Harrie Massey Medal

Harrie Massey Medal and Prize

Information for Applicants

Background to the Massey Medal and Prize:

The Massey Medal was proposed at the AIP Congress in 1988 and established in 1990 as a gift of the Institute of Physics, UK, to mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of the AIP as a separate institution in 1963.

Sir Harrie Massey, born near Melbourne in 1908, had a distinguished career in the UK and in 1931, with Edward Bullard, published the first experimental evidence for electron diffraction in gases. He saw the potential of using direct rocket probes of the atmosphere layers and eventually, as Chairman of the British National Committee for Space Research, he guided the entire UK space research programme. From 1960-64 he was President of the European Preparatory Commission for Space research. He was knighted in 1960.

Conditions of the Prize:

The prize is awarded every two years for contributions to physics or its applications made by an Australian physicist working anywhere in the world, or by a non Australian resident in, and for work carried out in, Australia. A lecture on the work for which the Medal is awarded is presented at Congress in the year of the award, and an article published in Australian Physics. The recipient must be a member of the Australian Institute of Physics or the Institute of Physics (UK).

Background on Sir Harrie Massey:

Sir Harrie Massey, Hon FInstP, FRS, was born in 1908 about 50 miles from Melbourne, in what was then bush country. By the age of 21 he had gained a joint Honours BSc in physics and chemistry, an MSc in physics and a BA in mathematics. A distinguished and wide-ranging career followed at Cambridge, Queens University Belfast and University College London, with Massey’s publication in 1931 (with Edward Bullard) of the first experimental evidence for electron diffraction in gases, setting the cornerstone for his work on atomic collision theory.

His interest in atomic and molocular processes made him one of the first to see the potential of using direct rocket probes of the atmosphere layers and he devoted his boundless energy to initiating rocket exploration. As chair of the British National Committee for Space Research, he guided the entire UK space research programme and from 1960-64 was president of the European Preparatory Commission for Space Research. He was knighted in 1960.

Massey was President of the Physical Society from 1954 to 1956 and was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Physics in 1976. He died in 1983.

The prize was established as a gift of the IOP to mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of the AIP as an autonomous body in 1963.

Further information and application submission

A call for nominations will be made in Australian Physics each year.  The next call for nominations will close on 1 June 2018.  Further information about this award can be obtained from the AIP Special Projects Officer

Previous winners have been:

  • 2016 Professor Ray Volkas, University of Melbourne
  • 2014 Professor Yuri Kivshar, Australian National University
  • 2012 Dr Anthony Murphy, CSIRO
  • 2010 Professor Hans Bachor, Australian National University
  • 2008 Professor David Cockayne, Oxford University
  • 2006 Professor Bruce McKellar, University of Melbourne
  • 2004 Professor Peter Drummond, University of Queensland
  • 2003 no prize awarded
  • 2002 Professor Robert Delbourgo, University of Tasmania
  • 2001 no prize awarded
  • 2000 Professor Tony Thomas, University of Adelaide
  • 1999 no prize awarded
  • 1998 Professor D Melrose, University of Sydney
  • 1997 Professor D Pegg, Griffith University
  • 1996 Professor A Snyder, Australian National University
  • 1995 Professor A D Buckingham, University of Cambridge
  • 1994 Professor R Baxter, Australian National University
  • 1992 Professor D H Briggs
  • 1990 Professor R Dalitz