Professor Ulrich Schneider have been recognised in this year’s honours for their respective outstanding contribution to experimental physics, public engagement, soft matter physics, and atomic physics. 

The Institute of Physics (IOP) is the professional body and learned society for physics, and the leading body for practising physicists, in the UK and Ireland. Its annual awards proudly reflect the wide variety of people, places, organisations and achievements that make physics such an exciting discipline.

The IOP awards celebrate physicists at every stage of their career; from those just starting out through to physicists at the peak of their careers, and those with a distinguished career behind them.

Dr Hannah Stern has received the Henry Moseley Award for her exceptional early career contributions to experimental physics. The prize recognises Stern’s impact on the understanding of electronic processes in molecular semiconductors and two-dimensional materials, including identification of a spin qubit in a two-dimensional material.

The Lise Meitner Medal & Prize, which celebrates distinguished contributions to public engagement within physics, has gone to particle physicist and author Dr Harry Cliff. His work on exhibitions, festivals, talks, magazine articles and a popular science book, which together have reached millions of people worldwide, constitutes an exceptional record of growing the public understanding of physics.

Professor Ulrich Keyser leads an interdisciplinary team of physicists, engineers, physical chemists, biochemists, and micro- and nanofabrication researchers at the Cavendish Laboratory. He has been awarded the Sam Edwards Medal and Prize for pioneering the study of transport of structured nucleic-acid molecules through nanopores and the quantification of out-of-equilibrium polymer dynamics at the single-molecule level. His research is enabling new applications in biotechnology including disease detection.

Finally, Professor of Many-Body Physics Ulrich Schneider has received the Joseph Thomson Medal and Prize in recognition for groundbreaking experiments on the collective dynamics of quantum gases in optical lattices, including fundamental studies of localization effects. Through the groundbreaking outputs from his research group, and his significant support for large national programmes, Schneider adds to the strength of the UK in the development and application of new quantum technologies.

Congratulating this year’s Award winners, Institute of Physics President, Professor Sir Keith Burnett

“On behalf of the Institute of Physics, I want to congratulate all of this year’s award winners. Each one has made a significant and positive impact in their profession, whether as a researcher, teacher, industrialist, technician or apprentice and I hope they are incredibly proud of their achievements.

“There is so much focus today on the opportunities generated by a career in physics and the potential our science has to transform our society and economy and I hope the stories of our winners will help to inspire future generations of scientists.  


Clockwise from top left: Hannah Stern, Harry Cliff, Ulrich Keyser and Ulrich Schneider.