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Royal Medals

Royal Medal winners 2021

King George IV founded the Royal Medals in 1825.

Professor Michael Green FRS is awarded the Royal Medal 2021 for crucial and influential contributions to the development of string theory over a long period, including the discovery of anomaly cancellation.

Professor Dennis Lo FRS is awarded the Royal Medal 2021 for the discovery of foetal DNA in maternal plasma, developing non-invasive prenatal testing, and making foundational contributions for other types of liquid biopsies. He has made a major impact on pre-natal diagnosis.

Sir Colin Humphreys CBE FREng FRS is awarded the Royal Medal 2021 for excelling in basic and applied science, university-industry collaboration, technology development and transfer, academic leadership, promotion of public understanding of science, and advising on science to public bodies.

The Royal Medallists will each be awarded with a medal of silver gilt, and a gift of £10,000 at the Premier Awards Dinner to be held at a future date.

Return to this year's Royal Society medal, award and prize winners.

The award 

Each year two medals are awarded for the most important contributions to the advancement of "Natural Knowledge” in the physical and biological sciences respectively. A third medal is awarded for distinguished contributions in the applied sciences.

The three Royal Medals, also known as the Queen’s Medals, are awarded annually by the Sovereign on the recommendation of the Council of the Society. Frederick Sanger FRS, Max Perutz FRS and Francis Crick FRS are among those who have been awarded a Royal Medal.

The Royal Medals were founded by HM King George IV in 1825. Between 1826 and 1964 two medals were awarded each year. In 1965 the third medal, covering the applied sciences, was introduced on behalf of HM The Queen.


The call for nominations is now closed. The next round of nominations will open in November 2021. 

Past winners

Professor Herbert Huppert FRS was awarded the Royal Medal 2020 for his work at the forefront of research in fluid mechanics. As an applied mathematician he has consistently developed highly original analysis of key natural and industrial processes

Dame Caroline Dean DBE FRS was awarded the Royal Medal 2020 for elucidating molecular mechanisms underlying seasonal timing in plants, thus discovering fundamental processes of plant developmental timing and the epigenetic basis of vernalization.

Professor Ian Shanks OBE FREng FRS was awarded the Royal Medal 2020 for extending knowledge of liquid crystals and applying this successfully to invent novel LCDs, and for developing commercial diabetes test strips, which have revolutionised the control and therefore the lives of diabetics worldwide.

See full list of past winners for the Royal Medal. 

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