Public engagement recognition for Dr XinRan Liu  

Congratulations to Dr Liu who has been awarded the 2021 Institute of Physics Mary Somerville Medal and Prize.

Dark matter and remote controlled robots 

Dr XinRan Liu is a particle physicist specialising in the direct detection of dark matter. XinRan developed a project called Remote3 which aims to deliver STEM outreach to school children in some of the most remote areas of Scotland. As part of this project, pupils are helped to build and program miniature Mars rovers that they can then remotely operate in the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Mars Yard located at the Boulby Underground Laboratory 1.1 km underground, in which XinRan carries out much of his research.  

XinRan is currently the chair of the Dark Matter UK public engagement committee, co-chair of the Institute of Physics Astroparticle Physics outreach committee and has been elected as the LUX-ZEPLIN Dark Matter Experiment outreach coordinator in the UK. As such he is instrumental in coordinating the UK public engagement effort for Dark Matter physics. 

2021 success stories 

The Mary Somerville Medal and Prize follows in the footsteps of other recognitions XinRan has received this year. XinRan received an STFC Leadership Fellowship in Public Engagement to expand the scope and reach of his Remote3 project across Scotland; and he received recognition for his public engagement activities by becoming a British Science Association Award Lecture winner.   

Institute of Physics  

The Institute of Physics (IOP) is the professional body and learned society for physics, and the leading body for practising physicists, in the UK and Ireland. The IOP awards celebrate physicists at every stage of their career; from those just starting out through to physicists at the peak of their careers, and those with a distinguished career behind them. Its annual awards reflect the wide variety of people, places, organisations and achievements that make physics such an exciting discipline. 

About Mary Somerville 

Mary Somerville was a Scottish science writer and polymath. She studied mathematics and astronomy. She and Caroline Herschel were jointly nominated as the first women members of the Royal Astronomical Society. She is featured on the front of the Royal Bank of Scotland polymer £10 note launched in 2017, alongside a quote from her work 'The Connection of the Physical Sciences', which is one of the biggest-selling science books of the 19th century and was commonly used as a textbook until the early 20th century.