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Athena Swan

Athena Swan Silver Award for the Department of Physics

The Department of Physics has been granted a renewal of an award from the Athena SWAN Charter in recognition of its support for women in science.

This national scheme recognises and celebrates good practice on recruiting, retaining and promoting women in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) in higher education.

Physics's Silver award has been held continuously since 2007. Silver departmental awards recognise that in addition to institution-wide policies, the department has a significant record of activity and achievement in supporting the careers of female scientists and can demonstrate their impact so far.

“The Physics's Silver award is the result of the hard work of the Departmental Equality Committee. The committee helps the Department provide a working environment where all staff are encouraged to work to their full potential and are rewarded without regard to gender, race, age, sexual orientation, disability or belief."

Professor Sarah Thompson, Head of Department (2011-2017)

Athena SWAN is jointly owned by Equality Challenge Unit and the UKRC. It is funded by Equality Challenge Unit, the Royal Society, Biochemical Society and the Department of Health.

Vice President IOP

Professor Sarah Thompson elected Vice-President of the Institute of Physics

Professor Sarah Thompson was elected Vice-President, Science and Innovation at the Institute of Physics in July 2015.

In this role Professor Thompson, who was Head of Department between 2011 and 2017, chairs the Science and Innovation Committee and manages engagement with the physics community in areas of policy and funding for scientific research and innovation.

Read the full story here.

Juno Champion

Project Juno Champion renewal awarded

The Department of Physics has again received a top, national award from the Institute of Physics.  

The department originally received the award in 2011 and has held it ever since. This award recognises the sensitive way in which we support women and also work to reduce gender inequality among staff and students. In order to gain Champion status, the highest level of award, it must be demonstrated that five principles are embedded throughout the department.  

The Department joins Universities including; Cambridge, Edinburgh, Imperial, Royal Holloway and Warwick who have also been granted the Champion award.

“We are delighted to have our Juno Champion status renewed and recognise that this signals that we continue to be proactive in working towards an improved gender balance in the future.”  

Professor Sarah Thompson, MBE, Head of Department (2011-2017)

Female Physics academic staff at York includes a Head of Department (who is also the Vice President of the Institute of Physics), three Professors (including the Head of Department), three lecturers, an associate lecturer and a reader. Over 20% of our postgraduates students are female and within the Nuclear Research Group over half of the researchers are female.

Our status as Project Juno Champion was renewed through to June 2017.


2016 Rutherford Plasma Physics Communications Prize Winner

A University of York Physicist has been awarded the 2016 Rutherford Plasma Physics Communications Prize - for a presentation which has now been viewed nearly 70,000 times online.

Dr Kate Lancaster, York Plasma Institute Research Fellow for Innovation and Impact in the Department of Physics, was awarded the prize for a presentation she gave to the Royal Institution earlier this year. Entitled ‘The Extreme World of Ultra-intense Lasers’, Dr Lancaster took the audience on a journey through how high-power lasers, using various demonstrations to highlight the unique properties of laser light. The Rutherford Plasma Physics Communications Prize recognises scientists who exemplify excellence in outreach to the general public through the communication of plasma physics. The prize is funded by the STFC.

In giving the prestigious Friday Evening Discourse at The Royal Institution,Dr Lancaster follows in the footsteps of speakers such as Sir Paul Nurse, Professor Brian Cox, Professor Jim Al Khalili and Michael Faraday. 


Professor Jacek Dobaczewski has been awarded the Wojciech Rubinowicz prize by the Polish Physical Society (Polskie Towarzystwo Fizyczne - PTF)

The society awarded Professor Jacek Dobaczewski the annual scientific prize for fundamental studies in density functional theory (DFT) and its applications in nuclear physics.

The DFT is a universal tool used mainly to describe systems of many electrons in condensed matter physics, atomic physics, or quantum chemistry. Due to the complexity of nucleon to nucleon interaction, research in nuclear DFT requires novel theoretical approaches and estimating related theoretical uncertainties – a pioneering aspect of Professor Dobaczewski’s work.

Read the full story here.

PG Academic

PG Academic Awards

At the end of each year we celebrate the many academic achievements of our students.

Kathleen Mary Stott Prizes, endowed in 1965, are given for excellence in scientific, or medical research. The following prizes are awarded to our Postgraduate students within the Physics Department.

  • K.M. Stott Prize in Physics - Awarded for the Best PhD Thesis and Defence
  • K.M. Stott Prize in Physics 2nd place - Awarded for the Runner-up PhD Thesis and Defence
  • K.M. Stott Prize in Physics - Awarded for the Best Poster

A full list of winners for all three prize catagories is published every year and the name of the Best PhD Thesis and Defence winner is also displayed on our awards board within the Physics department.  

K.M. Stott Prize in Physics - Winner 2016

Matthew Hodgson was the winner for 2016, congratulations to Matthew on this great achievement.

K.M. Stott Prize in Physics - Winner 2015 

Christian Schuster was awarded the 2015 K.M. Stott prize for the Best PhD Thesis and Defence.

Christian, and Professor Thomas Krauss, can be seen in this video offering an insight into the research opportunities in the field of Photonics available to you during your PhD.