Pilkington Award

Did you know that it was his personal qualities which gained Alastair Pilkington a place in the famous glass manufacturing company? In spite of his surname he was not related to the famous glassmaking family.  He worked his way up the hard way, but such was his ability and determination that within a very few years he was the inventor of the Float Process – hailed as the premier glassmaking invention of the twentieth century! Sir Alastair changed the way the world thinks about windows, so this Award is designed to provide a fitting memorial to an extraordinarily gifted man.

The SGT-Alastair Pilkington Award is designed to encourage and recognise excellent work in glass research or innovation achieved by someone who, like Sir Alastair, has come relatively recently into the field of glass studies.   This Award is not restricted to hard science or engineering – it spans all dimensions of glass studies, creativity and research; glass art as well as glass science, conservation and museum studies as well as engineering, history and design as well as molecular dynamics.

We invite applications from any field of glass creativity

The winning candidate will receive 1500 Euros and support in attending the ESG Conference in Saint Malo, France, in 2018. Also he or she will receive a smaller replica of the iconic glass sculpture which is the focus in the Award Ceremony. The Award is funded by the Society of Glass Technology and the Mushroom Trust, a fund set up by Sir Alastair’s family.  The Mushroom Trust takes its name from the cover story provided for workers on the secret float furnaces – they were instructed to tell families and friends that they were looking at ways to use the waste heat from the sheet glass furnaces to grow mushrooms!


The fourth winner of the award in 2018 was Dr Morten Smedskjaer of Aalborg University. His submission for the Pilkington Award related to Pressure-Induced Changes in Interdiffusivity and Compressive Stress in Chemically Strengthened Glass.  The presentation of the prize was held at St Malo PNCS  -ESG Brittany








The third winner of the award was Dr Anita Zeilder of the University of Bath. Her submission for the Pilkington Award related to research work which brought new insights into the structure of glass-forming materials at high pressures and/or high temperatures.  Here again we see the winning candidate receiving her accolade from Ros Christian.











The second winner of the award was Dr Emma Barney of the University of Nottingham, via Warwick University, and post-doctorate at the ISIS neutron diffraction laboratory. Her submission illustrated her investigations of the short range molecular structure of glasses and related crystal phases to gain an insight into the glass network structure and the relationship between modifier and glass former environments. With a deeper understanding of why changes in glass structure occur with composition and how these changes affect the physical properties of the glasses, it would be possible to design glass compositions that are ideally suited for particular applications. She received her Award from Professor Russell Hand, who was President of the Society of Glass Technology at that time.





The first award was presented at the ESG, in Maastricht, to Dr John Mauro of Corning, for his invention of an astonishingly strong thin glass suitable for use in the screens of mobile phones and tablets. In this photograph we see Dr Mauro receiving his Award from Ros Christian, Sir Alastair’s daughter.  He later gave a lecture on the research which led to his ground-breaking development.






Rules and Criteria for the Award

In accordance with the Rules of the Society of Glass Technology, the process of judging the submissions and making a decision about which candidate deserves to be the recipient of the Award shall be under the aegis of the Society’s Board of Fellows. The Board may form a sub-committee to consider the entries in detail and make recommendations, to assist the Board in making this Award. The judgement of the Board of Fellows in making this award is final and non-negotiable. If in any given year the Board judges that none of the entries is of sufficiently high standard to merit the Award, then no award will be made that year.

The Rules and Criteria for this Award are:

  • Applications may be from any glass field where publication in refereed journals is the norm, including glass science, technology, history, archæometry, conservation, design, museology,&c.
  • There is no absolute age limit, but under normal circumstances it is expected that applicants are under 40 years of age (this allows those who come into the glass field later in life to compete).Candidates must demonstrate that they have been employed in the glass field (industry, laboratory, research institute, university, &c.) for no longer than 7 years following training.
  • Each applicant must provide the names, addresses and contact details (telephone numbers and e-mail address) of three referees.
  • Each applicant is restricted to submitting a MAXIMUM of THREE papers, on which the applicant should normally be listed as the SOLE or FIRST-NAMED AUTHOR, or be DEMONSTRABLY THE PRIMARY AUTHOR; that is to say the author should submit his or her three best papers in terms of quality and of substantial personal contribution.
  • The papers MUST be in English and be sufficiently well expressed to be readily understandable.
  • Each paper MUST have been refereed before publication
  • Each paper shall be submitted electronically as a file in pdf format corresponding to the final printed version in the journal concerned.
  • Each paper MUST be accompanied by a statement clearly defining the applicant’s contribution. (This is especially important if the applicant is not the first author.) The applicant must understand that the SGT reserves the right to contact the other authors of a paper to verify such statements.
  • The papers submitted MUST all have been published within a period not exceeding 5 years.
  • Any given applicant shall be limited to a maximum of 3 attempts as a candidate for this award.
  • In making a submission for this award, each candidate accepts these rules and agrees to be bound by them.



Professor Adrian Wright: A.C.Wright@reading.ac.uk

Mr Brian McMillan: brian.w.mcmillan@gmail.com

Issued by the Society of Glass Technology, 9 Churchill Way, Chapeltown, Sheffield S35 2PY phone 0114 2634455

Society of Glass Technology

9 Churchill Way, Chapeltown, Sheffield S35 2PY, Telephone 0114 2634455