Oct 26, 2010
Faces and Places
Tim Berners-Lee receives the UNESCO Niels Bohr Gold Medal
In a ceremony on 14 September at the Royal Danish Academy of Science and Letters, in Copenhagen, three leading researchers received the UNESCO Niels Bohr Gold Medal for their outstanding contributions to research in physics, which have or could have a significant influence on the world. The medal, which UNESCO created in 1985 to commemorate the centenary of Niels Bohr's birth, was previously awarded in 1998 and 2005. The 2010 laureates are Sir Tim Berners-Lee of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sir John Pendry of Imperial College London and Kip Thorne of the California Institute of Technology. Getachew Engida, deputy director-general of UNESCO, presented the medals on behalf of UNESCO.
Berners-Lee is honoured "for the development of hypertext, the World Wide Web and the far-reaching consequences for global communication and exchange of information"; Pendry "for pioneering contributions to the development of metamaterials (i.e. materials with remarkable and new optical properties)" and Thorne "for groundbreaking contributions to the study of black holes and gravitational waves".
ACS rewards research with radioactive ion beams
David Morrissey, distinguished professor of chemistry at Michigan State University and a faculty member of the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, is to receive the 2011 Glenn T Seaborg Award for Nuclear Chemistry. Presented annually by the Division of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the award honours outstanding contributions to nuclear or radiochemistry or to their applications.
Morrissey's research centres on the experimental investigation of heavy-ion-induced nuclear reactions and nuclear mechanisms, such as the production of radioactive ion beams, measurements of the beta-decay of nuclei at the limits of stability (CERN Courier December 2007 p37). Recent work includes the thermalization of fast radioactive ions in a buffer gas for further manipulation and study.
Witten heads list of IOP's 2010 prize-winners
The UK's Institute of Physics (IOP) has awarded its Isaac Newton Medal and Prize for 2010 to theoretical physicist Edward Witten of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton. The Newton Medal, which is the only international IOP award, is in its third year – previous awards being given to Anton Zeilinger of the University of Vienna in 2008 and Alan Guth of Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2009.
Witten is honoured for "his many profound contributions that have transformed areas of particle theory, quantum field theory and general relativity … His combination of tremendous physical insight and mathematical power have had impact in areas ranging from the phenomenology of particle physics and cosmology to theoretical areas of string theory and quantum gravity." As winner of the medal, Witten gave the associated Newton Lecture at the IOP, London, in July, on "string theory and the universe".
Among other IOP awards, the Hoyle Medal and Prize for 2010, for distinguished research in astrophysics, gravitational physics or cosmology, goes to Carlos Frenk of the University of Durham, for "his major contributions to the development of the now widely accepted cold dark-matter model by using cosmological simulations, novel methods for calculating the physics of galaxy formation and analysis of galaxy surveys". James Binney of the University of Oxford receives the 2010 Dirac Medal and Prize, awarded for outstanding contributions to theoretical physics, for "his contribution to our understanding of how galaxies are constituted, how they work and how they were formed". Brian Cox, of the University of Manchester, receives the 2010 Kelvin Medal and Prize, for outstanding contributions to the public understanding of physics, in reward for "communicating the appeal and excitement of physics to the general public through the broadcast media".
• For the video of Witten's Newton Lecture, see www.iop.org/resources/videos/lectures/page_44292.html.