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Philip Leverhulme Lifetime Achievement Award 2023

The Leverhulme Trust has awarded a Philip Leverhulme Lifetime Achievement Award to Professor Sheila Rowan for her outstanding research in gravitational physics and unstinting contribution to the physics community

Introduced in 2001, the Philip Leverhulme Prizes are prestigious prizes for rising star academics who have achieved the highest distinction early in their career and show particularly strong future promise. The Leverhulme Trust Board has decided that now is the right time to recognise those who have achieved that promise. 

The Board has awarded the first Philip Leverhulme Lifetime Achievement Award to Professor Sheila Rowan CBE FRS FRSE FInstP, Chair of Natural Philosophy at the University of Glasgow and director of its Institute for Gravitational Research. Her research focuses on studies of optical materials for use in gravitational wave detectors. This award recognises two aspects of her stellar career: her landmark work on advancing the detection of gravitational waves and her exemplary scientific leadership and broader contributions to the scientific community and beyond.

Professor Rowan won her original Philip Leverhulme Prize in 2005. She was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Physics (FInstP) in 2006, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) in 2008, and a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2018. She was awarded the Fred Hoyle Medal and Prize of the Institute of Physics in 2016 in recognition of her pioneering research on aspects of the technology of gravitational wave observatories. Professor Rowan was Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland from 2016–2021, and she is now President of the Institute of Physics.

Niall FitzGerald, Chairman of the Trust Board, said: ‘The Trust clearly knew what it was doing when it awarded Professor Rowan her original prize in 2005. We strongly believe that recognition for this kind of community service is vital; many congratulations Sheila, for a well-deserved award.’

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