Johnian recipients of Royal Society awards

"Royal Society awards"

Aside from the four premier awards (listed separately), the Royal Society confers a number of awards, medals and prizes for scientific achievement. All historic Johnian recipients are listed below, in alphabetic order by award.


  • Bernal Lecture

John Michael Ziman (1983). “The collectivization of science”

  • Buchanan Medal

Stephen Jackson (2011) for his outstanding contributions to understanding DNA repair and DNA-damage-response signalling pathways

Edward Richard Moxon (2022) for helping pioneer the field of molecular microbiology; discovering contingency loci in bacteria that facilitate rapid evolution under selection and making key contributions to the development of meningitis vaccines

  • Clifford Paterson Medal and Lecture

Michael Crowley-Milling (1982) “The worlds largest accelerator: the electron-positron collider LEP”

Maurice Wilkes (1990) “Progress and research in the computer industry”

Roger Needham (2002) “Computer Security?”

Richard Friend  (2006) “Plastic fantastic; electronics for the 21st Century”

Russell Cowburn (2016) for his remarkable academic, technical and commercial achievements in nano-magnetics

  • Darwin Medal

William Bateson (1904) for his important contribution to the theory of organic evolution by his researches on variation and heredity

Albert Charles Seward (1934) in recognition of his work as a palaeobotanist

William Donald Hamilton (1988 ) in recognition of his distinguished work on evolutionary theory. His contributions include the theory of kin selction to account for altruistic behaviour and the theoretical demonstration of a link between disease resistance and the evolution of sex

Enrico Coen (jointly with Rosemary Carpenter) (2004) for their ground-breaking discoveries about the control of flower development. They have combined molecular and genetic approaches to answer some of Darwins key questions about the natural variation of floral form and the evolution of floral development

  • Davy Medal

Chris Dobson (2005) for his work on the application of NMR and other structural methods for studying protein folding and misfolding, especially the formation of amyloid fibrils, leading to novel insights on protein structure and folding

  • Ferrier Medal and Lecture

Frederic Charles Bartlett (1941) “Fatigue following highly skilled work”

  • Francis Crick Medal and Lecture

Ewan Birney (2003) “Being human: what our genome tells us”

Gregory Jefferis (2019)  for his fundamental discoveries concerning the development and functional logic of sensory information processing

  • Gabor Medal

David Hopwood (1995)  in recognition of his pioneering and leading the growing field of the genetics of Streptomyces, and for developing the programming of the pervasive process of polyketide synthesis

Kenneth Charles Holmes (1997) in recognition of his achievements in molecular biology, in particular his pioneering analyses of biological structures and viruses, and his development of the use of synchrotron radiation for X-ray diffraction experiments, now a widely used technique not only in molecular biology but in physics and materials science

Benjamin Simons (2015) for his work analysing stem cell lineages in development, tissue homeostasis and cancer, revolutionising our understanding of stem cell behaviour in vivo

Richard Durbin (2017) for his outstanding contributions to computational biology, and their impact across many areas of the life sciences

  • Hughes Medal

John Douglas Cockcroft (jointly with Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton) (1938) for their discovery that nuclei could be disintegrated by artificially produced bombarding particles

Marcus Laurence Elwin Oliphant (1943) for his distinguished work in nuclear physics and mastery of methods of generating and applying high potentials

Edward Victor Appleton (1933) for his researches into the effect of the Heaviside layer upon the transmission of wireless signals

Nevill Francis Mott (1941) for his fertile application of the principles of quantum theory to many branches of physics, especially in the fields of nuclear and collision theory, in the theory of metals and in the theory of photographic emulsions

Abdus Salam (1964) for his distinguished contributions to quantum mechanics and the theory of fundamental particles

Frederick John Vine (jointly with Drummond Hoyle Matthews) (1982) for their elucidation of the magnetic properties of the ocean floors which subsequently led to the plate tectonic hypothesis

  • Humphry Davy Lecture 

Nevill Mott (1987) “Proprietes electroniques des systemes cristallins”

  • Leeuwenhoek Medal and Lecture

Ernest Frederick Gale (1956) “The biochemical organization of the bacterial cell”

Gordon Elliott Fogg (1968) “The physiology of an algal nuisance”

David Alan Hopwood (1987) “Towards an understanding of gene switching in streptomyces, the basis of sporulation and antibiotic production”

  • Medawar Lecture

John Michael Ziman (1995) “Post-academic science”

  • Milner Award and Lecture

Bernhard Schölkopf (2014) for being a pioneer in machine learning whose work defined the field of “kernel machines” which are widely used in all areas of science and industry

Zoubin Ghahramani (2021) for his fundamental contributions to probabilistic machine learning

  • Mullard Award

Charles William Oatley (1973) in recognition of his outstanding contribution over an extended period to the design and development of the scanning electron microscope in which he had played a significant and continuing part

Richard Durbin (jointly with John White, Brad Amos, and Michael Fordham) (1994) in recognition of their development of the MRC-600 series laser-scanning confocal imaging system, an ingenious and innovative means of improving the clarity and definition of microscopes

Stephen Furber (jointly with Sophie Wilson) (2016) for their distinguished contributions to the design and analysis of the Acorn RISC Machine (ARM), the most successful embedded processor architecture in the world

Stephen Jackson (2020) for pioneering research on DNA repair mechanisms and synthetic lethality that led to the discovery of olaparib, which has reached blockbuster status for the treatment of ovarian and breast cancers

  • Rosalind Franklin Award and Lecture

Tamsin Mather (2018) on the basis of her achievements in the field of volcanology, her ability to communicate with the public and her imaginative project proposal

  • Royal Society Esso Energy Award 

Michael John Priestley Cullen (jointly with Peter Wilfred White, Allan John Gadd, Colin Richard Flood, Timothy Noel Palmer, Kenneth Pollard and Glenn Shutts)          (1986) for their development and introduction of a global weather forecasting model that provided accurate forecasts of wind and temperature for the civil aviation industry by which aircraft routes were selected, making maximum use of prevailing winds, resulting

  • Rumford Medal

Charles Algernon Parsons (1902) for his success in the application of the steam turbine to industrial purposes, and for its recent extension to navigation

Arthur Schuster (1926) for his services to physical science, especially in the subjects of optics and terrestrial magnetism

Grenville Turner (1996) in recognition of his work on the 40Ar/39Ar method of dating developing this technique to a sophisticated level and one which is widely used for dating extraterrestrial and terrestrial rocks

Richard Friend (1998) in recognition of his leading research in the development of polymer-based electronics and optoelectronics leading to a very rapid growth of development activities aimed at plastic electronic displays, with advantages of very low cost, flexibility, and the option of curved or flat surfaces.

David King (2002) for his outstanding contributions to our fundamental understanding of the structure and dynamics of reaction processes on solid surfaces

  • Rutherford Memorial Lecture

John Douglas Cockcroft (1952)

Marcus Laurence Elwin Oliphant (1955)

Nevill Mott (1962) “Atomic physics and the strength of metals”

John Michael Ziman (1968) “Some problems of the growth and spread of science into developing countries”

William Donald Hamilton (1995)

  • Sylvester Medal

Henry Frederick Baker (1910) for his researches in the theory of Abelian functions and for his edition of Sylvesters Collected Works

Augustus Edward Hough Love (1937) for his researches in classical mathematical physics, particularly the mathematical theories of elasticity and hydro-dynamics

Louis Joel Mordell (1949) for his distinguished researches in pure mathematics, especially for his discoveries in the theory of numbers

Maxwell Herman Alexander Newman (1958) for his distinguished contributions to combinatory topology, Boolean algebras and mathematical logic

John Ball (2009) for his seminal work in mechanics and nonlinear analysis and his encouragement of mathematical research in developing countries

Graeme Segal (2010) for his highly influential and elegant work on the development of topology, geometry and quantum field theory, bridging the gap between physics and pure mathematics

John Toland (2012) for his original theorems and remarkable discoveries in nonlinear partial differential equations, including applications to water waves

  • Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal and Lecture

Simon Schaffer (2019) for transforming understanding of the intellectual history of experimental science and his excellent communication of science in all media