Category Archives: awards


Reflecting Photonics IYL garden voted Best Garden

Designer Helen Elks-Smith’s Reflecting Photonics won a Gold medal and the People’s Choice Award at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) show at Tatton Park. The garden was inspired by the International Year of Light and the fibre optics work being carried out at University of Southampton. An outreach team of post-graduate students from Southampton took part in the event and spoke to over 2,000 people, handing out information on the garden and fibre optics research at Southampton.

Pearl John, Southampton’s SEPnet Outreach Officer and Public Engagement team leader for Physics and Astronomy, who has been working on the project said, “I’m very glad that the enthusiastic response we’ve had from people visiting the garden and talking to our outreach team. Having our outreach team there really helped the garden win the People’s Choice Award for Best Garden.”

The International Year of Light themed garden was also featured in a special BBC programme on the RHS Tatton Show, which can be seen here .


Juno Champion for QMUL

Queen Mary’s School of Physics and Astronomy commended for commitment to gender equality. QMUL’s School of Physics and Astronomy has been awarded Juno Champion status by the Institute of Physics (IOP) in recognition of action they have taken to address the under-representation of women in university physics. The school becomes only the 13th in the country to be awarded Champion Status, the highest of three levels awarded to those taking part in the IOP’s Project Juno.


Physics Outreach Award at St Mary’s

SEPnet would like to congratulate Dr Elisabetta Canetta on winning the Outstanding Performance Award for her excellent contribution to physics outreach at St Mary’s University. Elisabetta has won this award in recognition of her ongoing efforts to build and grow a physics outreach programme at St Mary’s. Just this year Elisabetta has delivered activities in physics including a Solar Eclipse event, Physics Café talks, running the annual physics summer school for Year 12 students and running taster sessions for widening participation students. She has also been responsible for events which explore the interface between physics and theology, including a Physics and Faith workshop, and physics and philosophy. All of these have raised the profile of physics at St Mary’s.

These Awards are given by St Mary’s to those staff that go above and beyond to make a difference and contribute to St Mary’s mission, strategic objectives and values. Elisabetta has also been running the new Physics course at St Mary’s over the last few years and is also their SEPnet Outreach Officer.

For more information on St Mary’s Physics Outreach programme and upcoming events please see:


OBE for Averil MacDonald

SEPnet is delighted that Averil MacDonald, its Diversity and Impact Lead, was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List announced on the 13th June. The award was for Services to Women in Science and for services to Public Engagement in Science.

Averil Macdonald holds both Diversity Lead and Impact lead roles in SEPnet and is Professor Emerita of Science Engagement at the University of Reading. In 2014 she published a report “Not for People like Me” on Under-represented groups in science, technology and engineering. A summary of the evidence: the facts, the fiction and what we should do next.

Averil has been awarded the international Bragg Medal and Prize by the Institute of Physics, London. She chairs the UK Expert Group for Women in Science reporting on the success of the Government’s Strategy for Women in Science, and sits on the Equality Challenge Unit’s Athena SWAN Advisory Committee. She is also UK representative on the EU ‘Helsinki Group’ advising on good practice on gender equality in EU Horizon 2020 programme.