Dr Lucy Clark awarded 2019 BTM Willis Prize

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Dr Lucy Clark receives the Willis Prize from Dr Katharina Edkins from Queen’s University Belfast, Secretary of the IOP/RSC Neutron Scattering Group
Dr Lucy Clark (left) receives the BTM Willis prize from Dr Katharina Edkins from the IOP/RSC Neutron Scattering Group

Dr Lucy Clark, one of the recently appointed Materials Innovation Factory lecturers in the School of Physical Sciences, received the 2019 BTM Willis Prize at this year’s UK Neutron and Muon Science and User Meeting, which took place from 29th April – 1st May at the University of Warwick.

The BTM Willis Prize is given in honour of the late Prof Terry Willis, who was a pioneer of neutron scattering methods. Neutrons are subatomic particles that can be used to study materials at the atomic level. In particular, neutron scattering experiments – which can be performed at central facilities such as the UK’s ISIS Neutron and Muon Source at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory – give detailed information about the structure and dynamics of materials that aids both the design of new materials, as well developing our understanding of the behaviour of a vast range of functional materials.

The prestigious prize is awarded annually by the joint Royal Society of Chemistry and Institute of Physics Neutron Scattering Group to early career researchers within the first 12 years after their first degree, who have shown excellence in the field of neutron scattering, based on a single piece of research or a more substantial project as evidenced by a series of research outputs.

This year, the committee selected Lucy for the award for her outstanding research in the field of quantum materials, and in particular, using neutron scattering in combination with complementary techniques to generate a fundamental understanding of these fascinating materials. With this work, Lucy bridges the gap between synthesising new materials and understanding their properties, a powerful combination for rational materials design. In doing so, Lucy has generated a series of publications in high-impact journals ranging from Angewandte Chemie to Physical Review Letters, and most recently Nature Physics. She is frequently invited to give talks on her work using neutrons at international conferences and university research seminars and serves the neutron scattering community as a member of facility access review panels in the UK and USA.

In recognition of her prize, Lucy gave a plenary lecture to an interdisciplinary audience of over 300 delegates at the meeting in Warwick, giving an overview of recent developments in materials research at Liverpool as well as the importance of exploring new materials with neutrons and muons.