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Recipients of Royal Society medals and awards in 2019 announced

18 July 2019

The Royal Society has announced the winners of 24 medals and awards. The annual prizes recognise exceptional researchers who make outstanding contributions to science.

Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society, said:

“The Royal Society gives an array of medals and awards to scientists who have done exceptional, ground-breaking work. This year, it is again a pleasure to see these awards bestowed on scientists who have made such distinguished and far-reaching contributions in their fields. I congratulate and thank them for their efforts.”

Royal medals

Dame Carol Robinson DBE FMedSci FRS receives the Royal Medal for her pioneering work on structural biology improving the understanding of proteins, their interactions and functional regulation. The Royal Medals are one of the Royal Society’s premier awards and are made on behalf of the Queen each year. Awarded annually since 1825, this year’s recipients of the Royal Medals join the ranks of Fred Sanger, Francis Crick, and Mary Lyon.

Dame Carol Robinson DBE FMedSci FRS said:

“I am truly delighted to be acknowledged with this award. Over the years, I have watched a number of Royal Society Medal Award ceremonies and have always been very impressed by the recipients. I am delighted to be joining this distinguished crowd.”

Also receiving the Royal Medal is Dr Michel Goedert FMedSci FRS for identifying and characterising key molecules and showing that they form the inclusions of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Dr Michel Goedert FMedSci FRS said:
“I am honoured to receive the Royal Medal and feel humbled when I read the list of previous recipients. My work on neurodegenerative diseases would not have been possible without the support of Aaron Klug, the international culture of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology and the contributions of a number of close collaborators.”

Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS received the third and final Royal Medal for her leading research on the reduction of combustion, aerodynamic noise and the design of aircraft, and her distinguished services to engineering.

Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS said:
“I am surprised, delighted and very honoured to be awarded the Royal Medal and it is humbling to see the previous recipients. I have been lucky to work with some brilliant colleagues and students and this award recognises their achievements as much as it does mine.”

Croonian Medal

The Croonian Medal and Lecture is awarded to Professor Edward Boyden for his inventions that expand our understanding of the brain and allow therapeutic development including the co-invention of optogenetics, a technology that has revolutionized neurobiology.

Bakerian Medal

Sir James Hough OBE FRS is awarded the Bakerian Medal and Lecture for his world-leading work on suspensions systems for the test masses used in laser interferometry, pivotal to the successful detection of gravitational waves.

Sylvester Medal

The Sylvester Medal is awarded annually for an outstanding researcher in the field of mathematics, this year to Professor Peter Sarnak FRS for transformational contributions across number theory, combinatorics, analysis and geometry.

Rosalind Franklin Award

The Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award is awarded annually to those who raise the profile of women in STEM in their host institution and/or field of expertise in the UK. This year it is awarded to Professor Nguyen Thi Kim Thanh, Professor of Nanomaterials at the University College London, for her achievements in the field of nanomaterials and her impactful project proposal.

The full list of winners is available below:

Premier Awards

Copley Medal (announced in May 2019)

Professor John Goodenough ForMemRS in recognition of his exceptional contributions to the science and technology of materials, including his discovery that led to rechargeable lithium batteries.

Royal Medals

Dame Carol Robinson DBE FMedSci FRS

For her pioneering work on structural biology improving the understanding of proteins, their interactions and functional regulation.

Dr Michel Goedert FMedSci FRS

For identifying and characterising assembled tau protein and alpha-synuclein and showing that they form the inclusions of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS

For her leading research on the reduction of combustion, aerodynamic noise and the design of aircraft, and her distinguished services to engineering.

Croonian Medal and Lecture

Professor Edward Boyden

For his inventions that expand our understanding of the brain and allow therapeutic development including the co-invention of optogenetics, a technology that has revolutionized neurobiology.

Bakerian Medal and Lecture

Sir James Hough OBE FRS

For his world-leading work on suspensions systems for the test masses used in laser interferometry, pivotal to the successful detection of gravitational waves.

Medals

Buchanan Medal

Professor Gillian Griffiths FMedSci FRS

For establishing the fundamental cell biological mechanisms that drive cytotoxic T-cell killing, laying the foundations for informed application of cancer immunotherapy.

Darwin Medal

Professor Peter Holland FRS

For his work with many organisms and genes elucidating key aspects of how changes in the genome influence evolution of animal development.

Davy Medal

Professor Varinder Aggarwal FRS

For his ground-breaking methods coupling boronic esters creating 3-D architectures with full control over shape and functionality with broad ranging applications across the sciences.

Gabor Medal

Professor Alison Noble OBE FREng FRS

For developing solutions to a number of key problems in biomedical image analysis and substantially advancing automatic extraction of clinically useful information from medical ultrasound scans.

Hughes Medal

Professor Andrew Cooper FRS

For the design and synthesis of new classes of organic materials with applications in energy storage, energy production and energy-efficient separations.

Leverhulme Medal

Professor Frank Caruso FRS

For driving the application of engineered particles in biology and medicine through nanoscale materials engineering.

Rumford Medal

Professor Miles Padgett FRS

For world leading research on optical orbital momentum including an angular form of the Einstein-Padolsky-Rosen paradox.

Sylvester Medal   

Professor Peter Sarnak FRS

For transformational contributions across number theory, combinatorics, analysis and geometry.

Prize lectures

The following medals are also awarded an associated prize lecture, which will be delivered at the Royal Society in London:

Clifford Paterson Medal and Lecture

Dr Jacqueline Cole

For the development of photo-crystallography and the discovery of novel high-performance nonlinear optical materials and light-harvesting dyes using molecular design rules.

Ferrier Medal and Lecture

Professor Ray Dolan FMedSci FRS

For his work charting the brain activity related to fundamental aspects of human conduct and behaviour.

Kavli Medal and Lecture

Professor Ian Chapman

For his scientific insight that has illuminated the complex physics of confined plasmas and prepared the way for fusion burn.

Leeuwenhoek Medal and Lecture

Professor Geoffrey Smith FMedSci FRS

For his studies of poxviruses which has had major impact in wider areas, notably vaccine development, biotechnology, host-pathogen interactions and innate immunity.

Michael Faraday Prize and Lecture

Sir Martyn Poliakoff CBE FREng FRS

For his exemplary work to promote chemistry to an international audience via YouTube in a way that is understandable to viewers of all ages.

Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award and Lecture

Professor Nguyen Thi Kim Thanh

For her achievements in the field of nanomaterials and her impactful project proposal.

Royal Society Milner Award and Lecture

Dr Cordelia Schmid

For her work in computer vision and her fundamental contributions to the representation of images and videos for visual recognition.

Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal and Lecture

Professor Simon Schaffer

For transforming understanding of the intellectual history of experimental science and his excellent communication of science in all media.

Awards

Royal Society Africa Prize

Dr Henry Mwandumba

For his novel work in description of the TB phagosome in HIV infected alveolar macrophages and his leadership in the College of Medicine in Malawi.

Royal Society Mullard Award

Professor Hagan Bayley FRS

For the invention of stochastic nanosensing, a generalized sequencing method for biopolymers which has delivered ultrarapid, distributable, wide-scale, 'long-read' genome sequencing.

Read the full list of medals and awards, including their description and past winners.

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