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Robert Woodward awarded Cavendish and Westminster Medals at SET for Britain

Parliament committee receives briefing on photonics

03 April 2015

SPIE Member Robert Woodward, a PhD student in the Femtosecond Optics Group at Imperial College London, was awarded the Gold Award for Physics (Cavendish Medal) and the Westminster Medal at the SET for Britain event at Westminster last month.

Woodward, co-president of the SPIE Student Chapter at Imperial College, received the two awards for his work on ultrafast laser development using nanomaterials.

SET for Britain is an annual poster competition in the UK House of Commons to inform members of Parliament about the importance of scientific research and encourage, support and promote Britain's early-career researchers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Andrew Miller, a member of Parliament and chair of its Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, chaired this year's SET for Britain and presented the awards at Portcullis House, Westminster, 9 March.

Woodward is a second-year student focusing on development of high-power fiber lasers and short-pulse generation using nanomaterials, such as carbon nanotubes and graphene. He has a master's degree in electrical and electronic engineering from University of Cambridge.

The Westminster Medal is for the overall winner of the poster competition and was established in memory of Eric Wharton, who started the competition in the House of Commons in 1992 and died in 2007.

photo of prize award, copyright John Deehan Photography

At SET for Britain, left to right: Dr. Stephen Benn (Society of Biology, a Vice President of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, and Master of Ceremonies for the SET for Britain final); Andrew Miller (MP and chairman, Parliamentary and Scientific Committee); Angel Strank (chief scientist at BP); Woodward.
Photo copyright John Deehan Photography Ltd.

Later in March, members of Miller's Parliamentary and Scientific Committee also received specific information on photonics and its many applications in medicine, lighting and astronomy during a symposium on light, chaired by Miller.

Representatives from SPIE, UK Photonics Leadership Group, University of Southampton/ORC, the Royal Astronomy Society, and other optics and photonics organizations gave committee members an overview on photonics' applications.

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