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The TH Laby medal, which depicts Thomas H. Laby

Reproduction of Image on medal supplied with permission. 

Copyright National Portrait Gallery, London.

The Thomas H Laby medal for the best Honours or Masters thesis from an Australian University was established in 2018 to commemorate Thomas H. Laby, and is based on the former Laby Medal, which was awarded annually by the Victorian Branch between 1992-2009 for the most outstanding Victorian Honours Physics student thesis.

The award consists of a medal, certificate and monetary prize of $1000,  and one year membership of the AIP. The medal will be presented to the chosen candidate at the AIP Congress in Congress years and in non-Congress years at the AIP Summer Meeting. Reasonable expenses in attending the presentation will be met by the Council of the AIP.

The award is supported by a generous bequest from the late Betty Laby, daughter of Thomas Howell Laby. Up to two awards will be made each year.

Eligibility Requirements

  • The Honours or Masters thesis has been produced as part of a one or two year Honours or Masters program prior to the award cut off
  • The degree undertaken must have at least 25% assessed by coursework and at least 25% assessed by research thesis.
  • The degree must have come under the auspices of an Australian university.
  • Nominee has not previously been nominated for the Thomas H Laby Medal.
  • The nominee, if successful, must 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 a contributed talk at the next AIP Congress or Summer Meeting.

Nomination Process

Completion of the Thomas H Laby Medal nomination form. This nomination form requires the nominee to provide:

  • a one sentence citation capturing the nature of the work;
  • the thesis (nominators should note that when attaching a link to the student thesis, this link must be accessible by others outside of their own university);
  • the nominee’s academic transcript for their coursework;
  • a letter of recommendation, outlining the significance of the work, from the Head of School. If the Head of School is the supervisor, then this letter should come from the Deputy Head or the Chair of the Research Training committee or equivalent;
  • a statement briefly outlining relative opportunity for research specific to program type;
  • a statement outlining the creative contribution of the student and their individual research efforts to physics knowledge and development.  Of particular interest is the contribution made at the individual level rather than from a research group level.

Assessment Criteria

Thesis quality will be judged on the:

  • Research quality / impact;
  • Marked transcript;
  • Clarity and quality of communication;
  • Creative contribution of the student.

Nomination Timeline - key dates in the nomination process:

Each university may submit either one nomination, or two nominations if the candidates are of different genders.

The nomination from each university should reach the Secretary of the local State Branch committee of the AIP by April 15 each year.  Please do not send university nominations to the Awards Coordinator directly. They must be assessed by the State Branch first. 

Branches may submit one nomination, or two nominations if the candidates are of different genders. Large branches (VIC, NSW) may submit up to three nominations, provided the candidates are not all of the same gender.

The best thesis/theses, as selected by the State Branch committee, is then forwarded to the AIP Awards Coordinator to the  by 1st June each year.

Further information

Candidates are only eligible to apply for this award once.

Previous Winners

  • 2023 Martha Reece, Australian National University

  • 2022 Katherine Curtis, Australian National University

  • 2021 Ethan Payne, Monash University

  • 2020 Matthew Goh, Australian National University

  • 2019 Simon White, University of Technology Sydney

  • 2018 Felicity Lee, Australian National University & Albert Zhou, University of Sydney
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