National Physical Laboratory

2016 Rayleigh Award recognises outstanding science with impact

John Keightley, Andy Pearce, Andrew Fenwick, Sean Collins, Kelley Ferreira and Lena Johansson have won this year's Rayleigh Award for their paper, Standardisation of 223Ra by liquid scintillation counting techniques and comparison with secondary measurements, published in Applied Radiation and Isotopes.

The paper describes the primary standardisation of the radioactive decay of radium-223, a radioisotope used in the palliative treatment of bone metastases associated with prostate cancer in over 2,500 clinics worldwide. In order to prescribe the correct radiopharmaceutical dose, details of each characteristic radionuclide decay must be known to high precision.

The Rayleigh Award is NPL's most prestigious internal award, given yearly to the author(s) of the most outstanding published paper. The award is highly competitive, and papers are judged on their creativity and novelty, the extent and quality of the scientific investigation, potential impact, and clarity and accessibility.

Choosing a winner

NPL Fellows Bajram Zeqiri, Helen Margolis, Richard Brown, Ian Robinson and Mark Gee, and Director of Research Jason Crain reviewed the submitted papers as this year's internal panel. Although the quality of submitted papers was high, and the judging as difficult as ever, the judges felt the winning paper stood out as an example of NPL metrology at its best – excellent measurement science coupled with clear and demonstrable impact.

Special recognition

Two other papers scored highly, and equally, and were awarded as joint runners-up:

Melissa Passarelli, Carla Newman, Peter Marshall, Andrew West, Ian Gilmore, Josephine Bunch, Morgan Alexander and Colin Dollery, Single-cell Analysis: Visualizing pharmaceutical and metabolite uptake in cells with label-free 3D mass spectrometry imaging , published in Analytical Chemistry.

Christopher Ball, Amelia Marks, Paul Green, Alasdair MacArthur, Marion Maturilli, Nigel Fox and Martin King, Hemispherical-Directional Reflectance (HDRF) of Windblown Snow-Covered Arctic Tundra at Large Solar Zenith Angles, published in IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing.

The Panel was particularly impressed with two publications from early career scientists, authors in the first 10 years of their scientific career, and conferred Early Career Awards on Natalie Belsey and Naresh Kumar for their papers:

Natalie Belsey, Alex Shard and Caterina Minelli, Analysis of protein coatings on gold nanoparticles by XPS and liquid-based particle sizing techniques, published in Biointerphases.

Naresh Kumar, Bruno Stephanidis, Renato Zenobi, Andrew Wain and Debdulal Roy, Nanoscale mapping of catalytic activity using tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, published in Nanoscale.

Jason Crain commented: "It is a pleasure to celebrate the ingenuity, creativity and impact of NPL's scientists demonstrated by the papers submitted. The quality, volume and variety of NPL science continues to rise and we are continuing to seek ways of recognising the excellence of our technical activities and the effect they have on customers and stakeholders. This year's Rayleigh Award is a world-class example of high impact metrology and I congratulate the winners on behalf of the Laboratory."

Honouring a distinguished legacy

Lord Rayleigh
John William Strutt, Lord Rayleigh

The Rayleigh Award is granted each year in memory of the scientific distinction and influence of John William Strutt, the 3rd Baron Rayleigh.

Lord Rayleigh was a distinguished scientist and was instrumental in the establishment and early running of NPL. Recognising the need for a national laboratory to further British physical research, he used his considerable influence with royalty and senior government ministers to gain support for the creation and funding of NPL. Rayleigh Chaired NPL's first Executive Committee; appointed NPL's first, and eminent director, Sir Richard Tetley Glazebrook; and was influential in the decision to site NPL at Bushy Park

In addition to his bureaucratic acumen, Lord Rayleigh was a scientific polymath. He published research on a broad range of topics, from wave theory, to light-scattering, to photography, even on the dynamic soaring of seabirds. Rayleigh was the second Cavendish Professor of Physics at the University of Cambridge (after James Clerk Maxwell), a Fellow of Trinity College, President of the Royal Society, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1904 for his discovery of argon with William Ramsay.

Learn more about Lord Rayleigh's life and work

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Last Updated: 1 Sep 2016
Created: 22 Apr 2016

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