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Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal and Lecture

Collection of books authored by Philip Ball
Collection of books authored by Philip Ball

Nominations now open

The call for nominations is now open. There is a new nomination system in place and so please ensure you read through the guidance document fully. 

This year, the Society is encouraging nominations of joint collaborations, groups or teams for almost all its medals to better represent how contemporary science is undertaken. In addition, the Society is extremely keen to broaden the diversity of those nominated for its awards, so do please consider all contacts and colleagues.  

You do not have to be a Fellow of the Royal Society to nominate or be nominated for any of the Royal Society medals and awards.

Nominations close on Friday 24 February 2023 at 3pm GMT.

Nominate now

The Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal and Lecture 2022 winner

Philip BallPhilip Ball

The Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal and Lecture 2022 is awarded to Dr Philip Ball for his outstanding commitments to sharing the social, cultural, and historical context of science through editorial work for the journal Nature, together with considerable, prolific, and award-winning freelance science writing.

The award

The Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal and Lecture is given for excellence in a subject relating to the history of science, philosophy of science or the social function of science. The Wilkins, Bernal and Medawar lectures were originally delivered as three separate lectures, each given triennially. Since 2007, they have been combined under the one title of the Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Lecture. The medal is of bronze, is awarded annually and is accompanied by a gift of £2,000. 


The Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar medal and lecture 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. 

For further information on the eligibility criteria and the nominations process, please see our guidance (PDF).


Nominations are now closed and will reopen in November 2022.

Past winners

Professor June Barrow-Green was awarded the Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal in 2021 and will present her lecture at a future date. 

Professor Jim Al-Khalili OBE FRS was awarded the Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal in 2020 and presented his lecture What is (Quantum) Life? 

Professor Simon Schaffer was awarded the Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal in 2019 and presented his lecture Defining science through history

See full list of all past winners of the Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Lecture.

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