University of Warwick Professor Phil Woodruff, from Harbury in Warwickshire, has won the prestigious 2003 Mott Medal and £1000 prize, awarded by the Institute of Physics. What's more, Professor Woodruff's pioneering research could mean that his silver medal never rusts.
The prize is awarded for distinguished research in the specialist field of "surface and interface science", which focuses on the surfaces of materials and on understanding the structure of substances such as metals and semiconductors.
The technology has a huge variety of applications, and progress could mean that corrosion and rust is a thing of the past. Surface science has helped to revolutionise everyday life, and has played a crucial part in the development of modern day technology.
Professor Woodruff explained: "Computer data storage and electronics have improved through surface science developments. For example, the way that hard disks are read has changed over the last 20 years, computers have become smaller and faster, largely because developments have radically reduced the size of the micro-chip."
Professor Woodruff is internationally recognised as a master at creating atom-by-atom models that explain the properties of solid materials, such as metals. His innovative work, which has opened up new fields of physics, has won a number of awards, including:
- The American Vacuum Society Medard W Welch Award, 2000
- British Vacuum Council Prize, 1998
- Max Planck Research Prize, Germany, 1994
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