The Copley Medal is the Society’s oldest and most prestigious award. The medal is now awarded annually for outstanding achievements in research
in any branch of science. The award alternates between the physical and
biological sciences (odd and even years respectively). The Copley medal will be awarded in 2017 for the physical sciences.
First awarded in 1731 following donations from Godfrey Copley FRS (PDF), it was initially awarded for the most important scientific discovery or for the greatest contribution made by experiment. The Copley Medal is thought to be the world's oldest scientific prize and it was awarded 170 years before the first Nobel Prize. Notable winners include Benjamin Franklin, Dorothy Hodgkin, Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin.
Copley Medallist 2016
The Copley Medal 2016 is awarded to Dr Richard Henderson FMedSci FRS
in recognition of his fundamental and revolutionary contributions to
the development of electron microscopy of biological materials, enabling
their atomic structures to be deduced. To find out more about Dr
Henderson's research you can read the related news article.
Dr Henderson was presented with a medal of silver gilt, and a gift of £25,000 at the Premier Awards dinner in Autumn 2016.
Professor Peter Higgs CH FRS was awarded the Copley Medal 2015 for his fundamental contribution to particle physics with his theory explaining the origin of mass in elementary particles, confirmed by the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider.
Sir Alec Jeffreys KBE FMedSci FRS was awarded the Copley Medal 2014 for his pioneering work on variation and mutation in the human genome
To find out more about past winners you can read this series of blogs.
See full list of all past winners of the Copley Medal.