UCL Department of Space and Climate Physics


Space & Climate Physics Awards

Every autumn, MSSL recognises the outstanding achievements of members of the laboratory in various categories in memory of past members of staff

Robert Boyd Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement

Sir Robert Boyd (1922-2004) established the Mullard Space Science Laboratory and was its first Director between 1965 and 1983. His pioneering and innovative research did much to establish space science in the UK. Sir Robert was elected FRS in 1969, appointed CBE in 1972 and knighted in 1983.

The award recognises research excellence that has come to fruition in the preceding year and is open to all staff (except academic staff and those on advanced fellowships) who worked in the Department during the last year. The receipient is required to give a presentation of their work at the award ceremony.

Past recipients

2006: Adam Lea
2007: Roberto Mignani
2008: Curtis Saxton
2009: Chris Arridge
2010: Santiago Vargas-Dominguez
2011: Adam Masters
2012: Stefano Pasetto
2013: David Long
2014: Deb Baker
2015: Zhonghua Yao
2016: Jo Bartlett
2017: Myrto Symeonidis
2018: Jasmine Sandhu
2019: Ziri Younsi
2020: William Dunn
2021: Yu Tao
2022: Alessio Spurio-Mancini

Alan Johnstone Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement

Professor Alan Johnstone, a talented, energetic and highly respected scientist, was head of the Space Plasma Physics Group. His wide-ranging expertise included designing space plasma instrumentation and in the scientific study of the aurora, the Earth's magnetosphere and solar wind interactions with other planets and comets. Alan was an inspirational teacher of undergraduate and graduate students, and was a generous, kind and friendly person. This award is in memory of his contribution to graduate training.

The award is open to ALL current PhD students in the Department irrespective of which year they are in, and will be awarded to the individual who has made greatest progress or had the largest impact in research in their field. The receipient is required to give a short presentation of their work at the award ceremony.

Past recipients

2001: Alexi Glover
2002: Ben Lloyd-Hughes
2003: Alex Blustin
2004: Jason Dewhurst
2005: Steven von Fuerst
2006: Gemma Attrill
2007: Patricia Schady
2008: Andrew Walsh
2009: Deb Baker
2010: Samantha Oates 
2011: Missagh Mehdipour
2012: Ziri Younsi 
2013: Robert Grand 
2014: Jack Carlyle 
2015: Jason Hunt
2016: Nadine Kalmoni
2017: Ravi Desai
2018: Peter Taylor
2019: Luke Pratley
2020: Tom Kimpson
2021: Matthew Price
2022: Joel Baby Abraham

John Raymont Award for Outstanding Commitment to MSSL's Technology Programme

John Raymont (1944-2004) joined UCL's Physics Department as a technician at 16, in the 'Rocket Group' and was one of the 12 people who moved from the London campus to MSSL, in 1965. He retired from UCL in 2004 as Experimental Officer, and died at the end of the same year. In his 44-year career in space research John worked on a large number of rocket and satellite experiments, developing his role as test engineer, building a deep knowledge and practical understanding of space instrumentation. John had a drive 'to get the job done properly' which he inspired in those working with him, and which is the foundation of the success of so many of MSSL endeavours.

The award recognises excellence associated with the development of space technologies over a career, as an exceptional achievement in the last year, or as a contribution to a project which as reached a major milestone (e.g. delivery) during the last year. The recipient will be offered the opportunity to give a short presentation of their work, if they wish.

Past recipients

2005: Tom Kennedy
2006: Jason Tandy
2007: Khalid al Janabi
2008: John Coker
2009: Barry Hancock
2010: Berend Winter
2011: Phil Guttridge
2012: Barry Hancock
2013: Tom Hunt
2014: Phil Smith
2015: Gary Davison
2016: Mark Hailey
2017: Tom Kennedy
2018: Chris Brockley-Blatt
2019: Mary Carter
2020: Gethyn Lewis
2021: Gill Watson
2022: Dave Walton

Elizabeth Puchnarewicz Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Outreach

Dr Elizabeth M. Puchnarewicz (Liz) (1964-2003) joined the Mullard Space Science Laboratory in 1988 as a research student and went on to become a Senior Lecturer within the Department before her untimely death in 2003. She was a very respected member of the scientific community, particularly interested in Active Galactic Nuclei, yet also made exceptional, untiring and innovative contributions to Public Outreach and Science Education which are remembered through this award.

MSSL is rightly proud of its extensive outreach programme, much of which is undertaken through the voluntary efforts of its staff and students. This award recognises outstanding commitment to public outreach over the year immediately preceding the submission deadline. The recipient will be offered the opportunity to give a short presentation of their work,if they wish.

Past Recipients

2005: Judy Bartley
2006: Tracy Poole
2007: Alex Blustin
2008: Lucie Green
2009: Ian Hepburn
2010: Sheila Kanani
2011: Chris Brockley-Blatt
2012: Colin Forsyth
2013: PoleCATS Team
2014: George Seabroke
2015: Will Dunn
2016: Geraint Jones
2017: Tom Kitching
2018: Divya Persaud
2019: Jennifer O'Kane
2020: Choong Ling Liew-Cain
2021: Affelia Wibisono
2022: Catherine Regan

Director's Award

Originally awarded occasionally at the discretion of the Director, since 2017 this award has been open for nominations for outstanding contributions in areas not covered by the other awards. Nominations may be made for individuals or teams. The recipient will be offered the opportunity to give a short presentation of their work, if they wish.

Past Recipients

2011: Richard Cole
2013: Phil Guttridge
2014: Howard Huckle
2015: Dave Linder
2017: Libby Daghorn
2018: The SuperNEMO Project Team: Paul Gocher, Tom Hunt, Martin Kemp, Craig Theobald
2019: Sue Ford
2020: Philippa Elwell
2020 Director’s Special Award for an Exceptional Contribution to our COVID-19 Response: Colin Wehrle; Helena Andres Hilarion, Elizabeth Hudson, Benoit Pigneur, Raul Leal, Natasha Magennis, Giles Poulsom, Ian Raper, Katrina Walker, Philippa Elwell, Peipei Zhang and Dimitra Stamogiannou (Education Team)
2021: Andy Fenney
2022: no award


Director's Teaching Award

Presented for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching in the Department, this award recognises excellence in delivering and supporting Teaching during the academic year immediately preceding the submission deadline. Nominations may for example highlight someone who has been working to a consistently very high standard over several years; someone bringing innovative and successful approaches to their own work, or to activities they lead on, or to teaching across the Department; teaching activities where student feedback has been exceptionally positive

Eligibility: Department staff (including all academic staff, teaching staff, administrators and PG teaching assistants) involved in any aspect of teaching on our UG, MSc and MSc Apprenticeship courses and in the administration of those courses. Members of the Department doing service teaching for other Departments are included. PhD student supervision is not within the scope of the award.

Past Recipients

2022: Giles Poulton

Student Poster Prize

The MSSL Student Poster Competition recognises excellence in poster presentations by our current PhD students. Posters are displayed in the common room and may go on to be displayed at UCL in a higher level competition. The award is made by the Director after consultation with senior staff. The recipient may be offered the opportunity to give a short presentation of their work if they wish.

Past recipients

2009: Annie Wellbock (Planetary), "Titan's photoelectrons: Studying the plasma environment of Saturn's Earth-like moon"
2010: Awat Rahimi (Astro)
2011: (1st) Dave Sheldon (Solar), "Dynamics in the solar atmosphere due to emerging flux observed by HINODE and SDO" / (2nd) Rob Grant (Astro) / (3rd) Daoxi Zhang (Imaging) "Understanding the potential and limitations of solar-induced fluorescent imaging of cyanobacteria in oceans"
2014: (1st) David Barnes (Astro) "Large Scale Magnetic Fields" / (2nd) Emma Gale (Climate) "Thailand Flood 2011"
2016: (1st) Nadine Kalmoni (Plasma) / (2nd)  Jennifer Chan (Astro)

UCL Awards

Please consider nominating your colleagues for other UCL awards:

Provost’s awards https://www.ucl.ac.uk/provost/award-schemes
These awards are presented for Teaching, Public Engagement and Spirit of Enterprise.

Faculty prizes https://www.ucl.ac.uk/mathematical-physical-sciences/about-faculty/faculty-prizes
Awards with both Student and Staff prizes.

Professional Services award https://www.ucl.ac.uk/professional-services/prof-services-awards
These awards reward members of the Professional Services teams.

MSSL Awards Panel

The panel deciding the winners of the MSSL Awards in 2022 comprised the following: 
Samantha Babister 
Gary Davison 
Natasha Doss 
Andrew Fazakerley 
Julia Gaudelli 
Daisuke Kawata 
Chris Owen 
Chekfoung Tan 
Vincent Van Eylen