Bakerian Lecture

This prize lecture is the premier lecture in the physical sciences.

Henry Baker FRS Henry Baker FRS

The Bakerian Lecture is delivered annually at the Royal Society in London and is accompanied by a medal and a gift of £1,000.

The lectureship was established through a bequest by Henry Baker FRS (PDF) of £100 for an oration or discourse “on such part of natural history or experimental philosophy, at such time and in such manner as the President and Council of the Society for the time being shall please to order and appoint”. The lecture series began in 1775.

The award is open to citizens of a Commonwealth country or of the Irish Republic or those who have been ordinarily resident and working in a Commonwealth country or in the Irish Republic for a minimum of three years immediately prior to being proposed. 


The next call for nominations for this award opens on 28 November 2014.

The recipient is chosen by the Council of the Royal Society on the recommendation of the Physical Sciences Awards Committee. Nominations are valid for five years after which the candidate cannot be re-nominated until a year after the nomination has expired.

Lynn Gladden - Bakerian

Most recent medallist

Professor Lynn Gladden CBE FREng FRS was awarded the 2014 Bakerian Lecture for her work in the development of magnetic resonance techniques to study multi-component adsorption, diffusion, flow and reaction processes. 

Premier Awards

Copley Medal: For outstanding achievements in either the physical or biological sciences.

Royal Medal: For the most important contributions in the physical, biological and applied sciences.

Bakerian Lecture: The premier lecture in the physical sciences.

Croonian Lecture: The premier lecture in the biological sciences.

See all medals, awards and prize lectures

YearAward winnerTitle
2013David LeighMaking the tiniest machines
2012Peter EdwardsMetals and the conducting and superconducting states of matter
2011Herbert HuppertCarbon storage: caught between a rock and climate change
2010Donal BradleyPlastic electronics: the science and application of molecular electronic materials and devices
2009James MurrayMathematics in the real world: From brain tumours to saving marriages
2008Robin ClarkRaman microscopy, pigments and the arts/science interface
2007Joseph SilkThe dark side of the Universe
2006Athene DonaldThe mesoscopic world - from plastic bags to brain disease - structural similarities in physics
2005John PendryNegative refraction, the perfect lens and metamaterials
2004Michael PepperSemiconductor nanostructures and new quantum effects
2003Christopher DobsonProtein folding and misfolding: from theory to therapy.
2002Arnold WolfendaleCosmic rays: what are they and where do they come from?
2001David Sherrington Magnets, microchips, memories and markets: statistical physics of complex systems.
2000Steve Sparks How volcanoes work.
1999Peter DayThe molecular chemistry of magnets and superconductors.
1998Richard EllisThe morphological evolution of the galaxies.
1997Steven LeySweet dreams: new strategies for oligosaccharide assembly.
1996Alastair ScottGenetically engineered synthesis of natural products.
1995Anthony KellyComposites, towards intelligent materials design.
1994John PolanyiPhotochemistry in the adsorbed state, using light as a scalpel and a crystal as an operating table.
1993Hans BetheMechanism of supernovae.
1992Thomas BenjaminThe mystery of vortex breakdown.
1991John HoughtonThe predictability of weather and climate.
1990John Meurig ThomasNew microcrystalline catalysts.
1989Jack LewisCluster compounds, a new aspect of inorganic chemistry.
1988Walter Eric SpearAmorphous semiconductors, a new generation of electronic materials.
1987Michael Victor BerryThe semiclassical chaology of quantum eigenvalues.
1986Walter Heinrich MunkAcoustic monitoring of ocean gyres.
1985Carlo Rubbia Unification of the electromagnetic and weak forces.
1984Alan Rushton BattersbyBiosynthesis of the pigments of life.
1983Alfred Edward RingwoodThe Earths core: its composition, formation and bearing upon the origin of the earth.
1982Martin John ReesGalaxies and their nuclei.
1981Robert Joseph Paton WilliamsNatural selection of the chemical elements.
1980Abdus SalamGauge unification of fundamental forces.
1979Michael Ellis FisherMulticritical points in magnets and fluids: a review of some novel states of matter.
1978Robert Lewis Fullarton BoydCosmic exploration by X-rays.
1977George PorterIn vitro models for photosynthesis.
1976George Wallace KennerTowards synthesis of proteins.
1975Michael Francis AtiyahGlobal geometry.
1974Desmond George King-HeleA view of Earth and air.
1973Frederick Charles FrankCrystals imperfect.
1972Dorothy Mary Crowfoot HodgkinInsulin.
1971Basil John MasonThe physics of the thunderstorm.
1970Derek Harold Richard BurtonSome approaches to the synthesis of tetracycline.
1969Richard Henry DalitzParticles and interactions: the problems of high-energy physics
1968Fred HoyleReview of recent developments in cosmology
1967Edward Crisp BullardReversals of the Earth's magnetic field
1966Ronald George Wreyford NorrishThe progress of photochemistry exemplified by reactions of the halogens
1965Melvin CalvinChemical evolution
1964Frederick Calland WilliamsInventive technology: the search for better electric machines
1963Alan Howard CottrellFracture
1962John Desmond BernalThe structure of liquids
1961Michael James LighthillSound generated aerodynamically
1960Gerhard HerzbergThe spectra and structures of free methyl and free methylene.
1959Edmund Langley HirstMolecular structure in the polysaccharide group.
1958Martin RyleThe nature of the cosmic radio sources.
1957Cecil Frank PowellThe elementary particles.
1956Harry Work MelvilleAddition polymerization.
1955Marcus Laurence Elwin OliphantThe acceleration of charged particles to very high energies.
1954Alexander Robertus ToddChemistry of the nucleotides.
1953Nevill Francis MottDislocations, plastic flow and creep in metals.
1952Harold JeffreysThe origin of the solar system.
1951Eric Keightley RidealReactions in monolayers.
1950Percy Williams BridgmanPhysics above 20 000 kg/cm2.
1949Harold RaistrickA region of biosynthesis.
1948George Paget ThonNuclear explosions.
1947Harry Ralph RicardoSome problems in connexion with the development of a high-speed diesel engine.
1946Cyril Norman HinshelwoodThe more recent work on the hydrogen-oxygen reaction.
1945Gordon Miller Bourne DobsonMeteorology of the lower stratosphere.
1944Walter Norman HaworthThe structure, function and synthesis of polysaccharides.
1943Richard Vynne SouthwellRelaxation methods: a mathematics for engineering sciences.
1942Albert Charles ChibnallAmino-acid analysis and the structure of proteins.
1941Paul Adrien Maurice DiracThe physical interpretation of quantum mechanics.
1940Nevil Vincent Sidgwick and Herbert Marcus PowellStereochemical types and valency groups.
1939Patrick Maynard Stuart BlackettPenetrating Cosmic Rays.
1938Christopher Kelk IngoldThe Structure of Benzene.
1937Edward Victor AppletonRegularities and Irregularities in the Ionosphere.
1936Frederic Stanley KippingOrganic Compounds of Silicon.
1935Ralph Howard FowlerThe Anomalous Specific Heats of Crystals, with special reference to the Contribution of Molecular Rotations.
1934William Lawrence BraggThe Structure of Alloys.
1933James ChadwickThe Neutron.
1932William Arthur BoneThe Combustion of Hydrocarbons.
1931Sydney ChapmanSome Phenomena of the Upper Atmosphere.
1930Robert RobinsonThe Molecular Structure of Strychnine and Brucine.
1929Edward Arthur MilneThe Structure and Opacity of a Stellar Atmosphere.
1928John Cunningham McLennanThe Aurora and its Spectrum.
1927Francis William AstonA New Mass-Spectrograph and the Whole Number Rule.
1926Arthur Stanley EddingtonDiffuse Matter in Interstellar Space.
1925William Hardy and Ida BircumshawBoundary Lubrication - Plane Surfaces and the Limitations of Amontons Law.
1924Alfred FowlerThe Spectra of Silicon at Successive Stages of Ionization.
1923Geoffrey Ingram Taylor and Constance F. ElamThe Distortion of an Aluminium Crystal during a Tensile Test.
1922Thomas Ralph Merton and S. BarrattOn the Spectrum of Hydrogen.
1921Thomas Martin Lowry and Percy Corlett AustinOptical Rotatory Dispersion. Part II. Tartaric Acid and the Tartrates.
1920Ernest RutherfordNuclear Constitution of Atoms.
1919Robert John StruttA Study of the Line Spectrum of Sodium as Excited by Fluorescence.
1918Charles ParsonsExperiments on the Artificial Production of Diamond.
1917James Hopwood JeansThe Configurations of Rotating Compressible Masses.
1916Charles Glover BarklaX-rays and the Theory of Radiation.
1915William Henry BraggX-rays and Crystals.
1914Alfred FowlerSeries Lines in Spark Spectra.
1913Joseph John ThonRays of Positive Electricity.
1912Hugh Longbourne CallendarOn the Variation of the Specific Heat of Water, with Experiments by a new Method.
1911Robert John StruttA Chemically-Active Modification of Nitrogen Produced by the Electric Discharge.
1910John Henry Poynting and Guy BarlowThe Pressure of Light against the Source: the Recoil from Light.
1909Joseph LarmorOn the Statistical and Thermo-dynamical Relations of Radiant Energy.
1908Charles H LeesThe Effects of Temperature and Pressure on the Thermal Conductivities of Solids.
1907Thomas Edward ThorpeThe Atomic Weight of Radium.
1906John MilneRecent Advances in Seismology.
1905Horace T BrownThe Reception and Utilization of Energy by the Green Leaf.
1904Ernest RutherfordThe Succession of Changes in Radio-active Bodies.
1903CT Heycock and FH NevilleOn the Constitution of the Copper-tin Series of Alloys.
1902Lord RayleighOn the Law of the Pressure of Gases between 75 and 150 Millimetres of Mercury.
1901James DewarThe Nadir of Temperature and Allied Problems.
1900William Augustus TildenOn the Specific Heat of Metals and the Relation of Specific Heat to Atomic Weight.
1899James Alfred Ewing and W RosenhainThe Crystalline Structure of Metals.
1898William James RussellFurther Experiments on the Action exerted by certain Metals and other Bodies on a Photographic Plate.
1897Osborne Reynolds and WH MoorbyOn the Mechanical Equivalent of Heat.
1896William Chandler Roberts-AustenOn the Diffusion of Metals.
1895A.G. Vernon Harcourt and William EssonOn the Laws of Connexion between the Conditions of a Chemical Change and its Amount. III. Further Researches on the Reaction of Hydrogen Dioxide and Hydrogen Iodide.
1894Thomas Edward Thorpe and JW RodgerOn the Relations between the Viscosity (internal friction) of Liquids and their Chemical Nature.
1893Harold B DixonThe rate of Explosion in Gases.
1892James ThonOn the Grand Currents of Atmospheric Circulation.
1891George Howard DarwinOn Tidal Prediction.
1890Arthur SchusterThe Discharge of Electricity through Gases. Preliminary Communication.
1889Arthur William Rucker and Thomas Edward ThorpeA magnetic Survey of the British isles for the Epoch January 1, 1886.
1888J Norman LockyerSuggestions on the Classification of the various Species of Heavenly Bodies. A Report to the Solar Physics Committee.
1887Joseph John ThonOn the Dissociation of some Gases by the Electric Discharge.
1886William de W Abney and Edward Robert FestingColour Photometry.
1885William HugginsOn the Corona of the Sun.
1884Arthur SchusterExperiments on the Discharge of Electricity through gases. Sketch of a Theory.
1883William CrookesOn Radiant Matter Spectroscopy: the Detection and wide Distribution of Yttrium.
1882Heinrich DebusOn the Chemical Theory of Gunpowder.
1881John TyndallAction of free Molecules on Radiant Heat, and its conversion thereby into sound.
1880William de W AbneyOn the Photographic Method of Mapping the least refrangible end of the Solar Spectrum.
1879William CrookesOn the Illumination of Lines of Molecular Pressure and the Trajectory of Molecules.
1878William CrookesOn Repulsion resulting from Radiation. Part V.
1877William Crawford WillianOn the Organization of the Fossil Plants of the Coal Measures.
1876Thomas AndrewsOn the Gaseous State of Matter.
1875William Grylls AdamsOn the Forms of Equipotential Curves and Surfaces and on Lines of Flow.
1874J Norman LockyerResearches in Spectrum Analysis in connexion with the Spectrum of the Sun. Part III.
1873Earl of RosseOn the Radiation of Heat from the Moon, the Law of its Absorption by our Atmosphere, and its variation in Amount with her Phases.
1872William Kitchen ParkerOn the Structure and Development of the Skull of the Salmon (Salmo salar, L.).
1871Charles William SiemensOn the Increase of Electrical Resistance in Conductors with Rise of Temperature, and its Application to the Measure of Ordinary and Furnace Temperatures: also on a simple Method of measuring Electrical Resistances.
1870John William DawsonOn the Pre-Carboniferous Flora of North-Eastern America, and more especially on that of the Erian (Devonian) Period.
1869Thomas AndrewsThe Continuity of the Gaseous and Liquid States of Matter.
1868Henry Enfield RoscoeResearches on Vanadium.
1867Frederick Augustus AbelResearches on Gun-Cotton. (Second Memoir). On the Stability of Gun-Cotton.
1866James Clerk MaxwellOn the Viscosity or Internal Friction of Air and other Gases.
1865Henry Enfield RoscoeOn a Method of Meteorological Registration of the Chemical Action of Total Daylight.
1864John TyndallContributions to Molecular Physics: being the Fifth Memoir of Researches on Radiant Heat.
1863Henry Clifton SorbyOn the Direct Correlation of Mechanical and Chemical Forces.
1862Warren De la RueOn the Total Solar Eclipse of 18 July 1860, observed at Rivabellosa, near Miranda de Ebro in Spain.
1861John TyndallOn the Absorption and Radiation of Heat by Gases and Vapours, and on the Physical Connexion of radiation, Absorption and Conduction.
1860William FairbairnExperimental Researches to determine the Law of Superheated Steam.
1859Edward FranklandResearches on Organo-metallic Bodies. Fourth Memoir.
1858John Peter GassiotOn the Stratifications and dark band in Electrical Discharges as observed in Torricellian Vacua.
1857Michael FaradayExperimental Relations of Gold (and other metals) to Light.
1856William ThonOn the Electro-dynamic Qualities of Metals.
1855John TyndallOn the Nature of the Force by which Bodies are repelled from the Poles of a Magnet; to which is prefixed an account of some experiments on Molecular Influences.
1854Thomas GrahamOn Osmotic Force.
1853Edward SabineOn the Influence of the Moon on the Magnetic Declination at Toronto, St Helena, and Hobarton.
1852Charles WheatstoneContributions to the Physiology of Vision. Part II. On some remarkable and hitherto unobserved Phenomena on Binocular Vision (continued).
1851Michael FaradayExperimental Researches in Electricity. Twenty-Fourth Series.
1850Thomas GrahamOn the Diffusion of Liquids.
1849Michael FaradayExperimental Researches in Electricity. Twenty-Second Series.
1848Revd William WhewellResearches on the Tides. Thirteenth Series. On the Tides of the Pacific, and on the Diurnal Inequality.
1847William Robert GroveOn certain Phenomena of Voltaic Ignition and the Decomposition of Water into its constituent Gases by Heat.
1846James David ForbesIllustrations of the Viscous Theory of Glacier Motion.
1845Charles Giles Bridle DaubenyMemoir on the Rotation of Crops, and on the Quantity of Inorganic Matters abstracted from the Soil by various Plants under different circumstances.
1844Richard OwenA Description of certain Belemnites, preserved, with a great proportion of their soft parts, in the Oxford Clay, at Christian-Malford, Wilts.
1843Charles WheatstoneAn Account of several new Instruments and Processes for determining the Constants of a Voltaic Circuit.
1842James David ForbesOn the Transparency of the Atmosphere and the Law of Extinction of the Solar Rays in passing through it.
1841George Newport On the Organs of Reproduction and the Development of the Myriapoda.
1840George Biddell AiryOn the Theoretical Explanation of an apparent new Polarity of Light.
1839William Snow HarrisInquiries concerning the Elementary Laws of Electricity.
1838James IvoryOn the Theory of the Astronomical Refractions.
1837William Henry Fox TalbotFurther Observations on the Optical Phenomena of Crystals.
1836John William LubbockOn the Tides of the Port of London.
1835Charles LyellOn the Proofs of a gradual Rising of the Land in certain parts of Sweden.
1833Samuel Hunter ChristieExperimental Determination of the Laws of Magneto-Electric Induction in different masses of the same metal, and its intensity in different metals.
1832Michael FaradayExperimental Researches in Electricity; Second Series.
1829Michael FaradayOn the manufacture of Glass for Optical Purposes.
1828William Hyde WollastonOn a Method of rendering Platina malleable.
1827George PearsonResearches to discover the Faculties of Pulmonary Absorption with respect to Charcoal.
1826Humphry DavyOn the Relations of Electrical and Chemical Changes.
1823John F.W. HerschelOn certain Motions produced in Fluid Conductors when transmitting the Electric Current.
1821Edward SabineAn Account of Experiments to determine the Amount of the Dip of the Magnetic Needle in London , in August 1821; with Remarks on the Instruments which are usually employed in such determination.
1820Henry KaterOn the best kind of Steel, and form, for a Compass Needle.
1819William Thomas BrandeOn the Composition and Analysis of the inflammable Gaseous Compounds resulting from the destructive Distillation of Coal and Oil; with some Remarks on their relative heating and illuminating power.
1813William Thomas BrandeOn some new Electro-Chemical Phenomena.
1812William Hyde WollastonOn the Elementary Particles pf certain Crystals.
1811Humphry Davy
1810Humphry DavyOn some of the Combinations of Oxymuriatic Gas and Oxygen, and on the Chemical Relations of these Principles to Inflammable Bodies.
1809Humphry DavyOn some new Electro-Chemical Researches, on various objects, particularly the Metallic Bodies from the Alkalies and Earths; and on some Combinations of Hydrogen.
1808Humphry DavyAn Account of some new Analytical Researches on the Nature of certain Bodies, particularly the Alkalies, Phosphorus, Sulphur , Carbonaceous Matters, and the Acids hitherto undecompounded; with some general Observations on Chemical Theory.
1807Humphry DavyOn some new Phenomena of Chemical Changes produced by Electricity, particularly the Decomposition of the fixed Alkalies, and the Exhibition of the new Substances, which constitute their Bases.
1806Humphry DavyOn some Chemical Agencies of Electricity.
1805William Hyde WollastonOn the Force of Percussion.
1804Samuel VinceObservations on the Hypotheses which have been assumed to account for the cause of Gravitation from Mechanical Principles.
1803Thomas YoungExperiments and Calculations relative to Physical Optics.
1802William Hyde WollastonObservations on the Quantity of Horizontal Refraction; with Method of measuring the Dip at Sea.
1801Thomas YoungOn the Theory of Light and Colours.
1800Thomas YoungOn the Mechanism of the Eye.
1799Samuel Vince
1798Samuel VinceObservations upon an unusual Horizontal Refraction of the Air; with Remarks on the Variations to which the lower Parts of the Atmosphere are sometimes subject.
1797Samuel VinceExperiments upon the Resistance of Bodies moving in Fluids.
1796Samuel Vince
1795Samuel Vince
1794Samuel VinceObservations on the Theory of the Motion and Resistance of Fluids; with a Description of the Construction of Experiments, in order to obtain some fundamental Principles.
1793George FordyceAn Account of a New Pendulum.
1792Tiberius CavalloAn Account of the Discoveries concerning Muscular Motion, which have been lately made, and are commonly known by the name of Animal Electricity.
1791Tiberius CavalloOn the Method of Measuring Distances by means of Telescopes furnished with Micrometers.
1790Tiberius CavalloA Description of a new Pyrometer.
1789Tiberius CavalloMagnetical Experiments and Observations.
1788Tiberius CavalloOn an Improvement in the Blow Pipe.
1787Tiberius CavalloOf the Methods of manifesting the Presence, and ascertaining the Quality, of small Quantities of Natural or Artificial Electricity.
1786Tiberius CavalloMagnetical Experiments and Observations.
1785Tiberius CavalloMagnetical Experiments and Observations.
1784Tiberius CavalloAn Account of some Experiments made with the new improved Air Pump.
1783Tiberius CavalloDescription of an improved Air Pump.
1782Tiberius CavalloAn Account of some Experiments relating to the Property of Common and Inflammable Airs of pervading the Pores of Paper.
1781Tiberius CavalloAn Account of some Thermometrical Experiments.
1780Tiberius CavalloThermometrical Experiments and Observations.
1779John Ingen-HouszImprovements in Electricity.
1778John Ingen-HouszElectrical Experiments to explain how far the Phenomena of the Electrophorus may be accounted for by Dr Franklins Theory of Positive and Negative Electricity.
1777Peter Woulfe
1776Peter Woulfe
1775Peter WoulfeExperiments made in order to ascertain the nature of some Mineral Substances, and in particular to see how far the Acids of Sea-Salt and of Vitriol contribute to Mineralize Metallic and other Substances.
YearAward winnerTitle