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.
Professor Susan Scott delivered the 2020 Dirac Public Lecture and presented the remarkable story of gravitational waves and black holes. They are both predictions of Einstein’s general theory of relativity which he presented to the world in 1915. They both have had torrid histories with many twists and turns. Incredibly, they both came together in 2015 with the first direct detection of gravitational waves on Earth, exactly 100 years after Einstein had devised his revolutionary theory.