Awards & Winners

Hughes Medal

Hughes Medal

The Hughes Medal is awarded by the Royal Society of London "in recognition of an original discovery in the physical sciences, particularly electricity and magnetism or their applications". Named after David E. Hughes, the medal is awarded with a gift of £1000. The medal was first awarded in 1902 to J. J. Thomson "for his numerous contributions to electric science, especially in reference to the phenomena of electric discharge in gases", and has since been awarded 105 times. The only year in which no medal was awarded was 1924; the Royal Society have not provided a reason for the lack of an award. Unlike other Royal Society medals, the Hughes Medal has never been awarded to the same individual more than once. A recent recipient was Michele Dougherty, who was awarded the medal "for innovative use of magnetic field data that led to discovery of an atmosphere around one of Saturn's moons and the way it revolutionised our view of the role of planetary moons in the Solar System". The medal has on occasion been awarded to multiple people at a time; in 1938 it was won by John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton "for their discovery that nuclei could be disintegrated by artificially produced bombarding particles", in 1981 by Peter Higgs and Tom Kibble "for their international contributions about the spontaneous breaking of fundamental symmetries in elementary-particle theory", in 1982 by Drummond Matthews and Frederick Vine "for their elucidation of the magnetic properties of the ocean floors which subsequently led to the plate tectonic hypothesis" and in 1988 by Archibald Howie and M.J. Whelan "for their contributions to the theory of electron diffraction and microscopy, and its application to the study of lattice defects in crystals".
Date Established : 1902

Check all the winners of Hughes Medal presented under Hughes Medal since 1902 .

Henning Sirringhaus

(for his pioneering development of inkjet printing processes for organic semiconductor devices, and dramatic improvement of their functioning and efficiency)

Matthew Rosseinsky

(for his influential discoveries in the synthetic chemistry of solid state electronic materials and novel microporous structures)

Andre Geim

(for his revolutionary discovery of graphene, and elucidation of its remarkable properties)

Michele Dougherty

(for innovative use of magnetic field data that led to discovery of an atmosphere around one of Saturn's moons and the way it revolutionised our view of the role of planetary moons in the Solar System)

Artur Ekert

(for his pioneering work on quantum cryptography and his many important contributions to the theory of quantum computation and other branches of quantum physics)

Michael Kelly

(for his work in the fundamental physics of electron transport and the creation of practical electronic devices which can be deployed in advanced systems)

Keith Moffatt

(for his contributions to the understanding of magnetohydrodynamics, especially to the mechanisms determining how magnetic fields can develop from a low background level to substantial amplitude)

John Clarke

(for his outstanding research, leading the world in the invention, building and development of innovative new Superconducting QUantum Interference Devices (SQUID), in their theory and in their application to a plethora of fundamental problems and their investigative tools)

Peter Edwards

(For his distinguished work as a solid state chemist. He has made seminal contributions to fields including superconductivity and the behaviour of metal nanoparticles, and has greatly advanced our understanding of the phenomenology of the metal-insulator transition.)

Alexander Dalgarno

(For his contributions to the theory of atomic and molecular process, and in particular its application to astrophysics. His studies of energy depositions provide the key to understanding emissions from terrestrial aurorae, planetary atmospheres and comets.)

John Pethica

(For his contributions to the field of nanometre and atomic scale mechanics. He invented and developed the technique of nanoindentation thereby revolutionising the mechanical characterisation of ultra-small volumes of materials. This has had a major influence on those industries concerned with thin film and coating technologies.)

C. N. R. Rao

(For his contributions to the field of materials chemistry, in particular, in relation to studies of the electronic and magnetic properties of transition metal oxides and high temperature superconductors. His work has been an inspiration to a generation of Indian scientists.)

Alexander Boksenberg

(For his landmark discoveries concerning the nature of active galactic nuclei, the physics of the intergalactic medium and of the interstellar gas in primordial galaxies. He is noted also for his exceptional contributions to the development of astronomical instrumentation including the Image Photon Counting System, a revolutionary electronic area detector for the detection of faint sources, which gave a major impetus to optical astronomy in the United Kingdom.)

Raymond Hide

(For his distinguished experimental and theoretical investigations of the hydrodynamics of rotating fluids and the application of such basic studies to the understanding of motions in the atmosphere and interiors of the major planets.)

Andrew Lang

(For his fundamental work on X-ray diffraction physics and for his developments of the techniques of X-ray topography, in particular in studying defects in crystal structures.)

A. David Buckingham

(For his contributions to chemical physics, in particular to long-range intermolecular forces, non-linear optics, problems related to the polarizability of the helium atom, the interpretation of NMR spectra, and the applications of ab initio computations.)

David Shoenberg

(For his work on the electronic structure of solids, in particular by exploiting low temperature techniques, particularly the De Haas Van Alphen effect, defining the Fermi surface of many metals.)

Robert G. Chambers

(For his many contributions to solid-state physics, in particular his ingenious and technically demanding experiment which verified the Ahoronov-Bohm effect concerning the behaviour of charged particles in magnetic fields)

George Isaak

(for his pioneering use of resonant scattering techniques to make extremely precise measures of Doppler velocity shifts in the solar photosphere)

M. J. Seaton

(For his theoretical research in atomic physics and leadership of the Opacity Project.)

Philip Burton Moon

(For his contributions in three main areas of science - nuclear physics, the discovery of gamma-ray resonances, and the use of colliding molecular beams to study chemical reactions.)

Thomas Cowling

(for his fundamental contributions to theoretical astrophysics including seminal theoretical studies of the role of electromagnetic induction in cosmic systems)

John Stewart Bell

(for his outstanding contributions to our understanding of the structure and interpretation of quantum theory, in particular demonstrating the unique nature of its predictions)

Archibald Howie, M.J. Whelan

(for their contributions to the theory of electron diffraction and microscopy, and its application to the study of lattice defects in crystals)

Michael Pepper

(for his many important experimental investigations into the fundamental properties of semiconductors especially low-dimensional systems, where he has elucidated some of their unusual properties like electron localization and the Quantum Hall effects)

Michael Woolfson

(For the creation of algorithms including MULTAN and SAYTAN which are used world-wide to solve the majority of reported crystal structures.)

Tony Skyrme

(for his contributions to theoretical particle and nuclear physics, and his discovery that particle-like entities simulating the properties of baryons can occur in non-linear meson field theories)

Roy Kerr

(for his distinguished work on relativity, especially for his discovery of the so-called Kerr Black Hole, which has been very influential)

John Clive Ward

(For his highly influential and original contributions to quantum field theory, particularly the Ward identity and the Salam-Ward theory of weak interactions.)

Drummond Matthews, Frederick Vine

(For their elucidation of the magnetic properties of the ocean floors which subsequently led to the plate tectonic hypothesis.)

Peter Higgs, Tom W. B. Kibble

(For their international contributions about the spontaneous breaking of fundamental symmetries in elementary-particle theory.)

Francis Farley

(For his ultra-precise measurements of the muon magnetic moment, a severe test of quantum electrodynamics and of the nature of the muon.)

Robert Joseph Paton Williams

(For his distinguished studies of the conformations of computer molecules in solution by the use of nuclear magnetic resonance.)

William Cochran

(For his pioneering contributions to the science of X-ray crystallography, in which his work has made a profound impact on its development and application, and for his original contributions to lattice dynamics and its relation to phase transitions, which stimulated a new and fruitful field of results.)

Antony Hewish

(For his outstanding contributions to radioastronomy, including the discovery and identification of pulsars.)

Stephen Hawking

(For his distinguished contributions to the application of general relativity to astrophysics, especially to the behaviour of highly condensed matter.)

Richard Dalitz

(For his distinguished contributions to the theory of the basic particles of matter.)

Peter Fowler

(For his outstanding contributions to cosmic ray and elementary particle physics.)

Peter Hirsch

(For his distinguished contributions to the development of the electron microscope thin film technique for the study of crystal defects and its application to a very wide range of problems in materials science and metallurgy.)

Brian Josephson

(Particularly for his discovery of the remarkable properties of junctions between superconducting materials.)

Robert Hanbury Brown

(For his distinguished work in developing a new form of stellar interfrometer, culminating in his observations of alpha virginis.)

David Bates

(For his distinguished contributions to theoretical atomic and molecular physics and its applications to atmospheric physics, plasma physics and astrophysics.)

Nicholas Kurti

(For his distinguished work in low-temperature physics and in thermodynamics.)

Freeman Dyson

(For his distinguished fundamental work in theoretical physics, and especially on quantum electrodynamics.)

Kurt Mendelssohn

(For his distinguished contributions to cryophysics, especially his discoveries in superconductivity and superfluidity.)

Nicholas Kemmer

(For his numerous discoveries of major importance in theoretical nuclear physics which he has made.)

Denys Wilkinson

(For his distinguished experimental and theoretical investigation in nuclear structure and high energy physics.)

Abdus Salam

(For his distinguished contributions to quantum mechanics and the theory of fundamental particles.)

Frederic Calland Williams

(For distinguished work on early computers.)

Brebis Bleaney

(For his distinguished studies of electrical and magnetic phenomena and their correlation with atomic and molecular properties.)

Alan Cottrell

(For his distinguished work on the physical properties of metals, particularly in relation to mechanical deformation and to the effects of irradiation.)

Joseph Lade Pawsey

(For his distinguished contributions to radio astronomy both in the study of solar and of cosmic ray emission.)

Brian Pippard

(For his distinguished contributions in the field of low temperature physics.)

Edward Andrade

(For his distinguished contributions to many branches of classical physics.)

Joseph Proudman

(For his distinguished work on dynamical oceanography.)

Frederick Lindemann, 1st Viscount Cherwell

(For his distinguished work in many fields: the meting point formula and theory of specific heats; ionisation of stars; meteors and temperature inversion in the stratosphere.)

Harrie Massey

(For his distinguished contributions to atomic and molecular physics, particularly in regard to collisions involving the production and recombination of ions.)

Martin Ryle

(For his distinguished and original experimental researches in radio astronomy.)

Edward Bullard

(For his important contributions to the development, both theoretical and experimental, of the physics of the Earth.)

Philip Dee

(Particularly for his distinguished studies on the disintegration of atomic nuclei, particularly those using the Wilson cloud chamber technique.)

Hans Kramers

(For his distinguished work on the quantum theory, particularly its application to the optical and magnetic properties of matter.)

Max Born

(For his contributions to theoretical physics in general and to the development of quantum mechanics in particular.)

C. F. Powell

(For his distinguished work on the photography of particle tracks, and in connexion with the discovery of mesons and their transformation.)

Robert Watson-Watt

(For his distinguished contributions to atmospheric physics and to the development of radar.)

Frédéric Joliot-Curie

(For his distinguished contributions to nuclear physics, particularly the discovery of artificial radioactivity and of neutron emission in the fission process.)

John Randall

(For his distinguished researches into fluorescent materials and into the production of high frequency electro-magnetic radiation.)

Basil Schonland

(For his work on atmospheric electricity and of other physical researches.)

George Finch

(For his fundamental contributions to the study of the structure and properties of surfaces, and for his important work on the electrical ignition of gases.)

Mark Oliphant

(For his distinguished work in nuclear physics and mastery of methods of generating and applying high potentials.)

Enrico Fermi

(For his outstanding contributions to the knowledge of the electrical structure of matter, his work in quantum theory, and his experimental studies of the neutron.)

Nevill Francis Mott

(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.)

Arthur Compton

(For his discovery of the Compton Effect; and for his work on cosmic rays.)

George Paget Thomson

(For his important discoveries in connexion with the diffraction of electrons by matter.)

John Cockcroft, Ernest Walton

(For their discovery that nuclei could be disintegrated by artificially produced bombarding particles.)

Ernest Lawrence

(For his work on the development of the cyclotron and its application to investigations of nuclear disintegration.)

Walter H. Schottky

(For his discovery of the Schrot Effect in thermionic emission and his invention of the screen-grid tetrode and a superheterodyne method of receiving wireless signals.)

Clinton Davisson

(For his research that resulted in the discovery of the physical existence of electron waves through long-continued investigations on the reflection of electrons from the crystal planes of nickel and other metals.)

Karl Manne Georg Siegbahn

(For his work as a physicist and technician on long-wave X-rays.)

Edward Victor Appleton

(For his researches into the effect of the Heaviside layer upon the transmission of wireless signals.)

James Chadwick

(For his researches on radioactivity.)

William Lawrence Bragg

(For his pioneer work on the elucidation of crystal structure by X-ray analysis.)

C. V. Raman

(For his studies on the abnormal scattering of light.)

Hans Geiger

(For his invention and development of methods of counting alpha and beta particles.)

Maurice de Broglie

(For his work on X-ray spectra.)

William D. Coolidge

(For his work on the X-rays and the development of highly efficient apparatus for their production.)

Henry Jackson

(For his pioneer work in the scientific investigations of radiotelegraphy and its application to navigation.)

Frank Edward Smith

(For his determination of fundamental electrical units and for researches in technical electricity.)

Robert Andrews Millikan

(For his determination of the electronic charge and of other physical constants.)

Francis William Aston

(For his discovery of isotopes of a large number of the elements by the method of positive rays.)

Niels Henrik David Bohr

(For his research in theoretical physics)

Owen Willans Richardson

(For his work in experimental physics, and especially thermionics.)

Charles Chree

(For his researches in terrestrial magnetism.)

Irving Langmuir

(For his researches in molecular physics.)

Charles Glover Barkla

(For his researches in connexion with X-ray radiation.)

Elihu Thomson

(For his researches in experimental electricity.)

Paul Langevin

(For his important contributions to, and pre-eminent position in, electrical science.)

John Sealy Townsend

(For his researches on electric induction in gases.)

Alexander Graham Bell

Honored for : Invention of the telephone
(For his share in the invention of the telephone, and more especially the construction of the telephone receiver.)

William Duddell

(For his investigations in technical electricity.)

Charles Thomson Rees Wilson

(For his work on nuclei in dust-free air, and his work on ions in gases and atmospheric electricity.)

John Ambrose Fleming

(For his researches in electricity and electrical measurements.)

Richard Glazebrook

(For his researches on electrical standards.)

Eugen Goldstein

(For his discoveries on the nature of electric discharge in rarefied gasses.)

Ernest Howard Griffiths

(For his contributions to exact physical measurement.)

Hertha Marks Ayrton

(For her experimental investigations on the electric arc, and also on sand ripples.)

Augusto Righi

(For his experimental researches in electrical science, including electric vibrations.)

Joseph Swan

(For his invention of the incandescent lamp, and his other inventions and improvements in the practical applications of electricity.)

Johann Wilhelm Hittorf

(For his long continued experimental researches on the electric discharge in liquids and gases.)

Joseph John Thomson

(For his numerous contributions to electric science, especially in reference to the phenomena of electric discharge in gases.)