Hughes Medal

This medal is awarded for original discoveries relating to the generation, storage and use of energy.

Hughes David E. Hughes FRS

The Hughes Medal is awarded biennially (in odd years) “for an original discovery in the physical sciences, particularly as applied to the generation, storage and use of energy”. 

The award was named after the scientist David E. Hughes FRS (PDF) and was first awarded in 1902. Previously the award was made for original discoveries particularly related to electricity and magnetism or their applications. Previous winners of this medal include Alexander Graham Bell and Stephen Hawking FRS. The medal is of silver gilt and is accompanied by a gift of £2,000. 


The call for nominations is now closed. The next call for nominations will open in November 2016.

The recipient is chosen by the Council of the Royal Society on the recommendation of the Physical Sciences Awards Committees. Nominations are valid for three cycles of consideration with re-nomination possible after one cycle has passed.

If possible the Committee will award the medal to an early-to-mid career stage scientist. 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.

Professor George Efstathious FRS

Most recent medallist

Professor George Efstathiou FRS was awarded the 2015 Hughes Medal for many outstanding contributions to our understanding of the early Universe, in particular his pioneering computer simulations, observations of galaxy clustering and studies of the fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background.


Buchanan Medal: For distinguished contributions to the medical sciences.

Darwin Medal: For work of acknowledged distinction in evolution, population biology, organismal biology and biological diversity.

Davy Medal: For important discoveries in chemistry.

Gabor Medal: For interdisciplinary work between the life sciences with other disciplines.

Hughes Medal: For original discoveries relating to the generation, storage and use of energy.

Kavli Education Medal: For impact in the field of science and mathematics education.

Leverhulme Medal: For significant contributions to chemistry or engineering.

Royal Society King Charles II Medal: For foreign Heads of State or Government who have made an outstanding contribution to furthering scientific research in their country.

Rumford Medal: For important discoveries in the field of thermal or optical properties of matter.

Sylvester Medal: For mathematical research.

See all medals, awards and prize lectures.

Contact us

For more information on this, and all Royal Society medals, awards and prize lectures, please contact

Photos of the Hughes Medal

Click on an image to open a larger version