2020 Isaac Newton Medal and Prize Awarded to Nader Engheta

December 16, 2020

Each year since 2008, the U.K.’s Institute of Physics awards the Isaac Newton Medal and Prize to an innovative and groundbreaking physicist from around the world. This year, the award went to optical physicist Nader Engheta for his research into metamaterials, nanoscale optics, and more. Keep reading to learn about the history behind this award and the 2020 recipient.

Isaac Newton Medal and Prize

The Physical Society of London, founded in 1874, and the Institute of Physics, established in 1920, merged in 1960 to form the Institute of Physics and the Physical Society. In 1970, the organization was renamed the Institute of Physics (IOP). In 2020, the society celebrated its 100-year anniversary.

The façade of a nondescript gray building with 27 windows and a wide entrance.
The Institute of Physics building in London. Image by Theresa_knott — Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

In 2008, the inaugural Isaac Newton Medal and Prize were awarded to Anton Zeilinger, an Austrian physicist, for his work in the field of quantum mechanics. The IOP introduced the new award to highlight “outstanding contributions to physics”, and is the first and only award from the organization open to researchers outside of the U.K. and Ireland. Other notable winners since the award came to be include Thomas Kibble, Deborah Jin, and Ed Witten.

The award is named after, of course, well-known English physicist and mathematician Isaac Newton, who is known for discovering the universal law of gravitation.

Award-Winning Wave Optics Research

In 2020, the Isaac Newton Medal and Prize were awarded to Dr. Nader Engheta, an optical physicist based in the University of Pennsylvania. Engheta was awarded the prestigious prize for his research into nanoscale optics and metamaterials.

A portrait photo of a man wearing glasses, a gray suit, and blue tie.
Dr. Nader Engheta. Image by Felice.macera — Portrait sitting. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

According to the IOP announcement, Engheta has made “groundbreaking innovation and transformative contributions” to fields including:

  • Electromagnetic complex materials
  • Nanoscale optics
  • Near-zero-index metamaterials
  • Material-inspired analogue computation
  • Optical nanocircuitry

Congratulations to Dr. Engheta and the rest of the Institute of Physics award winners for recognition of their innovative and inspiring work!

Further Reading

Learn more about Nader Engheta’s award and the Institute of Physics from these resources:

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September 22, 2021

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