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  • NPL Senior Fellow wins prestigious Royal Society Award

NPL Senior Fellow wins prestigious Royal Society Award

Professor Patrick Gill MBE FRS receives the Rumford Medal from the Royal Society for his outstanding contribution to the scientific community.

Throughout his distinguished career, Professor Gill has made significant contributions in the field of physics. The Rumford Medal has been awarded for his development of optical atomic clocks of exquisite precision, of ultra-stable lasers and of frequency standards for fundamental physics, quantum information processing, space science, satellite navigation and Earth observation.

Joining NPL in 1975, Professor Gill led his own research group from the early 80s and started research in ion trapping and laser cooling for optical frequency standards. He was promoted to Individual Merit NPL Fellow in 1992 and Senior Fellow in 1997. He has Visiting Professor positions at the Physics Departments of Imperial College (1999 on) and University of Oxford (2006 on). He also represented NPL on the CIPM International Consultative Committees for Time & Frequency (CCTF) and for Length (CCL) for 2 decades. Professor Gill received his MBE for services to Science in 2015 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2016.

Professor Gill’s current research is focused on high accuracy atomic clocks, which form the basis for the SI unit of time, the second, which underpins international timescales and satellite navigation systems. They are critical for applications across a wide range of sectors, including space, aerospace, defence and security, critical infrastructure, just-in-time industrial supply, communications and synchronisation, transport and even power grid management and high frequency financial services.

Professor Gill is the Scientific co-director of the NPL Quantum Metrology Institute, the leading centre for test and evaluation for quantum devices, and as the UK’s National Metrology Institute, NPL is committed to helping make the most of the new opportunities quantum presents.

Professor Gill’s contributions to quantum research include the development of ultra-stable lasers stabilised by optical cubic cavities and high accuracy optical clocks for improved tests of fundamental physics and their future use in space science applications including enhanced satellite navigation, Earth’s gravity mapping, atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration monitoring and gravity wave detection. Along with NPL colleagues, Professor Gill has also contributed to the original NPL Microtrap development using segmented silicon-on-silica wafer designs for research into future ion-based quantum computing.

Professor Patrick Gill, Senior NPL Fellow, states: “I feel extremely honoured to have been awarded the 2020 Rumford Medal by the Royal Society. It highlights my research at the National Physical Laboratory over the past 45 years, covering development of the precision metrology afforded by optical clocks and frequency standards in anticipation of a future optical redefinition of the SI second.

Of course, I pay tribute to the many colleagues at NPL who have helped make this happen.  Also, I must recognise the many successful collaborations with UK academia in atomic physics, photonics and quantum technologies, and with the international frequency standards and space communities.”

Read more about Professor Gill’s career and work here.

Find out more about NPL’s work in Quantum and Time and Frequency

04 Aug 2020