Prestigious Institute of Physics award for Bristol scientist
Press release issued: 2 July 2019
Professor Stephen Hayden from the University of Bristol’s School of Physics has been awarded the prestigious Mott Medal from the Institute of Physics (IOP) for his distinguished contributions to condensed matter physics.
The IOP is the UK and Ireland’s professional body for practicing physicists and has a rich history of supporting and nurturing talent, providing learning resources to schools, colleges and higher education institutions (HEIs), and of advising science and education policy makers.
Its awards recognise, celebrate and reflect the impact and applications of physics in everyday life, the breadth of the discipline in academia, industry and medicine, and its impact in extraordinary human achievements.
Professor Hayden is a world-renowned experimental physicist distinguished for use of novel neutron scattering techniques in studying collective magnetic excitations in superconductors and other strongly correlated electron materials.
He has made ground-breaking measurements on high temperature cuprate, iron-based and heavy-fermion superconductors. His work has had lasting impact, making major contributions to the theoretical understanding of the systems investigated.
Professor Hayden's work on charge order in cuprate superconductors has also been highly influential. His groups' results have shown the detailed structure of the charge density waves and importantly how they interact with superconductivity as the latter is tuned with high magnetic field. It has been suggested that this charge order could play an important role in the mechanism of high temperature superconductivity.
Significant advances have also been made in studies of other strongly correlated materials, in particular ruthenate metals. In Sr3Ru2O7, measurements led by Professor Hayden, revealed the existence of a magnetic-field-induced spin-density wave, thus identifying the nature of the field induced quantum critical nematic state in this material. Sr3Ru2O7 has been a model system for studying electronic nematic order which now has applications in many other systems, including iron-based and cuprate superconductors.
Professor Hayden said: “I am thrilled to receive this recognition from my colleagues. It has been wonderful to work with so many talented people throughout my career.”
The Mott Medal was instituted by the Council of the Institute of Physics in 1997 to commemorate Sir Nevill Mott FRS, President of The Physical Society (the forerunner of the IOP) from 1956 to 1958 and Nobel Laureate in physics in 1977 who died in 1996. He was a Professor of Physics at Bristol before moving to Cambridge.
Sir Mott was the outstanding British theoretical physicist of his generation who had a major influence on the development of condensed matter and materials physics in the UK. The award is made for distinguished research in condensed matter or materials physics.
Institute of Physics President, Professor Dame Julia Higgins said: “Every year I am reminded of the rich pool of exceptional talent we have in the UK and Ireland. On behalf of the Institute of Physics, I warmly congratulate all this year’s winners.
“As we move rapidly into an ever more technological era, it is so important to encourage, foster and support today’s and tomorrow’s scientists, science teachers and technicians. They enable us to live the comfortable, healthy, well-connected lives we have become accustomed to, and they explore new boundaries to enrich our knowledge of the world we inhabit.
“As well as rewarding personal achievement, our awards also celebrate the diversity of our physics community. We are proud that our professional community is comprised of so many sections of society. We will continue to encourage everyone to explore science and will strive to remove the barriers to learning that some encounter, so that everyone who wants to, can learn and enjoy science for as long as they wish.”
All award winners will be celebrated at the Institute’s annual Awards Dinner, to be held this year on 19 November at the Royal Lancaster London Hotel, where they will be presented by the President with their medal, a prize of £1,000 and a certificate.