The John Yarwood Memorial Medal has been awarded to Richard Palmer, Professor of Experimental Physics and Head of the Nanoscale Physics Research Laboratory (NPRL), by the British Vacuum Council (BVC). The Medal accompanies the Senior Prize of the BVC; previous winners include Sir David King and Sir John Pendry. The BVC is the body which represents internationally the professional interests of UK scientists and engineers whose work depends on vacuum technology, such as surface, semiconductor and plasma science and nanotechnology. The Medal was presented by the Council’s past-Chair Professor Martin McCoustra of Heriot-Watt University, during the Awards Ceremony and Reception at the 60th International Symposium of the American Vacuum Society (AVS) in Long Beach, California. At the same conference, which attracted 2300 delegates, PhD students Karl Bauer and Lu Cao joined Richard in promoting a series of NPRL inventions through a booth at the famous AVS technical exhibition (the only University stand out of 150!).

The Medal and Prize were awarded to Richard for his contributions to surface and nanoscale science, reflecting his pioneering research in atomic manipulation, nanoclusters and nanofabrication. Richard founded the NPRL at Birmingham as the first centre for nanoscience in the UK in 1994; his interests in what was then a fledgling field emerged from his previous research in surface science at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge. Outputs from the Lab over the past two decades include several hundred publications, about twenty families of patent applications and a series of new companies to exploit the inventions and discoveries made.