Two University of Manchester academics have been awarded prestigious awards for the excellence of their scientific work. The Royal Society awarded Professor Andre Geim the Hughes Medal for his revolutionary discovery of graphene, and explanation of its remarkable properties.
The director of the Manchester Centre for Mesoscience and Nanotechnology adds the medal to his long list of awards which reflect his stature in the world of scientific research after the discovery of graphene – the world’s thinnest material – in 2004.
The Armourers and Brasiers Award was won by Professor Philip Withers, Professor of Materials Science and director of the Henry Moseley X-ray Imaging Facility, for his pioneering work with neutron and X-ray beams.
Professor Withers was recognised for his use of these highly-penetrating beams to map stresses and to detect defects across a vast range of materials.
His work helps to introduce new manufacturing methods safely and identify potentially catastrophic cases of high stresses or defective materials for engineering components where mechanical failure is unacceptable, such as aeroplane engines or nuclear materials.
Professor Withers’ team is regularly invited all over the world to carry out experiments at large facilities.
For his award, Professor Geim paid tribute to his colleagues, saying: “I am honoured to receive this award that recognises original discoveries in the physical sciences.
“Graphene is a supreme representative of a new class of materials that are one-atom-thick and until recently remained missing from our perception of the universe. During the last five years, graphene has become one of the hottest research topics, and the interest shows no sign of receding.
“The area continues deliver a new exciting science, and the applications are no longer wishful thinking. Our work previously attracted a number of awards, and the recognition by the Royal Society is of course a great source of personal pride.
“Also, it is testament to the hard work and dedication taking place here at the University of Manchester, with my many colleagues contributing to this achievement.”
Professor Withers added: “Of course it is nice to be honoured in this way. It is also a credit to all the PhD students and post doctoral fellows who travel all around the world carrying out these experiments, often working very long hours at a stretch to make an experiment a success.
“Through this work we can gain a unique picture of materials and how they perform in 3D. I am delighted to have this recognition from the Royal Society and thank them greatly for it.”
The Professors will receive their awards on November 30th 2010. The Royal Society, the UK’s independent academy for science, recognises excellence of scientific work and the profound implications their findings have had for others working in their relevant fields and wider society.
Notes for editors
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Full details of the winners of the Royal Society 2010 Awards, Medals, Royal Medals and Lectures can be found on their website http://royalsociety.org.
Professor Geim and Professor Withers are available for interview on request
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