VSW Founding Editor Dr Andrew Chew Awarded the Harry Leck Memorial Medal

Posted by Vacuum Science World News on Aug 16, 2022 3:30:00 PM

From leading scientists and engineers to celebrated business managers — at Vacuum Science World, we’re proud to have many expert contributors within our ranks. Today we highlight the achievements of Dr Andrew Chew, Vacuum Science World Founding Editor.

On the 12th of July, Andrew was awarded the Harry Leck Memorial Medal at Vacuum Symposium UK. The medal is given to those who have made distinguished contributions to the field of vacuum science and technology.



Dr Andrew Chew receiving the Harry Leck award from Robin Hathaway of SS Scientific Limited, Trustee of Vacuum Symposium.


From Andrew’s first experiment to developing cutting-edge vacuum applications

Andrew conducted his first vacuum experiment in 1989. As the final year project for his BSc degree in Physics at the University of York, the experiment investigated a proposed dependence on mass of acceleration due to gravity. It involved measuring how spheres of different materials and mass — but the same diameter — would fall within a vacuum chamber.

Andrew completed his PhD in Vacuum Physics at the University of York (UK) and under the supervision of Austin Chambers. His PhD focused on vacuum metrology and the measurement of tangential momentum accommodation coefficients.

Andrew stayed at the University of York on a post-doctoral fellowship, where he collaborated with the KFZ in Karlsruhe to investigate a new technique for measuring the intrinsic drag torques of high temperature superconductor bearings. He then joined the Central Technical and Application Group at Edwards Vacuum in 1995 as a Technologist.

His work at Edwards included the fundamental assessment and development of vacuum mechanisms and continued work on the gas-surface interface. In his earlier years at Edwards, Andrew worked with vacuum luminaries who were at the end of their careers, including Henry Wycliffe, whose development of the dry pump revolutionised the use of vacuum in the semiconductor and other process industries.

Andrew enjoyed a range of roles at Edwards, including market development across the entire spectrum of vacuum applications, such as analytical instrumentation, medical, R&D, semiconductor, and solar. His extensive work in vacuum engineering enabled him to gain registration as a Chartered Engineer.


A career at the forefront of vacuum science 

Andrew currently works as Global Applications Manager for Atlas Copco’s Scientific Vacuum Division. His work involves developing vacuum application solutions and product technologies, mentoring, and training colleagues across all continents that Atlas operates within. Reflecting his experience and expertise, Andrew is responsible for identifying vacuum industry trends and emerging technologies.

Apart from editing Vacuum Science World, he has served on the British Vacuum Council and is the current Chair of the IOP Vacuum Group. Andrew has made more than 50 conference presentations, has over 40 publications, and has produced six patents.

By awarding Andrew the Harry Leck Memorial Medal, Vacuum Symposium UK is acknowledging the profound impact that Andrew’s contributions have had on vacuum science. Andrew shared some insights on his career and the honour he felt in accepting the award:

“Over the last 36 years I have had the privilege of meeting and working with past, present and future generations of vacuum practitioners on every continent on Earth — including those in academia, government institutions and a huge range of industries and commercial enterprises as well as in vacuum manufacturing. I maintain that these people pursued and pursue a scientific discipline with the largest dynamic range of 18 orders of magnitude and with a vast number of avenues of investigation. 

The applications of their work has had, and continues to have, major impacts and tangible benefits globally. Meeting this challenge, they have proved to be the most collaborative, open-minded, unbiased, inquisitive, innovative, industrious, imaginative, resourceful, productive and creative physicists, scientists, technologists and engineers one could ever hope to meet and work with. This includes the past recipients of this medal and indeed Harry Leck himself. I am truly honoured to be on a list which includes them. Thank you very much for granting me this award.”

— Dr Andrew Chew, Vacuum Science World Founding Editor