Prof Philippa Browning has been awarded the Royal Astronomical Society’s Chapman Medal

The Chapman Medal is awarded for investigations of outstanding merit in solar-terrestrial physics including geomagnetism and aeronomy.

Professor Philippa Browning

100 years after the Royal Astronomical Society first awarded fellowships to female astronomers, Professor Philippa Browning Professor of Astrophysics at the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics has been awarded the Royal Astronomical Society’s Chapman Medal in recognition of “her pioneering work on energy release by magnetic relaxation in stressed coronal magnetic fields”. 

Professor Browning’s research combines two different areas of plasma physics to the benefit of both. Her pioneering work in the 1980s on energy release by magnetic relaxation in stressed coronal magnetic fields formed the basis of an entire field of study of coronal heating, invoking MHD instabilities in the role of so-called “nano-flares”. More recently she has been leading work to confront her early analytical work with state of the art numerical simulations, and finding excellent agreement. She has extended her work into complex magnetic geometries representative of the tangled corona and investigated how relaxation can also lead to the acceleration of particles in solar flares. 

In short, Philippa has provided an original, innovative and seminal model to solve an outstanding problem in solar astrophysics and has demonstrated its viability and utility through numerical simulations.

Prof Browning also chairs the IOP’s Plasma Physics Group and is on the advisory panel of the Institute’s Women in Physics Group and is on the RSA's list of 21 Female Fellows to watch in the 21st Century, a story picked up by the BBC in their Watching the Heavens section.


Institute of Physics Juno Champion Award

A message from the Head of School, Professor Steve Watts

I am delighted to tell you that the Institute of Physics (IOP) has informed me that the School has been awarded Juno Champion status in recognition of the determined efforts within the School to embed the Juno Principles. 

It is important to state again that the School is totally committed to the following principles, 

• A robust organisational framework to deliver equality of opportunity and reward 

• Appointment and selection processes and procedures that encourage men and women to apply for academic posts at all levels 

• Departmental structures and systems which support and encourage the career progression and promotion of all staff and enable men and women to progress and continue in their careers. 

• Departmental organisation, structure, management arrangements and culture that are open, inclusive and transparent and encourage the participation of all staff. 

• Flexible approaches and provisions that enable individuals, at all career and life stages, to optimise their contribution to their department, institution and to SET.


You can find out more about Project Juno on the Institute of Physics website 

This award is equivalent to Athena SWAN Silver, and as a result we will be fast tracked to a Athena SWAN Silver Award at the next available submission date. 

This has been made possible due to the efforts of all, led by students and staff on the Equality and Diversity Committee and Juno Committee, chaired by Prof. Jian Lu and Dr Mark Hughes respectively. 

Mark deserves an extra thank you as he has worked tirelessly on the Juno application paperwork and advising and helping to embed Juno Principles in the School operations.

Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences Better World Awards 2016

The Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences is committed to recognising the excellent social responsibility work carried out by staff and students which makes the World Work Better With Us and we want to celebrate this.

The Faculty Awards raise awareness of the initiatives that staff and students are supporting amongst colleagues within the University and beyond. A nomination to the Faculty awards can also automatically put the nominee forward for a University Making a Difference Award which would further raise the profile of the project.  There is also a hope that the awards will inspire  others to get involved in social responsibility projects, Making a Difference to our local community and beyond. 

The celebration event on the 9th February 2016 provided the opportunity showcase the wide range of work our staff and students are involved in and see how the World really does Work Better With Us.  

The School of Physics and Astronomy won awards in many areas; The winners were:

Mark Hughes, Senior Lecturer, School of Physics and Astronomy

Outstanding contribution to improving equality and diversity

Mark is always involved indifferent diversity initiatives bringing enthusiasm and drive to all aspects, regardless of the equality group. Mark chairs the School's project Juno COmmittee and winning this award has come just days after the School found out that the application for Juno Champion was succcessful.

The Jodcast, Astronomy podcast, School of Physics and Astronomy

Outstanding student-led public engagement activity

The Jodcast is a podcast that brings research astronomy to a wide and diverse audience. It takes the form of a twice monthly, hour long show in which we describe the night sky, interview visiting academics, answer listener questions and round up the latest astronomy news to ~10,000 listeners worldwide. 

Collin Baines, Paul Jordan, Catherine Davies, Richard Cutting(EPS Apprenticeship Management Team), EPS Technical Apprentice Programme, EPS Faculty Office

Special Award for Social Responsibility

The main aims of the apprenticeships is to provide local young learners with the opportunity to train as an apprentice gaining valuable transferable skills that will afford the opportunity to develop a rewarding career as a specialist laboratory or mechanical support technician within the University.    

Adrian Parker, Steve Oliver, Diane Masterson-Kerr, Eps Business Administration Apprentice programme, EPS Faculty office.

Special Award for Social Responsibility

EPS have engaged with University development in the employment of Apprentices to offer career opportunities in business administration as a great route to employment for young people. Our Scheme enables people who have struggled in the formal education system to thrive whilst studying for a work-based qualification.

The School of Physics and Astronomy has participated in both of the apprenticeship schemes, providing both technical and administrative roles for apprentices.

Due to the number of high quality applications, the Faculty decided to Highly Commend some nominees. Again, the School was recognised here as well. Highly Commended were:

Philip Thomas, PhD researcher at the NowNano Doctoral Training Centre, School of Physics and Astronomy

Outstanding student led public engagement activity

The initiative aims to engage (and re-engage) students with science through school talks showing how "boring" science can be used in exciting applications, paticulary in the weirder realms of nanoscience. 

Josh Hayes, Luke Simpson and UMPO (Univeristy of Manchester Physics Outreach) Physics undergraduate student group, School of Physics and Astronomy

Outstanding student-led public engagement activity  

UMPO, an entirely student run outreach team coming up with creative ways to engage new audiences with physics – initially developed by two physics undergraduates as a summer project, this has expanded to a group of 100 student volunteers sharing their knowledge of and enthusiasm for physics with the public and schools.

Sabah Salih, Computer Manager, School of Physics and Astronomy

Outstanding contribution to improving equality and diversity.

Physics and Astronomy have an annual international day event in the School in Oct/Nov time. The event encourages staff and students to attend to raise awareness of the many different nationalities and cultures within the School. We currently have staff and students from 32 different countries. 

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