The Dirac Prize

Prize Details

St John’s College will present the Dirac Prize in Natural Sciences (Physical) again this year. The Dirac Prize is a one-off award of £8,000 to a first year Home undergraduate student coming to study Natural Sciences (Physical) at the College in October 2020.

The prize will be awarded on the basis of both academic excellence and financial need. The aim is to increase the accessibility of the College to applicants from all backgrounds, who might otherwise be daunted by the increasing cost of studying.

Shortlisted students will be invited to apply for the prize and the successful applicant will be announced in the beginning of September. The winner of the prize will receive the award in a ceremony, which will take place in the College, just a few days before the commencement of the academic year.

Paul Dirac

Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac (1902 – 1984) was an English theoretical physicist who is regarded as one of the most significant physicists of the 20th century.

He was born in 1902 at Bristol, England, his father being Swiss and his mother English. He obtained a BSc in Engineering from Bristol University in 1921. He then studied mathematics for two years at Bristol University, and came to St John’s to read for a PhD in Mathematical Physics. He received his PhD in 1926 and became Fellow of the College a year later.

Paul Dirac


Dirac made fundamental contributions to the early development of both quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics. In 1930 Dirac published "The principles of Quantum Mechanics" and for this work he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1933, which he shared with physicist Erwin Schrödinger.