Rumford Medal

The Rumford Medal is an award bestowed by Britain's Royal Society every alternating year for "an outstandingly important recent discovery in the field of thermal or optical properties of matter made by a scientist working in Europe".

Not to be confused with the Rumford Prize
Rumford Medal
Count Rumford (Sir Benjamin Thompson), for whom the award is named.
Awarded foran outstandingly important recent discovery in the field of thermal or optical properties of matter made by a scientist working in Europe
Date1800 (1800)
Country United Kingdom
Presented byBritain's Royal Society

First awarded during 1800, it was created after a 1796 donation of $5000 by the scientist Benjamin Thompson, known as Count Rumford, and is accompanied by a gift of £1000. Since its inception, the award has been granted to 101 scientists, including Rumford himself during 1800.

It has been awarded to citizens of the United Kingdom fifty-four times, Germany seventeen times, France fourteen times, the Netherlands seven times, Sweden four times, the United States three times, Italy twice and once each to citizens of Australia, Hungary, Belgium, Luxembourg and New Zealand.

List of recipients

Year Name Nationality Rationale Notes
1800Benjamin ThompsonBritish"For his various discoveries respecting Heat and Light"[1]
1802No award
1804John LeslieBritish"For his Experiments on Heat, published in his work, entitled, An Experimental Enquiry into the Nature and Propagation of Heat"
1806No award
1808William MurdochBritish"For his publication of the employment of Gas from Coal, for the purpose of illumination"
1810Étienne-Louis MalusFrench"For the discovery of certain new properties of Reflected Light, published in the second volume of the Memoires dArcueil"[2]
1812No award
1814William Charles WellsBritish"For his Essay on Dew, published in the course of the preceding (1815) year"[3]
1816Humphry DavyBritish"For his Papers on Combustion and Flame, published in the last volume of the Philosophical Transactions"[4]
1818David BrewsterBritish"For his Discoveries relating to the Polarization of Light"[5]
1820No award
1822No award
1824Augustin-Jean FresnelFrench"For his Development of the Undulatory Theory as applied to the Phenomena of Polarized Light, and for his various important discoveries in Physical Optics"[6]
1826No award
1828No award
1830No award
1832John Frederic DaniellBritish"For his Paper, entitled, Further Experiments with a new Register Pyrometer, for measuring the expansion of Solids, published in the Philosophical Transactions for 1831"[7]
1834Macedonio MelloniItalian"For his discoveries relevant to radiant heat"[8]
1836No award
1838James David ForbesBritish"For his experiments on the polarization of heat, of which an account was published in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh"[9]
1840Jean-Baptiste BiotFrench"For his researches in, and connected with, the circular polarization of light"[10]
1842William Fox TalbotBritish"For his discoveries and improvements in photography"[11]
1844No award
1846Michael FaradayBritish"For his discovery of the optical phenomena developed by the action of magnets and electric currents in certain transparent media, the details of which are published in the nineteenth series of his experimental researches in electricity, inserted in the Philosophical Transactions for 1845 and in the Philosophical Magazine"[12]
1848Henri Victor RegnaultFrench"For his experiments to determine the laws and the numerical data which enter into the calculation of steam engines"[13]
1850François AragoFrench"For his experimental investigations on polarized light, the concluding memoirs on which were communicated to the Academy of Sciences of Paris during the last two years"
1852George Gabriel StokesBritish"For his discovery of the change in the refrangibility of light"
1854Neil ArnottBritish"For the successful construction of the smokeless fire grate lately introduced by him, and for other valuable improvements in the application of heat to the warming and ventilation of apartments"
1856Louis PasteurFrench"For his discovery of the nature of racemic acid and its relations to polarized light, and for the researches to which he was led by that discovery"
1858Jules JaminFrench"For his various experimental researches on light"
1860James Clerk MaxwellBritish"For his researches on the composition of colours, and other optical papers"
1862Gustav KirchhoffGerman"For his researches on the fixed lines of the solar spectrum, and on the inversion of the bright lines in the spectra of artificial light"
1864John TyndallBritish"For his researches on the absorption and radiation of heat by gases and vapours"
1866Hippolyte FizeauFrench"For his optical researches, & especially for his investigations into the effect of heat on the refractive power of transparent bodies"
1868Balfour StewartBritish"For his researches on the qualitative as well as quantitative relation between the emissive and absorptive powers of bodies for heat and light, published originally in [1858 & 1859]"
1870Alfred Des CloizeauxFrench"For his researches in mineralogical optics"
1872Anders Jonas ÅngströmSwedish"For his researches on spectral analysis"
1874Joseph Norman LockyerBritish"For his spectroscopic researches on the Sun and on the chemical elements"
1875John William DraperAmerican"For his Researches on Radiant Energy"
1876Jules JanssenFrench"For his numerous & important researches in the radiation & absorption of light, carried on chiefly by means of the spectroscope"
1878Alfred CornuFrench"For his various optical researches, and especially for his recent redetermination of the velocity of the propagation of light"
1880William HugginsBritish"For his important researches in astronomical spectroscopy, and especially for his determination of the radial component of the proper motions of stars"
1882William de Wiveleslie AbneyBritish"For his photographic researches and his discovery of the method of photographing the less refrangible part of the spectrum, especially the infra-red region; also for his researches on the absorption of various compound bodies in this part of the spectrum"
1884Tobias Robertus ThalénSwedish"For his spectroscopic researches"
1886Samuel Pierpont LangleyAmerican"For his researches on the spectrum by means of the Bolometer"
1888Pietro TacchiniItalian"For important and long-continued investigations, which have largely advanced our knowledge of the physics of the Sun"
1890Heinrich HertzGerman"For his work in electromagnetic radiation"
1892Nils Christoffer DunérSwedish"For his spectroscopic researches on stars"
1894James DewarBritish"For his researches on the properties of matter at extremely low temperatures"
1896Philipp Lenard and Wilhelm RöntgenGerman"For their investigations of the phenomena produced outside a highly exhausted tube through which an electrical discharge is taking place"
1898Oliver LodgeBritish"For his researches in radiation and in the relations between matter and ether"
1900Henri BecquerelFrench"For his discoveries in radiation proceding [sic] from uranium"
1902Charles Algernon ParsonsBritish"For his success in the application of the steam turbine to industrial purposes, and for its recent extension to navigation"
1904Ernest RutherfordNew Zealander"For his researches on radio-activity, particularly for his discovery of the existence and properties of the gaseous emanations from radio-active bodies"
1906Hugh Longbourne CallendarBritish"For his experimental work on heat"
1908Hendrik LorentzDutch"On the ground of his investigations in optical and electrical science"
1910Heinrich RubensGerman"On the ground of his researches on radiation, especially of long wave length"
1912Heike Kamerlingh OnnesDutch"On the ground of his researches at low temperatures"
1914John StruttBritish"On the ground of his investigations in thermo-dynamics and on radiation"
1916William Henry BraggBritish"On the ground of his researches in X-ray radiation"
1918Charles Fabry and Alfred PerotFrench"On the ground of their contributions to optics"
1920Robert StruttBritish"On the ground of his researches into the properties of gases at high vacua"
1922Pieter ZeemanDutch"For his researches in optics"
1924Charles Vernon BoysBritish"For his invention of the gas calorimeter"
1926Arthur SchusterBritish"For his services to physical science, especially in the subjects of optics and terrestrial magnetism"
1928Friedrich PaschenGerman"For his contributions to the knowledge of spectra"
1930Peter DebyeDutch"For his work relating to specific heats and X-ray spectroscopy"
1932Fritz HaberGerman"For the outstanding importance of his work in physical chemistry, especially in the application of thermodynamics to chemical reactions"
1934Wander Johannes de HaasDutch"For his researches on the properties of bodies at low temperatures, and in particular, for his recent work on cooling by the use of adiabatic demagnetisation"
1936Ernest George CokerBritish"For his researches on the use of polarized light for investigating directly the stresses in transparent models of engineering structures"
1938Robert WoodAmerican"In recognition of his distinguished work and discoveries in many branches of physical optics"
1940Manne SiegbahnSwedish"For his pioneer work in high precision X-ray spectroscopy and its applications"
1942Gordon DobsonBritish"In recognition of his outstanding work on the physics of the upper air and its application to meteorology"
1944Harry RicardoBritish"In recognition of his important contributions to research on the internal combustion engine, which have greatly influenced the development of the various types"
1946Alfred EgertonBritish"In recognition of his leading part in the application of modern physical chemistry to many technological problems of pressing importance"
1948Francis SimonGerman"For his outstanding contributions to the attainment of low temperatures and to the study of the properties of substances at temperatures near the absolute zero"[14]
1950Frank WhittleBritish"For his pioneering contributions to the jet propulsion of aircraft"[15]
1952Frits ZernikeDutch"In recognition of his outstanding work in the development of phase contrast microscopy"[16]
1954Cecil Reginald BurchBritish"For his distinguished contributions to the technique for the production of high vacua and to the development of the reflecting microscope"[17]
1956Frank Philip BowdenAustralian"In recognition of his distinguished work on the nature of friction"[18]
1958Thomas Ralph MertonBritish"In recognition of his distinguished researches in spectroscopy and optics"[19]
1960Alfred Gordon GaydonBritish"In recognition of his distinguished work in the field of molecular spectroscopy and particularly its application to the study of flame phenomena"
1962Dudley Maurice NewittBritish"In recognition of his distinguished contributions to chemical engineering"[20]
1964Hendrik van de HulstDutch"In recognition of his distinguished work on the scattering processes in the interplanetary medium and his prediction of the 21 cm spectral line from interstellar neutral hydrogen"
1966William PenneyBritish"In recognition of his distingsuihed [sic] and paramount personal contribution to the establishment of economic nuclear energy in Great Britain"[21]
1968Dennis GaborHungarian"In recognition of his distinguished contributions to optics, especially by establishing the principles of holography"[22]
1970Christopher HintonBritish"In recognition of his outstanding contributions to engineering and of his leadership of engineering design teams in the chemical and atomic energy industries and in electricity generation"[23]
1972Basil John MasonBritish"In recognition of his distinguished contributions to meteorology, particularly the physics of clouds"[24]
1974Alan CottrellBritish"In recognition of his contributions to physical metallurgy and particularly extending knowledge of the role of dislocation in the fracture of metals"
1976Ilya PrigogineBelgian"In recognition of his distinguished contributions to the theory of irreversible thermodynamics"
1978George PorterBritish"In recognition of his distinguished studies of very fast chemical reactions by flash photolysis"[25]
1980William Frank VinenBritish"In recognition of his discovery of the quantum of circulation in superfluid helium and his development of new techniques for precise measurements within liquid helium"
1982Charles Gorrie WynneBritish"In recognition of his unique contribution to the design of optical instruments ranging from large telescopes to bubble-chamber optics"
1984Harold Hopkins (physicist)British"In recognition of his many contributions to the theory and design of optical instruments, especially of a wide variety of important new medical instruments which have made a major contribution to clinical diagnosis and surgery"
1986Denis RookeBritish"In recognition of his contributions to scientific developments in the gas industry"[26]
1988Felix WeinbergBritish"In recognition of his pioneering work on optical diagnostics and electrical aspects of combustion and his fundamental studies of flame problems associated with jet engines and furnaces"[27]
1990Walter Eric SpearGerman"For discovering and applying techniques for depositing and characterising thin films of high quality amorphous silicon and for demonstrating that these can be doped to give useful electronic devices, such as cost-effective solar cells and large arrays of thin film transistors, now used in commercial, flat-panel, LCD colour TV screens"[28]
1992Harold Neville Vazeille TemperleyBritish"In recognition of his wide-ranging and imaginative contributions to applied mathematics and statistical physics, especially in the physical properties of liquids and the development of the Temperley-Lieb algebra"
1994Andrew KellerBritish"In recognition of his contributions to polymer science, in particular his elucidation of the basis of polymeric crystallization, a fundamental ingredient in many materials, to methods of making strong fibres and to the understanding of polymer solutions which underlie this technology"[29]
1996Grenville TurnerBritish"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"[30]
1998Richard FriendBritish"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"[31]
2000Wilson SibbettBritish"In recognition of his research on ultra-short pulse laser science and technology. In his work on streak cameras, he first demonstrated the technique of sub-picosecond chronoscopy whereby the cameras, by synchronous repetition, can function as oscilloscopes. He conducted pioneering work on coupled cavity modelocking, and his discovery of the technique of self-modelocking led to the commercialisation of sub-picosecond pulses over a wide tuning range. He also exploited diode-pumped solid-state lasers in nonlinear optics for frequency conversion by demonstrating the world's first all-solid-state optical parametric oscillator"[32]
2002David KingBritish"for his outstanding contributions to our fundamental understanding of the structure and dynamics of reaction processes on solid surfaces"[33]
2004Richard DixonBritish"in recognition of his many contributions to molecular spectroscopy and to the dynamics of molecular photodissociation"[34]
2006Jean-Pierre HansenLuxembourger"for his pioneering work on molten salts and dense plasmas that has led the way to a quantitative understanding of the structure and dynamics of strongly correlated ionic liquids"[35]
2008Edward HindsBritish"for his extensive and highly innovative work in ultra-cold matter"[36]
2010Gilbert LonzarichBritish"for his outstanding work into novel types of quantum matter using innovative instrumentation and techniques"
2012Roy TaylorBritish"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"
2014Jeremy BaumbergBritish"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."
2016Ortwin HessGerman/British"for his pioneering work in active nano-plasmonics and optical metamaterials with quantum gain."
2018Ian WalmsleyBritish"for pioneering work in the quantum control of light and matter on ultrashort timescales"
2019Miles PadgettBritish"for world leading research on optical orbital momentum including an angular form of the Einstein-Padolsky-Rosen paradox"



  • "The Rumford Medal".


  1. "Oxford DNB article: Thompson, Sir Benjamin (subscription needed)". Oxford University Press. 2004. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  2. "Malus biography". University of St Andrews. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  3. "Oxford DNB article: Wells, William Charles (subscription needed)". Oxford University Press. 2004. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  4. "Oxford DNB article:Davy, Sir Humphry". Oxford University Press. 2004. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  5. "Oxford DNB article: Brewster, Sir David (subscription needed)". Oxford University Press. 2004. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  6. "Fresnel biography". University of St Andrews. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  7. "Oxford DNB article:Daniell, John Frederic". Oxford University Press. 2004. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  8. Amedeo Avogadro, a Scientific Biography. Springer. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  9. "Oxford DNB article:Forbes, James David (subscription needed)". Oxford University Press. 2004. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  10. "Biot biography". University of St Andrews. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  11. "Oxford DNB article: Talbot, William Henry Fox". Oxford University Press. 2004. Retrieved 2009-02-09.
  12. "Oxford DNB article: Faraday, Michael (subscription needed)". Oxford University Press. 2004. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  13. "Collection of the Month - Henri Victor Regnault". The Royal Society. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  14. "Royal Society: Simon, Sir Francis Eugene (1893-1956)". Aim25. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  15. "Fellow of the month - Sir Frank Whittle". The Royal Society. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  16. "Frits Zernike - Biography". Nobel Prize Foundation. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  17. "Oxford DNB article:Burch, Cecil Reginald". Oxford University Press. 2004. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  18. "Bowden, Frank Philip - Bright Sparcs entry". Bright Sparcs. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  19. "Oxford DNB article:Merton, Sir Thomas Ralph". Oxford University Press. 2004. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  20. "Oxford DNB article:Newitt, Dudley Maurice (subscription needed)". Oxford University Press. 2004. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  21. "PENNEY, William, Baron Penney of East Hendred (1909-1991)". Aim25. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  22. "Dennis Gabor - Autobiography". The Nobel Foundation. Archived from the original on 2012-08-02. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  23. "Papers and correspondence of Christopher Hinton, Baron Hinton of Bankside, 1901-1983". Archives Hub. Mimas. Archived from the original on 2012-07-20. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  24. "Sir John Mason". Institute of Physics. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  25. "Special Issue in commemoration of Lord George Porter". The Royal Society of Chemistry. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  26. "Sir Denis Rooke, OM - Telegraph". The Daily Telegraph. London. 2008-09-05. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  27. "80th Birthday Celebration for Professor Felix Weinberg, at the Chemical Engineering Department, Imperial College London, 23 April 2008". Combustion Institute (British Section). Archived from the original on 2 October 2011. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  28. Fitzgerald, Alexander. "Walter Eric Spear - Obituary" (PDF). Royal Society of Edinburgh. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-20. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
  29. "Professor Dixon awarded Rumford Medal". Bristol University. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  30. "Prof Grenville Turner FRS School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences". The University of Manchester. Archived from the original on 2008-10-13. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
  31. "NCL Innovation Park". National Chemical Laboratory. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
  32. "Professor Wilson Sibbett FRS, CBE". The Royal Society. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
  33. "Annual Report :Awards, Prizes and Appointments". University of Cambridge. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
  34. "Bristol University - News from the University". Bristol University. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
  35. "Prof Hansen Meeting". University of Cambridge. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
  36. "The Northern Echo: Prestigious awards for school's old boys". The Northern Echo. 4 November 2007. Archived from the original on 2012-05-23. Retrieved 2009-01-26.

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.