Sylvester Medal

This medal is awarded for mathematical research.

Sylvester James Joseph Sylvester FRS

The Sylvester Medal is awarded biennially (in even years) “for the encouragement of mathematical research”.  

The award was created in memory of the mathematician James Joseph Sylvester FRS (PDF), who was Savilian Professor of Geometry at the University of Oxford in the 1880s. It was first awarded in 1901. Originally it was awarded triennially, but from 2010 it is now awarded  biennially in even years.

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 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. The medal is of bronze and is accompanied by a gift of £1,000. 


The next call for nominations for this award will open in November 2015.

Professor Ben Green FRS

Most recent medallist

Professor Ben Green FRS was awarded the Sylvester Medal in 2014 for his famous result on primes in arithmetic progression, and his subsequent proofs of a number of spectacular theorems over the last five to ten years.


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.

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Photos of the Sylvester Medal

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