Englert, Higgs and CERN receive the Prince of Asturias Award

CERN, François Englert and Peter Higgs received the Prince of Asturias Award for "the theoretical prediction and experimental detection of the Higgs boson", in a ceremony held on 25 October at the Campoamor Theatre in Oviedo, in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen of Spain and the Prince and Princess of Asturias. CERN’s director-general, Rolf Heuer, was there to accept the prestigious prize on behalf of the laboratory.

The ceremony was preceded by a cultural programme of exhibitions and events organized by the Prince of Asturias Foundation. Within this programme, Luis Álvarez-Gaumé, a theoretical physicist at CERN, gave a talk on the day of the awards ceremony at the Faculty of Science of Oviedo University, while the day before, CERN’s director for research and computing, Sergio Bertolucci, joined Englert and Higgs in meeting with hundreds of students at the university. Their public lecture was broadcast live on screens throughout the campus and online. The day closed with a concert by the Symphony Orchestra of the Principality of Asturias and the Choir of the Prince of Asturias Foundation.

Each Prince of Asturias Award is divided equally among the laureates and comprises a Joan Miró sculpture representing and symbolizing the award, a cash prize of €50 000, a diploma and an insignia. CERN’s management has decided that the prize to the laboratory will be used to offer 10 grants for PhD students from around the world to attend next year’s major particle-physics conference, the International Conference on High-Energy Physics, ICHEP2014, in Valencia.

The prize to CERN will also be used to launch a competition for school students in Spain. Pupils aged 6–18 will be challenged to submit a drawing, photo, video or news article. Entries will be evaluated through a public vote and by an expert committee involving scientists from CERN and the Spanish Centre for Particle Physics (CPAN), which will contribute to the competition with related outreach activities and awards. Six winners will be rewarded with a two-day visit to CERN. Full details will be available from 1 December at www.cernland.net.

Ukraine to become an associate member of CERN

On 3 October, CERN’s director-general Rolf Heuer and the vice prime minister of Ukraine Kostyantyn Ivanovych Gryschenko signed a document admitting Ukraine to associate membership of CERN, subject to ratification by Ukraine’s parliament – the Verkhovna Rada.

Ukraine and CERN signed a co-operation agreement in 1993 and a joint declaration in 2011, setting priorities in scientific–technical co-operation. But the relationship dates back much further, principally through CERN’s co-operation with JINR, of which Ukraine is a member.

Beyond its participation through JINR, Ukraine has been a long-time contributor to the ALICE, CMS and LHCb experiments at the LHC and to research and development on new accelerator technologies. Ukraine also operates a Tier-2 computing centre of the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid.

Ukraine’s associate membership will open a new era of co-operation that will strengthen the long-term partnership between CERN and the Ukrainian scientific community. It will allow Ukraine to participate in the governance of CERN, through attending the meetings of the CERN Council. Moreover, Ukrainian scientists will be able to become CERN staff and participate in CERN’s training and career-development programmes. Finally, associate membership will allow Ukrainian industry to bid for CERN contracts, therefore opening up opportunities for industrial collaboration in areas of advanced technology.

APS announces winners for 2014

The American Physical Society (APS) has announced its awards for 2014, including major prizes in particle physics and related fields.

One of the highlights early this year was the announcement that the Daya Bay reactor neutrino experiment had observed the disappearance of electron-antineutrinos and established a significantly nonzero value for the "third" mixing angle in neutrino oscillations, θ13 (CERN Courier October 2013 p7). So it is appropriate that the 2014 W K H Panofsky Prize in Experimental Particle Physics, which recognizes and encourages outstanding achievements in the field, goes to Kam-Biu Luk of the University of California, Berkeley, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), and Yifang Wang of the Institute of High Energy Physics, Beijing, for "their leadership of the Daya Bay experiment, which produced the first definitive measurement of the θ13 angle of the neutrino mixing matrix". Luk and Wang are the co-spokespersons for the experiment.

The contribution of young physicists to the Daya Bay experiment is also recognized in awarding the Henry Primakoff Award for Early-Career Particle Physics to Daniel A Dwyer of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, for his "innovative contributions to neutrino physics, particularly the broad and substantial role he played in commissioning, calibration and analysis in the Daya Bay measurement of the mixing angle θ13".

The Robert R Wilson Prize for Achievement in the Physics of Particle Accelerators is another important award to recognize and encourage outstanding work. Kwang-Je Kim of Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) receives the 2014 prize for "his pioneering theoretical work in synchrotron radiation and free-electron lasers that laid the foundation for both third and fourth generation X-ray sources". Also related to the developments in accelerators, the 2013 James Clerk Maxwell Prize for Plasma Physics was recently awarded to Phillip Sprangle of the Naval Research Laboratory and the University of Maryland for his "pioneering contributions to the physics of high-intensity laser interactions with plasmas, and to the development of plasma accelerators, free-electron lasers, gyrotrons and high-current electron accelerators".

The 2014 award that recognizes and encourages outstanding achievement in particle theory – the J J Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics – goes to Zvi Bern of the University of California, Los Angeles, Lance Dixon of SLAC and David Kosower of CEA-SACLAY. The three theoreticians receive the award for "path-breaking contributions to the calculation of perturbative scattering amplitudes, which led to a deeper understanding of quantum field theory and to powerful new tools for computing QCD processes".

The Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics recognizes outstanding publications in the field of mathematical physics. The 2014 award goes to Gregory Moore of Rutgers University, for "eminent contributions to mathematical physics with a wide influence in many fields, ranging from string theory to supersymmetric gauge theory, conformal field theory, condensed-matter physics and four-manifold theory".

Theoretical work is also recognized with the Herman Feshbach Prize in Theoretical Nuclear Physics, which for 2014 goes to John Negele of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for "lifetime contributions to nuclear many-body theory including identifying mechanisms for saturation and relating the Skyrme interaction to fundamental nuclear forces, and for initiating and leading efforts to understand the nucleon using lattice QCD".

Also in nuclear physics, the Tom W Bonner Prize recognizes and encourages outstanding experimental research in nuclear physics, including the development of a method, technique or device that significantly contributes in a general way to nuclear-physics research. William Zajc of Columbia University received the 2014 prize for "his contributions to relativistic heavy-ion physics, in particular for his leading role in the PHENIX experiment, as well as for his seminal work on identical two-particle density interferometry as an experimental tool".

IOP medals: from particles to the cosmos

Studies at the smallest and largest scales in the universe are among the areas of research recognized in the 2013 awards by the UK’s Institute of Physics (IOP).

Among the annually awarded gold medals, the Glazebrook Medal – named after the first president of IOP, Richard Glazebrook – rewards leadership in a physics context. This year it goes to Lyn Evans of CERN and Imperial College London, who receives the award for "his outstanding leadership of the Large Hadron Collider Project", the success of which " is in large measure the result of Lyn Evans’s expertise in accelerator physics and his superb qualities as a project leader".

In the subject awards, the Chadwick Medal and Prize is awarded for distinguished research in particle physics. Jonathan Butterworth of University College London is the 2013 recipient, for "his pioneering experimental and phenomenological work in high-energy particle physics, especially in the understanding of hadronic jets". The Payne-Gaposchkin Medal and Prize recognizes distinguished research in plasma, solar or space physics and this year goes to Peter Norreys of the University of Oxford and STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. He is rewarded for "his pioneering contributions to the physics of fast particle generation and energy transport in relativistic laser–plasma interactions".

The Maxwell Medal and Prize is an early career award made to physicists within the first 12 years of their career (allowing for career breaks), for outstanding contributions to theoretical physics, mathematical or computational physics. Joanna Dunkley of the University of Oxford receives the 2103 medal for "her contributions to determining the structure and history of our universe". She has worked as part of the science team on NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anistropy Probe (WMAP) and led analysis for the Atacama Cosmology Telescope in Chile.

Finally, the Kelvin Medal and Prize, for outstanding contribution to public engagement within physics, this year goes to a theoretical particle physicist, Jeff Forshaw of the University of Manchester, for "his wide-reaching work aimed at helping the general public to understand complex ideas in physics".