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Ruby Payne-Scott Award for excellence in early-career research

The Ruby Payne-Scott medal, which depicts Ruby Payne-Scott

This award was established in 2013 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Australian Institute of Physics.  The award commemorates one of Australia s most outstanding early career physicists, Ruby Payne-Scott, who is best known for her pioneering contributions to radioastronomy in Australia.

The award aims to recognise achievements of exceptionally promising early career physicists.

The Award consists of a medal, a certificate, one year membership of the AIP, and is awarded biennially. The award will be presented to the winner at the AIP Congress in the year of the award.

Eligibility Requirements

Nominees for the award must:

  • not previously have received the Ruby Payne-Scott Award
  • be nominated by a Proposer who is a member of the AIP.
  • be an early career physicist. ‘Early career’ is defined as those individuals in the first 12 years of their career (allowing for any career breaks or part-time study), following the award of a first degree. To be considered, nominees must be within this period, which ends on 1 July in the year which the medal is to be awarded. For example, a person nominated for the 2022 Medal, who has had no career breaks, must have received their first physics related degree no earlier than 1 July 2010;
  • have made contributions in any field of physics which may be presented in a single piece of work or be the sum of several contributions;
  • be prepared to write an article related to the research for which the award was presented that will be published in Australian Physics and present an invited talk at the next AIP Congress or Summer Meeting.

Nomination Process

Completion of the Ruby Payne-Scott Medal nomination form . This nomination form requires the nominee to provide:

  • The names and contact details of three referees who will provide a supporting statement of no more than 300 words to complement the citation provided by the proposer. Referees should be well regarded in the appropriate field, familiar with the work of the nominee as indicated in the citation and be able to comment on the significance of the nominee’s contribution.  At least one referee should be external to the nominee’s present employer and must not be a co-author/collaborator of the nominee. Referees will also be asked to confirm the accuracy of the information provided by the proposer. To assist referees the first two pages of the nomination form and the terms of the award should be sent to them. For a nomination to be considered by the selection committee at least two supporting statements must be received.  The selection committee may contact referees to request supporting statements after the nomination has been submitted if necessary.
  • A one sentence citation capturing the nature of the work, as well as a longer citation (no more than 300 words) that briefly summarises the nominee’s work in relation to the award application. This is to be written for a scientifically literate lay person. This will be used for promotion/certificates if the nominee is successful.
  • A brief curriculum vitae covering personal details, academic and professional qualifications, and outlining significant contributions to physics with references to key publications in which these contributions were presented.
  • A list of the nominee’s most significant publications or academic papers to demonstrate contributions in their chosen area of endeavour (maximum of ten, with dates).

Assessment Criteria

Nominees will be evaluated on the basis of:

  • the significance of the contribution to research made post award of the nominee’s PhD;
  • the impact of the publications and international standing of the applicant;
  • the creativity and innovation of the nominee’s research contributions.

Further Information

    Nominations close1st April of nomination year.

    Submissions should be emailed to

    Previous Winners

    • 2022 Professor Phiala Shanahan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    • 2020 Dr Magdalena Zych, University of Queensland 
    • 2018 Dr Jacquiline Romero, University of Queensland
    • 2016 Dr Marcus Doherty, Australian National University

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