The Dirac Medal for the Advancement of Physics is awarded by the University of New South Wales jointly with the Australian Institute of Physics on the occasion of the Dirac public lecture, held approximately annually at UNSW.

The Lecture and Medal commemorate a visit to UNSW in 1975 by Prof. Paul Dirac, who gave a series of five lectures. The lectures were subsequently published as a book Directions of Physics (Wiley, 1978 – H. Hora and J. Shepanski, eds.), the royalties from which were used to establish the Medal, which was first awarded in 1979. Past winners include: David Pines, Klaus von Klitzing and Brian Schmidt (full list here)

From 2018, the Medal/Lecture is open to external nominations, which will be shortlisted and reviewed by the Dirac committee in the School of Physics at UNSW. The selection criteria include a) distinguished contributions to the physics and b) demonstrated capability to to present a compelling public lecture on the physics surrounding their area of research. Nominations are open for distinguished contributions to all branches of physics including, but no longer limited to, theoretical physics.

Nominations and questions can be directed to the Chair of the Dirac Committee at:


Recent winners


Harvard University

For Lene and her team's work on slowing, stopping and restarting light. The observations represent the ultimate control over the inter-conversion of light and matter, and point to novel paradigms for quantum information processing.

Nomination form: Not Available

Nomination procedure: The nomination process should be completed by:

  1. Adding the required contact details for the nominee to the form.
  2. Adding text to the grounds for nomination and public lecture sections without exceeding ½ page for either. The text currently in the boxes can be deleted; they are advisory notes.
  3. Convert the completed form to pdf and add the CV (3 pages max) as Pages 3-5.
  4. Send the final 5-page maximum nomination by email to

Nominators should confirm the nominee is aware they are being nominated and would be willing to present the Dirac lecture at UNSW at a mutually convenient time, if awarded. Self-nominations are acceptable.

The deadline for 2020 nominations is Friday 15th November 2019.


Nominees (1 x male, 3 x female; 3 x US, 1 x EU)

Shortlist (1 x male, 3 x female; 3 x US, 1 x EU)