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Rumford Medal

Single pixel camera
Distribution of dark matter over a very large region of the universe - 3.3 billion light years across (Image courtesy of Willem Elbers)

The award

The Rumford Medal is awarded for outstanding contributions in the field of physics. The award was established following a donation by Benjamin Thompson FRS (PDF), Count Rumford of the Holy Roman Empire, an American-born former soldier, spy, statesman and scientist who would go on to found the Royal Institution. The first award was made in 1800. The medal is of silver gilt, is awarded annually and is accompanied by a gift of £2,000.


The Rumford medal is open to UK/Commonwealth/Irish Republic citizens or those who have been residents for three or more years. There are no restrictions on career stage and nominations will remain valid and shall be considered by the award selection committee throughout three nomination cycles. Teams or groups may now be nominated for this award.   


Nominations are now closed and wil reopen in November 2022.

Past winners

Professor Carlos Frenk CBE FRS was awarded the Rumford Medal 2021 for revealing via elaborate computer simulations, how small fluctuations in the early universe develop into today’s galaxies.

Professor Patrick Gill MBE FRS was awarded the Rumford Medal 2020 for his development of optical atomic clocks of exquisite precision, of ultra-stable lasers and of frequency standards for fundamental physics, quantum information processing, space science, satellite navigation and Earth observation.

Professor Miles Padgett FRS was awarded the Rumford Medal 2019 for world leading research on optical orbital momentum including an angular form of the Einstein-Padolsky-Rosen paradox. 

See full list of all past winners of the Rumford Medal.

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