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  2. .. and this year's Peter Napier Prize Winners are ...

.. and this year's Peter Napier Prize Winners are ...

We are pleased to announce this year’s winners of the Peter Napier prize.  This prize was endowed by a legacy in 2001 from Peter Napier, an OU graduate who studied many of our physics and astronomy courses. Here are the personal stories of our prize winners. Congratulations to them all.

Howard Fowke

I am a 46 year old married man with three boisterous sons in tow. My wife and I have worked full-time throughout my OU student career.

Quickly developing my ‘time management' skills was essential to juggling what life threw our way. 

I have been studying with the OU for 9 years, finally completing my BSc Hons degree this autumn.

My degree path twisted and turned relentlessly! Eventually it comprised about 60% earth science and 40% physics. 

I found the flexibility built into the OU model of learning in terms of pace and subject essential to the success of my journey.

Each module has been rewarding and I will forever be grateful to the OU for the exhilarating experience it has provided.



Robert Gemmell

I began studying with the OU in early 2011 by enrolling on two science short courses, after having been out of education for eight years. I enjoyed these courses so much that I enrolled on the BSc (hons) Mathematics later that year and subsequently graduated with 1st class honours in 2017. To anyone thinking of studying with the OU: go for it! The learning materials and tutor support are second to none and the sense of achievement upon completing your qualification takes some beating.



Cath Brown

I started at the OU in 2008, and am studying just for fun. I'm mainly a chemist, but I love physics and astronomy too, of course, and have also branched out into engineering, history, and  this year, statistics.  I do have a day job (as a secondary school maths teacher) but I think it would be fair to say the OU has taken over my life(!) - I'm the STEM Faculty Rep with the Students Association, and involved with two of the OU's student science societies, Fusion and Alchemy.   I tend to have a reputation for living on OU forums and social media groups, too!




Iain Walters

I am a 49 year old professional chemist who has worked in the chemical industry since gaining a chemistry degree and doctorate 25 years ago. When I was 42, I started a new job which required commuting to work by bus. I was keen to put this travelling time to good use, so decided to work towards an Open University degree during my daily commute. I had a longstanding interest in quantum mechanics and its interpretation, so the choice of a physics open degree was an easy one. I have spent a fascinating seven years studying a variety of OU physics and maths courses, working mainly towards a deeper understanding of quantum mechanics and relativity, but also taking the opportunity to learn more about other science topics as diverse as electromagnetism, the discovery of extrasolar planets, and the history of maths. It has been an enriching and rewarding experience, which has given me the confidence and ability to continue studying physics independently now that my degree has finished.