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Stocki image of a winners trophy and confetti

The annual Physics Department Awards for Excellence took place at 2pm on Tuesday 14 September. Held virtually on Zoom this year, there were a series of science talks aimed at all members of the department, followed by the presentation of awards. The awards recognise staff who carry out exceptional work, and go that extra mile.

Nominations for who should receive the awards were invited from across the department. As was the case last year, the panel was faced with a difficult choice as there is so much excellent work being carried out at every level.

Congratulations to this year's recipients, who are:

  • Susan Hilton, Michelle Minns, Jason Anderson, Kristian Whatcott, Paul Foley, Tony McFarlane and Michael Armstrong
    • The Teaching Laboratory Technical Support team is recognised for their combined efforts in enabling us to provide practical laboratory teaching at all levels during the pandemic. Preparing labs and equipment in the Department for lab and lecture recording, and to ensure that any actual in-person teaching is safe; getting kit ready to send out to students and helping solve any problems that they have getting things to work at home; helping staff and students to conduct experiments remotely using advanced equipment are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the amazing things that this team have pulled together to do this year. Our laboratory teaching programme has been one of the most challenging aspects of our teaching to adapt to recent circumstances, and it has only been possible to do this successfully because of the tireless work put in by the Teaching Laboratory Technical Support team. 
  • Hannah Frost and Adam Easton
    • Hannah and Adam started their apprenticeships only 5 months before the University moved to home working due to the pandemic. This would be an anxious time for anybody, but to be at the start of a practical apprenticeship must have been particularly so. Through their hard work, both at home and then with limited opportunities for practical experience they have both successfully completed their learning outcomes well ahead of schedule.

  • Nic Brennan
    • For her outstanding support of the planning and organisation of teaching delivery in the science faculty and across the other faculties. In particular, Nic’s input was instrumental in obtaining funding to support our laboratory teaching last year. Every delivery planning meeting – of which there have been many over the past year – results in more tasks for Nic to deal with, which she does effectively, efficiently and always with a smile.

  • Jason Scotney
    • For his outstanding can-do attitude allied with a beyond the call of duty approach to ensuring that the required building access protocols for re-opening the physics buildings at various stages of the Covid crisis are appropriate and provide the right level of security for staff in physics. He has also been instrumental in offering advice on setting up and implementing the Departmental “swipe in/ out” system to monitor staff attendance in the Department.

  • Peter Draper
    • Peter is the backbone of COSMA, provides a wealth of knowledge for the support team and users, has immense problem-solving skills and is incredibly dedicated to his job.  Operation of COSMA would be significantly more difficult were it not for Peter.

  • Suzanne Joyce, Wendy Hedley and Claire Chadwick
    • For being a constant in a year of variables! The Physics Finance Team have been fully operational throughout the pandemic and had an early return to onsite working. They have facilitated the continuation of teaching and research activities in Physics whilst adhering to new strict budgetary controls. The whole time the team have been on-hand to provide help and information, and to offer support and advice to staff and students.

  • Lucy Budge
    • For her outstanding contributions to the L3 Mathematics Workshop and in particular her leadership of the module whilst the lead academic was on sick leave.

  • Alistair Bounds
    • For his outstanding work in developing optical methods for early dental disease detection. This has produced a patent, high quality publications, presentations in Parliament and is the foundation in helping the spinout company NirVisio raise £1.2M to develop a commercially viable product. 

  • Lucy Downes
    • For outstanding work on the technical development of new terahertz imaging technology and working closely with industrial partners to study market feasibility.

  • James Nightingale
    • For adapting statistical techniques from astrophysics into healthcare. The algorithm he developed to categorise the shapes of galaxies is being used to categorise genomic data sampled from carcinomas to help determine the most effective treatment for a cancer.

  • Piotr Pander
    • For his outstanding theoretical calculations and photophysical measurements of Thermally Activated Delayed Fluorescence in bimetallic complexes which has led to more efficient NIR emitters. These molecules have huge and widespread potential for applications in OLEDs, bioimaging and sensing.
  • Rachel Goodband and Sarah Goodband
    • For their contribution to social cohesion in the Department and organising creative social events to keep the postgraduate student community active and for their initiative to make the spaces around the Department greener and inviting to physicists and non-human species alike.