Rumford Medal

This medal is awarded for important discoveries in the field of thermal or optical properties of matter and their applications

  • Opening date

  • Closing date

  • Winners announcement

    Date subject to confirmation

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.

Eligibility

The Rumford medal is open to UK/Commonwealth/Republic of Ireland 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 closed

Nominations will reopen in November 2024.

2023 winner

  • Professor Polina Bayvel CBE FREng FRS

    Professor Polina Bayvel CBE FREng FRS

    The Rumford Medal 2023 is awarded to Professor Polina Bayvel CBE FREng FRS for pioneering contributions to the fundamental physics and nonlinear optics, enabling the realization of high capacity, broad bandwidth, multi-wavelength, optical communication systems that have underpinned the information technology revolution.
  • Past winners

    • Polina Bayvel
      Awarded in 2023

      Professor Polina Bayvel CBE FREng FRS

      For pioneering contributions to the fundamental physics and nonlinear optics, enabling the realization of high capacity, broad bandwidth, multi-wavelength, optical communication systems that have underpinned the information technology revolution.
    • Raymond Pierrehumbert
      Awarded in 2022

      Professor Raymond Pierrehumbert FRS

      For his wide ranging contributions to atmospheric physics, employing fundamental principles of physics to elucidate phenomena across the spectrum of planetary atmospheres.
    • Carlos Frenk
      Awarded in 2021

      Professor Carlos Frenk CBE FRS

      For revealing via elaborate computer simulations, how small fluctuations in the early universe develop into today’s galaxies.
    • Patrick Gill
      Awarded in 2020

      Professor Patrick Gill MBE FRS

      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.
    • Miles Padgett
      Awarded in 2019

      Professor Miles Padgett FRS

      For world leading research on optical orbital momentum including an angular form of the Einstein-Padolsky-Rosen paradox.
    • blank avatar
      Awarded in 2018

      Ian Walmsley

      For pioneering work in the quantum control of light and matter on ultrashort timescales, especially the invention and application of new techniques for characterization of quantum and classical light fields.
    • blank avatar
      Awarded in 2016

      Ortwin Hess

      For his pioneering work in active nano-plasmonics and optical metamaterials with quantum gain.
    • blank avatar
      Awarded in 2014

      Jeremy Baumberg

      For his outstanding creativity in nanophotonics, investigating many ingenious nanostructures, both artificial and natural to support novel plasmonic phenomena relevant to Raman spectroscopy, solar cell performance and meta-materials applications.
    • blank avatar
      Awarded in 2012

      Roy Taylor

      For his outstanding contributions to tunable ultrafast lasers and nonlinear fibre optics, including fibre Raman, soliton and supercontinuum laser sources, which translated fundamental discoveries to practical technology.
    • blank avatar
      Awarded in 2010

      Gilbert Lonzarich

      For his outstanding work into novel types of quantum matter using innovative instrumentation and techniques.
    • blank avatar
      Awarded in 2008

      Edward Hinds

      For his extensive and highly innovative work in ultra-cold matter.
    • blank avatar
      Awarded in 2006

      Jean-Pierre Hansen

      For his pioneering work on molten salts and dense plasmas that has led the way to a quantative understanding of the structure and dynamics of strongly correlated ionic liquids.