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Institute of Physics (IoP) 2012 Gabor Medal

Awarded to UCL's Professor Alwyn Seeds

Institute of Physics (IoP) award 2012 Gabor Medal to UCL’s Professor Alwyn Seeds

The Institute of Physics (IoP) have awarded UCL’s Professor Alwyn Seeds the 2012 Gabor Medal and Prize for his research on and practical realisation of microwave photonic devices leading to their commercial exploitation in wireless and optical communication systems. The award is made biannually for distinguished work in the application of physics in an industrial, commercial or business context.

Professor Seeds is Head of the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at UCL and Principal Investigator in the London Centre for Nanotechnology. His work is at the interface of physics and engineering. He has produced a string of inventions with considerable implications for the electronics and growing photonics industries. Among his innovations have been highly tuneable semiconductor lasers and the use of quantum dot technology to enable the direct growth of telecommunications wavelength lasers on silicon substrates. This opens up the path for developments in silicon photonics with drive circuitry in the underlying silicon in close contact with light emitters.

He has acquired a world-wide reputation through his creation of the field of Microwave Photonics. He realised that future systems would integrate microwave and optical communications; optical fibres for long range communications and microwave for short range (inter-office, Wi-Fi and mobile phone) communication. His realisation and early development of devices, in which microwaves controlled optical emission and optical absorption determined microwave emission, has aroused enormous interest in industry and academia with many companies and university groups following on from his work. He co-founded the company Zinwave, now a flourishing business, to exploit his ideas.

Professor Seeds said: "Advances in information processing and communication systems depend ever more critically on the Physics underlying new device technologies. It is a great honour for me to be awarded the Gabor Medal and Prize, commemorating, as it does, someone who applied Physics with such success to the creation of new technology."

Notes for editors
Contact details For more information, please contact Tim Bodley-Scott (tel: +44(0) 20 7679 3976 e-mail:
Images Images of Professor Alwyn Seeds can be obtained by calling Tim Bodley-Scott from the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering on +44(0) 20 7679 3976 or by emailing
The UCL Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering
About The Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at UCL was the first department of Electrical Engineering to be established in England and now comprises some 200 researchers working on topics in communications and information systems, electronic materials and devices, optical networks, photonics and sensors, systems and circuits, with turnover exceeding £11 million. It has consistently been rated among the top ten UK Departments in its subject area in the UK Government's Research Assessment Exercise.
University College London
About Founded in 1826, UCL was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to admit students regardless of race, class, religion or gender, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine. UCL is ranked fourth in the world and second in Europe in the 2010 QS World University
Rankings In the decade 1999-2009 it was the most cited university in Europe and the 13th most cited university in the world. UCL alumni include Marie Stopes, Jonathan Dimbleby, Lord Woolf and Alexander Graham Bell. UCL currently has over 12,000 undergraduate and 8,000 postgraduate students. Its annual income is over £750 million.
The Institute of Physics
About The Institute of Physics is a leading scientific society promoting physics and bringing physicists together for the benefit of all. It has a worldwide membership of around 40 000 comprising physicists from all sectors, as well as those with an interest in physics. It works to advance physics research, application and education; and engages with policymakers and the public to develop awareness and understanding of physics. Its publishing company, IOP Publishing, is a world leader in professional scientific publishing and the electronic dissemination of physics.