The Info List - Copley Medal

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The COPLEY MEDAL is a scientific award given by the Royal Society
Royal Society
, London, for "outstanding achievements in research in any branch of science." It alternates between the physical and the biological sciences. Given every year, the medal is the oldest Royal Society medal still awarded, and probably the oldest surviving scientific award in the world, having first been given in 1731 to Stephen Gray , for "his new Electrical Experiments: – as an encouragement to him for the readiness he has always shown in obliging the Society with his discoveries and improvements in this part of Natural Knowledge". The Copley Medal
Copley Medal
awarded to Mendeleev in 1905.


* 1 History * 2 Medal Recipients * 3 References * 4 External links


The medal was created following a donation of £ 100 to be used for carrying out experiments by Sir Godfrey Copley , for which the interest on the amount was used for several years. The conditions for the medal have been changed several times; in 1736, it was suggested that "a medal or other honorary prize should be bestowed on the person whose experiment should be best approved", and this remained the rule until 1831, when the conditions were changed so that the medal would be awarded to the researcher that the Royal Society
Royal Society
Council decided most deserved it. A second donation of £1666 13s . 4d . was made by Sir Joseph William Copley in 1881, and the interest from that amount is used to pay for the medal. The medal in its current format is made of silver gilt and awarded with a £5000 prize.

Since its inception, it has been awarded to many notable scientists, including 52 winners of the Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
: 17 in Physics , 21 in Physiology or Medicine , and 14 in Chemistry . John Theophilus Desaguliers has won the medal the most often, winning in 1734, 1736 and 1741. In 1976, Dorothy Hodgkin
Dorothy Hodgkin
became the first and, as of 2015, the only female recipient.




Gray, StephenStephen Gray "For his new Electrical Experiments: – as an encouragement to him for the readiness he has always shown in obliging the Society with his discoveries and improvements in this part of Natural Knowledge"


Gray, StephenStephen Gray "For the Experiments he made for the year 1732"


No Award — —


Desaguliers, John Theophilus John Theophilus Desaguliers
John Theophilus Desaguliers
"In consideration of his several Experiments performed before the Society"


No Award — —


Desaguliers, John Theophilus John Theophilus Desaguliers
John Theophilus Desaguliers
"For his experiments made during the year"


Belchier, John John Belchier "For his Experiment to show the property of a Diet of Madder Root in dyeing the Bones of living animals of a red colour"


Valoue, James James Valoue "For his invention of an Engine for driving the Piles to make a Foundation for the Bridge to be erected at Westminster, the Model whereof had been shown to the Society" —


Hales, Stephen Stephen Hales
Stephen Hales
"For his Experiments towards the Discovery of Medicines for dissolving the Stone; and Preservatives for keeping Meat in long voyages at Sea"


Stuart, AlexanderAlexander Stuart "For his Lectures on Muscular Motion. As a further addition for his services to the Society in the care and pains he has taken therein"


Desaguliers, John Theophilus John Theophilus Desaguliers
John Theophilus Desaguliers
"For his Experiments towards the discovery of the properties of Electricity. As an addition to his allowance (as Curator) for the present year."


Middleton, ChristopherChristopher Middleton "For the communication of his Observations in the attempt of discovering a North-West passage to the East Indies through Hudsons Bay"


Trembley, Abraham Abraham Trembley "For his Experiments on the Polypus" —


Baker, HenryHenry Baker "For his curious Experiments relating to the Crystallization or Configuration of the minute particles of Saline Bodies dissolved in a menstruum"


Watson, WilliamWilliam Watson "On account of the surprising discoveries in the phenomena of Electricity, exhibited in his late Experiments"


Robins, Benjamin Benjamin Robins
Benjamin Robins
"On account of his curious Experiments for showing the resistance of the Air, and his rules for establishing his doctrine thereon for the motion of Projectiles"


Knight, Gowin Gowin Knight "On account of several very curious Experiments exhibited by him, both with Natural and Artificial Magnets"


Bradley, James James Bradley "On account of his very curious and wonderful discoveries in the apparent motion of the Fixed Stars, and the causes of such apparent motion"


Harrison, John John Harrison
John Harrison
"On account of those very curious Instruments, invented and made by him, for the exact mensuration of Time"


Edwards, GeorgeGeorge Edwards "On account of a very curious Book lately published by him, and intiyled, A Natural History of Birds, as well as into the Mephitic qualities of this Spirit. (Brownrigg)"

"For his Experiments and Observations on the agreement between the specific gravities of the several Metals, and their colours when united to glass, as well as those of their other preparations. (Delaval)"

"For his Paper communicated this present year, containing his Experiments relating to Fixed Air. (Cavendish)"


Ellis, JohnJohn Ellis "For his Papers of the year 1767, On the animal nature of the Genus of Zoophytes called Corallina, and the Actinia Sociata, or Clustered Animal Flower, lately found on the sea coasts of the new-ceded Islands"


Woulfe, Peter Peter Woulfe "For his Experiments on the Distillation of Acids, Volatile Alkalies, and other substances"


Hewson, WilliamWilliam Hewson "For his Two Papers, entitled, An Account of the Lymphatic System in Amphibious Animals, – and An Account of the Lymphatic System in Fish" —


Hamilton, WilliamWilliam Hamilton "For his Paper, entitled, An Account of a Journey to Mount Etna"


Raper, Matthew Matthew Raper "For his paper entitled, An Enquiry into the value of ancient Greek and Roman Money" —


Priestley, Joseph Joseph Priestley "On account of the many curious and useful Experiments contained in his observations"


Walsh, JohnJohn Walsh "For his Paper on the Torpedo"


No Award — —


Maskelyne, Nevil Nevil Maskelyne "In consideration of his curious and laborious Observations on the Attraction of Mountains, made in Scotland, – on Schehallien"


Cook, James James Cook
James Cook
"For his Paper, giving an account of the method he had taken to preserve the health of the crew of H.M. Ship the Resolution, during her late voyage round the world. Whose communication to the Society was of such importance to the public"


Mudge, John John Mudge "On account of his valuable Paper containing directions for making the best Composition for the metals of Reflecting Telescopes; together with a description of the process for grinding, polishing, and giving the best speculum the true parabolic form" —


Hutton, Charles Charles Hutton "For his paper, entitled, The force of Fired Gunpowder, and the initial velocity of Cannon Balls, determined by Experiments"


No Award — —


Vince, Samuel Samuel Vince "For his paper, entitled, An investigation of the Principles of Progressive and Rotatory Motion, printed in the Philosophical Transactions"


Herschel, William William Herschel
William Herschel
"For the Communication of his Discovery of a new and singular Star; a discovery which does him particular honour, as, in all probability, this star has been for many years, perhaps ages, within the bounds of astronomic vision, and yet till now, eluded the most diligent researches of other observers"


Kirwan, Richard Richard Kirwan "As a reward for the merit of his labours in the science of Chemistry. For his chemical analyses of Salts"


Goodricke, John John Goodricke and Thomas Hutchins "For his discovery of the Period of the Variation of Light in the Star Algol. (Goodricke)"

"For his Experiments to ascertain the point of Mercurial Congelation. (Hutchins)"


Waring, Edward Edward Waring "For his Mathematical Communications to the Society. For his Paper On the Summation of Series, whose general term is a determinate function of z the distance from the first term of the series"


Roy, William William Roy "For his Measurement of a Base on Hounslow Heath"


No Award — —


Hunter, JohnJohn Hunter "For his three Papers, – On the Ovaria, On the identity of the dog, wolf, and jackall species, and On the anatomy of Whales, printed in the Philosophical Transactions for 1787"


Blagden, Charles Charles Blagden "For his two Papers on Congelation, printed in the last (78th) volume of the Philosophical transactions"


Morgan, WilliamWilliam Morgan "For his two Papers on the values of Reversions and Survivorships, printed in the two last volumes of the Philosophical Transactions"


No Award — —


Rennell, James James Rennell and

Jean-André Deluc "For his Paper on the Rate of Travelling as performed by Camels, printed in the last (81st) volume of the Philosophical Transactions. (Rennell)"

"For his Improvements in Hygrometry. (De Luc)"


Thompson, Benjamin Benjamin Thompson
Benjamin Thompson
"For his various Papers on the Properties and Communication of Heat"


No Award — —


Volta, Alessandro Alessandro Volta
Alessandro Volta
"For his several Communications explanatory of certain Experiments published by Professor Galvani"


Ramsden, Jesse Jesse Ramsden
Jesse Ramsden
"For his various inventions and improvements in the construction of the Instruments for the Trigonometrical measurements carried on by the late Major General Roy, and by Lieut. Col. Williams and his associates"


Atwood, George George Atwood "For his Paper on the construction and analysis of geometrical propositions determining the positions assumed by homogeneal bodies which float freely, and at rest; and also determining the Stability of Ships and other floating bodies"


No Award — —


Shuckburgh-Evelyn, George George Shuckburgh-Evelyn and

Charles Hatchett "For his various Communications printed in the Philosophical Transactions. (Evelyn)"

"For his Chemical Communications printed in the Philosophical Transactions. (Hatchett)"


Hellins, John John Hellins "For his improved Solution of a problem in Physical Astronomy, and his other Mathematical Papers"


Howard, Edward Charles Edward Charles Howard "For his Paper on a New Fulminating Mercury"


Cooper, Astley Astley Cooper
Astley Cooper
"For his Papers – on the effects which take place from the destruction of the Membrana Tympani of the Ear; with an account of an operation for the removal of a particular species of Deafness"


Wollaston, William Hyde William Hyde Wollaston
William Hyde Wollaston
"For his various Papers printed in the Philosophical Transactions"


Chenevix, RichardRichard Chenevix "For his various Chemical Papers printed in the Philosophical Transactions"


Tennant, Smithson Smithson Tennant "For his various Chemical Discoveries communicated to the Society, and printed in several volumes of the Philosophical Transactions"


Davy, Humphry Humphry Davy "For his various Communications published in the Philosophical Transactions"


Knight, Thomas Andrew Thomas Andrew Knight
Thomas Andrew Knight
"For his various Papers on Vegetation, printed in the Philosophical Transactions"


Home, Everard Everard Home "For his various Papers on Anatomy and Physiology, printed in the Philosophical Transactions" —


Henry, WilliamWilliam Henry "For his various papers communicated to the society, and printed in the Philosophical Transactions" —


Troughton, Edward Edward Troughton "For the Account of his Method of dividing Astronomical Instruments, printed in the last volume of the Philosophical Transactions"


No Award — —


Brodie, Benjamin CollinsBenjamin Collins Brodie "For his Papers printed in the Philosophical Transactions. On the influence of the Brain on the action of the Heart, and the generation of Animal Heat; and on the different modes in which death is brought on by certain Vegetable Poisons"


No Award — —


Brande, William Thomas William Thomas Brande "For his Communications concerning the Alcohol contained in Fermented Liquors and other Papers, printed in the Philosophical Transactions" —


Ivory, JamesJames Ivory "For his various Mathematical Contributions printed in the Philosophical Transactions"


Brewster, David David Brewster "For his Paper on the Polarization of Light by Reflection from Transparent Bodies"


No Award — —


Kater, Henry Henry Kater "For his Experiments on the Pendulum"


Seppings, Robert Robert Seppings "For his Papers on the construction of Ships of War, printed in the Philosophical Transactions" —


No Award — —


Orsted, Hans Christian ! Hans Christian Ørsted "For his Electro-magnetic Discoveries"


Sabine, Edward Edward Sabine
Edward Sabine

John Herschel
John Herschel
"For his various Communications to the Royal Society relating to his researches made in the late Expedition to the Arctic Regions. (Sabine)"

"For his Papers printed in the Philosophical Transactions. (Herschel)"


Buckland, William William Buckland
William Buckland
"For his Paper on the Fossil Teeth and Bones discovered in a Cave at Kirkdale"


Pond, John John Pond "For his various Communications to the Royal Society" —


Brinkley, JohnJohn Brinkley "For his various Communications to the Royal Society"


Arago, François François Arago and Peter Barlow "For the Discovery of the Magnetic Properties of substances not containing Iron. For the Discovery of the power of various bodies, principally metallic, to receive magnetic impressions, in the same, though in a more evanescent manner than malleable Iron, and in an infinitely less intense degree. (Arago)"

"For his various Communications on the subject of Magnetism. (Barlow)"


South, James James South "For his observations of Double Stars, and his Paper on the Discordances between the Suns observed and computed Right Ascensions, published in the Transactions of the Society. For his Paper of Observations of the Apparent Distances and Positions of Four Hundred and Fifty-eight Double and Triple Stars, published in the present volume (1826, Part 1.) of the Transactions"


Prout, William William Prout and

Henry Foster "For his Paper entitled, On the ultimate Composition of simple alimentary substances, with some preliminary remarks on the analysis of organized bodies in general. (Prout)"

"For his magnetic and other observations made during the Arctic expedition to Port Bowen. (Foster)"


No Award — —


No Award — —


No Award — —


Airy, George Biddell George Biddell Airy
George Biddell Airy
"For his Papers, On the principle of the construction of the Achromatic Eye-pieces of Telescopes, – On the Spherical Aberration of the Eye-pieces of Telescopes, and for other Papers on Optical Subjects in the Transactions of the Cambridge Philosophical Society"


Faraday, Michael Michael Faraday
Michael Faraday
and Siméon Denis Poisson "For his discovery of Magneto-Electricity as detailed in his Experimental Researches in Electricity, published in the Philosophical Transactions for the present year. (Faraday)"

"For his work entitled, Nouvelle Theorie de lAction Capillaire. (Poisson)"


No Award — —


Plana, Giovanni Antonio Amedeo Giovanni Antonio Amedeo Plana "For his work entitled, Theorie du Mouvement de la Lune"


Harris, William Snow William Snow Harris "For his experimental investigations of the force of electricity of high intensity contained in the Philosophical Transactions of 1834"


Berzelius, Jöns Jacob Jöns Jacob Berzelius and Francis Kiernan "For his systematic application of the doctrine of definite proportions to the analysis of mineral bodies, as contained in his Nouveau Systeme de Mineralogie, and in other of his works. (Berzelius)"

"For his discoveries relating to the structure of the liver, as detailed in his paper communicated to the Royal Society, and published in the Philosophical Transactions for 1833. (Kiernan)" —


Becquerel, Antoine César Antoine César Becquerel
Antoine César Becquerel

John Frederic Daniell "For his various memoirs on the subject of electricity, published in the Memoires deacademie Royale des Sciences de lInstitut de France, and particularly for those on the production of crystals of metallic sulphurets and of sulphur, by the long-continued action of electricity of very low tension, and published in the tenth volume of those Memoires. (Becquerel)"

"For his two papers on voltaic combinations published in the Philosophical Transactions for 1836. (Daniell)"


Gauss, Carl Friedrich Carl Friedrich Gauss
Carl Friedrich Gauss

and Michael Faraday
Michael Faraday
"For his inventions and mathematical researches in magnetism. (Gauss)"

"For his researches in specific electrical induction. (Faraday)"


Brown, RobertRobert Brown "For his discoveries during a series of years, on the subject of vegetable impregnation"


von Liebig, Justus Justus von Liebig and

Jacques Charles François Sturm "For his discoveries in organic chemistry, and particularly for his development of the composition and theory of organic radicals. (Liebig)"

"For his "Memoire sur la Resolution des Equations Numeriques," published in the Memoires des Savans Etrangers for 1835. (Sturm)"


Ohm, Georg Georg Ohm "For his researches into the laws of electric currents contained in various memoirs published in Schweiggers Journal, Poggendorffs Annalen and in a separate work entitled Die galvanische Kette mathematisch bearbeitet"


MacCullagh, James James MacCullagh "For his researches connected with the wave theory of light, contained in the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy"


Dumas, Jean-Baptiste Jean-Baptiste Dumas "For his late valuable researches in organic chemistry, particularly those contained in a series of memoirs on chemical types and the doctrine of substitution, and also for his elaborate investigations of the atomic weights of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and other elements" —


Matteucci, Carlo Carlo Matteucci "For his various researches in animal electricity"


Schwann, Theodor Theodor Schwann "For his physiological researches on the development of animal the Council considering such prediction confirmed as it was by the immediate discovery of the Planet to be one of the proudest triumphs of modern analysis applied to the Newtonian Theory of Gravitation"


Herschel, John John Herschel
John Herschel
"For his work entitled Results of Astronomical Observations made during the years 1834, 1835, 1836, 1837 and 1838, at the Cape of Good Hope; being a completion of a telescopic survey of the whole surface of the visible heavens, commenced in 1825"


Adams, John Couch John Couch Adams
John Couch Adams
"For his investigations relative to the disturbances of Uranus, and for his application of the inverse problem of perturbations thereto"


Murchison, Roderick Roderick Murchison
Roderick Murchison
"For the eminent services he has rendered to geological science during many years of active observation in several parts of Europe; and especially for the establishment of that classification of the older Palaeozoic deposits designated the Silurian System, as set forth in the two works entitled The Silurian System founded on Geological Researches in England, and The Geology of Russia in Europe and the Ural Mountains" —


Hansen, Peter Andreas Peter Andreas Hansen "For his researches in physical astronomy"


Owen, Richard Richard Owen "On account of his important discoveries in comparative anatomy and other researches"


Agassiz, Louis Louis Agassiz "For his eminent researches in palaeontology and other branches of science, and particularly for his great works the Poissons Fossiles, and his Poissons du Vieux Gres Rouge dEcosse"


Links: ------ /wiki/Royal_Society /#cite_note-cop1-1 /#cite_note-2 /wiki/Stephen_Gray_(scientist)