A hat-trick of prizes for Nottingham physicists

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Three physicists from the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Nottingham have been awarded prestigious prizes and medals by the Institute of Physics (IoP).

The IoP Awards celebrate outstanding achievements in physics across the UK and Ireland, including researchers, technicians, apprentices, business innovators and teachers.

This year, three Nottingham professors have won these major awards, a remarkable achievement against strong competition.

Professor Penny Gowland has been awarded the Peter Mansfield Prize, Professor Richard Bowtell has been awarded the James Joule Prize, and Professor Laurence Eaves has been awarded the Nevill Mott Prize.

We are delighted that the achievements of Penny, Laurence and Richard have been recognised in this way. Their research has impacted on the lives of many people worldwide, for example through new medical imaging techniques and systems, and led to companies setting up in our building to commercialise their work. These awards are part of a long-standing Nottingham success story because all three research areas use mathematical physics techniques that were developed by miller George Green in Sneinton almost 200 years ago.”
Professor Mark Fromhold, Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy

Professor Gowland received the Peter Mansfield Medal and Prize for the major contributions she has made in developing novel techiques for quantitative Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to enable innovative, non-invasive investigations into human anatomy, physiologyand biology. She has not only developed new methods for measuring parameters with MRI but has also used them to make new discoveries about human biology. It is particularly fitting that Penny should receive this award as it is named after Sir Peter Mansfield, who pioneered the development of MRI and established the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre at the University of Nottingham.

Professor Penny Gowland

Professor Bowtell received the James Joule Medal and Prize for his outstanding application of physics to the innovative development of new hardware and techniques for biomedical imaging, and their application in medicine and neuroscience. His breadth of expertise has allowed him to make seminal contributions to a range of imaging approaches, while his work on the development of new technology, particularly in electromagnetic coil design, has had significant commercial impact.

Professor Richard Bowtell

Professor Eaves received the Nevill Mott Medal And Prize for research in condensed matter physics. His work has focused on the motion of electrons in nanostructures by probing spectroscopically the wavefunctions of electrons in semiconducting quantum dots, the quantum chaotic dynamics of electrons, and electron tunnelling through potential barriers. His present research is on electron dynamics and scattering in graphene-based field effect transistors.

Professor Laurence Eaves

A hat-trick of awards to researchers at a single institution is an extremely rare occurrence, and this year’s success is testament to the breadth and depth of world-leading research in Nottingham’s School of Physics and Astronomy.

Professor Kevin Shakesheff, Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Science, said: “The University is extremely proud of the achievements of Penny, Laurence and Richard. They dedicated their careers to high quality research, and they have also contributed to University life in many other ways. Congratulations to them and credit is also due to their School for nurturing such a strong research environment.”

Charlotte Anscombe - Media Relations Manager - Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Phone: 0115 748 4417

Notes to editors:

About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.

We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

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