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The Science Behind the IoP Award

The Science Behind the IoP Award

One of our favourite awards to produce, the Institute of Physics awards recognises the achievements of the finest minds within the science. We suitably scientifically celebrate this homage to physicists with a behind the scenes look into the inspiration and techniques that were used to create the trophy. 


Anodised aluminium Acid baths befitting of a Bond villain were used to anodise the aluminium in order to achieve the custom matte black finish. Let’s get into the details. We began by immersing the aluminium block into an acid electrolyte bath where an electric current was passed through the solution. A cathode was mounted to the inside of the tank where the aluminium acted as an anode, allowing that oxygen ions to be released from the electrolyte to combine with the aluminium atoms on the surface of the award. Phew. A good way to think of it, if you are not detail oriented, is that anodising is, in essence, a controlled form of oxidation and results in a lustrous, rich, silky finish on the body of the piece.  

Laser Sublimation 

Laser engraving awardsThe IoP award is decorated with some of the most important equations within the history of the science. How, you ask, did we achieve this effect? We used laser ablation to add the world-changing numbers, signs and symbols to the body of the piece creating points of contrast and interesting tonal effects. Our in house laser engraver heated the anodised aluminium  causing a layer of the anodised metal to sublimate and expose the raw aluminium underneath. Lined up, ready to receive the laser energy, the aluminium body of the award was transformed into something special.

The Equations

IoP AwardsKey equations, central to physics, were chosen to adorn the award. From the Heisenberg equation to the Doppler effect, the Pauli Exclusion principle to Ampere’s law (Maxwell’s 4th equation) all faithfully decorate the body. Indeed, the equations are a homage to the minds who have come before and placed us where we are today. An inspiration, in turn, to those in the field to pick up the torch, carry it and further our knowledge of our realities. 

F = MA 

iop finished awardThe impressive award is certainly weighty and offers a tactile element to compliment the stunning design. Never the ones to miss a chance to dazzle and delight our readers, let’s get down to testing your maths. What is the weight of the award and how would you work it out? Firstly, hint hint, let’s give you the density of the material used; 2.71 g/cm3. Now, as we’re feeling generous, the dimensions of the piece: LXWXH. Finally, if you can’t figure it out from this (you probably still have a long way to go to win one) the answer is.... keep working it out! 

For more information about the award, contact our teams via or call 020 8159 2748.0. 

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