Fellows of the Royal Society
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Fellowship of the Royal Society (FRS, ForMemRS and HonFRS) is an award granted by the judges of the
Royal Society The Royal Society, formally The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, is a and the 's national . Founded on 28 November 1660, it was granted a by as The Royal Society. The society fulfils a number of roles: promoting sc ...
of London to individuals who have made a "substantial contribution to the improvement of
natural knowledge
natural knowledge
, including
mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ), formulas and related structures (), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (), and quantities and their changes ( and ). There is no general consensus abo ...
,
engineering science Engineering physics, or engineering science, refers to the study of the combined disciplines of physics, mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structur ...
, and
medical science Medicine is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations ...
". Fellowship of the Society, the oldest known scientific academy in continuous existence, is a significant honour. It has been awarded to many eminent scientists throughout history, including
Isaac Newton Sir Isaac Newton (25 December 1642 – 20 March Old Style and New Style dates, 1726/27) was an English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, and author (described in his time as a "natural philosophy, natural philosopher") ...

Isaac Newton
(1672),
Charles Darwin Charles Robert Darwin (; ; 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English , and , best known for his contributions to the science of . His proposition that all species of life have descended from is now widely accepted and cons ...

Charles Darwin
(1839),
Michael Faraday Michael Faraday (; 22 September 1791 – 25 August 1867) was an English scientist A scientist is a person who conducts scientific research The scientific method is an Empirical evidence, empirical method of acquiring knowledge ...

Michael Faraday
(1824),
Ernest Rutherford Ernest Rutherford, 1st Baron Rutherford of Nelson, (30 August 1871 – 19 October 1937) was a New Zealand-born British physicist A physicist is a scientist A scientist is a person who conducts Scientific method, scientific resea ...
(1903),
Srinivasa Ramanujan Srinivasa Ramanujan (; born Srinivasa Ramanujan Aiyangar; 22 December 188726 April 1920) was an Indian mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) ...
(1918),
Albert Einstein Albert Einstein ( ; ; 14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born , widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest physicists of all time. Einstein is known for developing the , but he also made important contributions to the develo ...

Albert Einstein
(1921),
Paul Dirac Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac (; 8 August 1902 – 20 October 1984) was an English theoretical physicist who is regarded as one of the most significant physicists of the 20th century. Dirac made fundamental contributions to the early developme ...

Paul Dirac
(1930),
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head o ...

Winston Churchill
(1941),
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar () (19 October 1910 – 21 August 1995) was an Indian-American astrophysicist who spent his professional life in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U ...

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
(1944),
Dorothy Hodgkin Dorothy Mary Crowfoot Hodgkin (née Crowfoot; 12 May 1910 – 29 July 1994) was a Nobel Prize-winning British chemist who advanced the technique of X-ray crystallography to determine the structure of biomolecules, which became essential for ...
(1947),
Alan Turing Alan Mathison Turing (; 23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954) was an English mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such to ...

Alan Turing
(1951),
Lise Meitner Lise Meitner ( , ; 7 November 1878 – 27 October 1968) was an Austrian-Swedish physics, physicist who contributed to the discoveries of the element protactinium and nuclear fission. While working at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute on radioactivit ...

Lise Meitner
(1955) and
Francis Crick Francis Harry Compton Crick (8 June 1916 – 28 July 2004) was a British molecular biologist, biophysicist, and neuroscientist A neuroscientist (or neurobiologist) is a scientist A scientist is a person who conducts Scientific method, scie ...

Francis Crick
(1959). More recently, fellowship has been awarded to
Stephen Hawking Stephen William Hawking (8 January 1942 – 14 March 2018) was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author who was director of research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge at the time of his ...

Stephen Hawking
(1974),
David Attenborough Sir David Frederick Attenborough (; born 8 May 1926) is an English broadcasting, broadcaster and natural historian. He is best known for writing and presenting, in conjunction with the BBC Natural History Unit, the nine natural history docume ...

David Attenborough
(1983),
Tim Hunt Sir Richard Timothy Hunt, (born 19 February 1943) is a British biochemist and molecular physiologist. He was awarded the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine ) , name = The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine , image = N ...
(1991),
Elizabeth Blackburn Elizabeth Helen Blackburn, (born 26 November 1948) is an Australian-United States, American Nobel laureate who is the former President of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Previously she was a biological researcher at the University of ...
(1992),
Tim Berners-Lee Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee (born 8 June 1955), also known as TimBL, is an English computer scientist best known as the inventor of the World Wide Web upright=1.35, A global map of the web index for countries in 2014 The World Wide W ...

Tim Berners-Lee
(2001),
Venkatraman Ramakrishnan Venkatraman "Venki" Ramakrishnan PRS (born 1952) is an India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous country ...
(2003), Atta-ur Rahman (2006), Andre Geim (2007), James Dyson (2015), Ajay Kumar Sood (2015), Subhash Khot (2017), Elon Musk (2018), and :Fellows of the Royal Society, around 8,000 others in total, including over 280 List of Nobel laureates, Nobel Laureates since 1900. , there are approximately 1,689 living Fellows, Foreign and Honorary Members, of which over 60 are Nobel Laureates. Fellowship of the Royal Society has been described by ''The Guardian'' as "the equivalent of a lifetime achievement Academy Awards, Oscar" with several institutions celebrating their announcement each year.


Fellowships

Up to 60 new Fellows (FRS), honorary (HonFRS) and foreign members (ForMemRS) are elected annually in late April or early May, from a pool of around 700 proposed candidates each year. New Fellows can only be nominated by existing Fellows for one of the fellowships described below:


Fellow

Every year, up to 52 new fellows are elected from the United Kingdom, the rest of the Commonwealth of Nations and Ireland, which make up around 90% of the society. Each candidate is considered on their merits and can be proposed from any sector of the scientific community. Fellows are elected for life on the basis of excellence in science and are entitled to use the post-nominal letters FRS.


Foreign member

Every year, fellows elect up to ten new foreign members. Like fellows, foreign members are elected for life through peer review on the basis of excellence in science. , there are around 165 foreign members, who are entitled to use the post-nominal ForMemRS.


Honorary fellow

Honorary Fellowship is an Honorary title (academic), honorary academic title awarded to candidates who have given distinguished service to the cause of science, but do not have the kind of scientific achievements required of Fellows or Foreign Members. Honorary Fellows include Bill Bryson (2013), Melvyn Bragg (2010), Robin Saxby (2015), David Sainsbury, Baron Sainsbury of Turville (2008) and Onora O'Neill (2007). Honorary Fellows are entitled to use the post nominal letters HonFRS. Others including John Maddox (2000), Patrick Moore (2001) and Lisa Jardine (2015) were elected as honorary fellows.


Former statute 12 fellowships

Statute 12 is a legacy mechanism for electing members before official honorary membership existed in 1997. Fellows elected under statute 12 include
David Attenborough Sir David Frederick Attenborough (; born 8 May 1926) is an English broadcasting, broadcaster and natural historian. He is best known for writing and presenting, in conjunction with the BBC Natural History Unit, the nine natural history docume ...

David Attenborough
(1983) and John Palmer, 4th Earl of Selborne (1991).


Royal Fellow

The Council of the Royal Society can recommend members of the British Royal Family for election as Royal Fellow of the Royal Society. there are five royal fellows: # Charles, Prince of Wales elected 1978 #Anne, Princess Royal elected 1987 #Prince Edward, Duke of Kent elected 1990 #Prince William, Duke of Cambridge elected 2009 #Prince Andrew, Duke of York elected 2013 Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II is not a Royal Fellow, but provides her patronage to the Society as all reigning List of British monarchs, British monarchs have done since Charles II of England. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (1951) was elected under statute 12, not as a Royal Fellow.


Election of new fellows

The election of new fellows is announced annually in May, after their nomination and a period of peer-reviewed selection.


Nomination

Each candidate for Fellowship or Foreign Membership is nominated by two Fellows of the Royal Society (a proposer and a seconder), who sign a certificate of proposal. Previously, nominations required at least five fellows to support each nomination by the proposer, which was criticised for supposedly establishing an old-boy network and elitist gentlemen's club. The certificate of election (see for example) includes a statement of the principal grounds on which the proposal is being made. There is no limit on the number of nominations made each year. In 2015, there were 654 candidates for election as Fellows and 106 candidates for Foreign Membership.


Selection

The Council of the Royal Society oversees the selection process and appoints 11 subject area committees, known as Sectional Committees, to recommend the strongest candidates for election to the Fellowship. The final list of up to 52 Fellowship candidates and up to 10 Foreign Membership candidates is confirmed by the Council in April and a secret ballot of Fellows is held at a meeting in May. A candidate is elected if he or she secures two-thirds of votes of those Fellows voting. An indicative allocation of 18 Fellowships can be allocated to candidates from Physical Sciences and Biological Sciences; and up to 10 from Applied Sciences, Human Sciences and Joint Physical and Biological Sciences. A further maximum of six can be 'Honorary', 'General' or 'Royal' Fellows. Nominations for Fellowship are peer reviewed by Sectional Committees, each with at least 12 Members and a Chair. Members of the 11 Sectional Committees change every three years to mitigate In-group favoritism, in-group bias, each group covers different specialist areas including: 0. Computer sciences 1. Mathematics 2. Astronomy and physics 3. Chemistry 4. Engineering 5. Earth science and environmental science 6. Biochemistry and molecular cell biology 7. Microbiology, immunology and developmental biology 8. Anatomy, physiology and neuroscience 9. Biology, Organismal biology, evolution and ecology 10. Health and human sciences


Admission

New Fellows are admitted to the Society at a formal admissions day ceremony held annually in July, when they sign the Charter Book and the Obligation which reads: "We who have hereunto subscribed, do hereby promise, that we will endeavour to promote the good of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, and to pursue the ends for which the same was founded; that we will carry out, as far as we are able, those actions requested of us in the name of the Council; and that we will observe the Statutes and Standing Orders of the said Society. Provided that, whensoever any of us shall signify to the President under our hands, that we desire to withdraw from the Society, we shall be free from this Obligation for the future". Since 2014, portraits of Fellows at the admissions ceremony have been published without copyright restrictions in Wikimedia Commons under a more permissive Creative Commons license which allows wider re-use.


Research Fellowships and other awards

In addition to the main fellowships of the Royal Society (FRS, ForMemRS & HonFRS), other fellowships are available which are applied for by individuals, rather than through election. Holders of these fellowships are known as Royal Society Research fellow, Research Fellows. * University research fellowships (URFs) Royal Society University Research Fellowships are for outstanding scientists in the UK who are in the early stages of their research career and have the potential to become leaders in their field. Previous holders of URFs have been elected FRS at a later date including Richard Borcherds (1994), Jean Beggs (1998), Frances Ashcroft (1999), Athene Donald (1999) and John Pethica (1999). More recent awardees include Terri Attwood, Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, Brian Cox (physicist), Brian Cox, Sarah Bridle, Shahn Majid, Tanya Monro, Beth Shapiro, David J. Wales and Katherine J. Willis (biologist), Katherine Willis. * Royal Society Leverhulme Trust senior research fellowships are for scientists who would benefit from a period of full-time research without teaching and administrative duties, supported by the Leverhulme Trust. * Newton advanced fellowships provide established international researchers with an opportunity to develop the research strengths and capabilities of their research group. These are provided by the Newton Fund as part of the UK's official development assistance. * Industry fellowships are for academic scientists who want to work on a collaborative project with industry and for scientists in industry who want to work on a collaborative project with an academic organisation. * Dorothy Hodgkin fellowships are for outstanding scientists in the UK at an early stage of their research career who require a flexible working pattern due to personal circumstances. These fellowships are named after
Dorothy Hodgkin Dorothy Mary Crowfoot Hodgkin (née Crowfoot; 12 May 1910 – 29 July 1994) was a Nobel Prize-winning British chemist who advanced the technique of X-ray crystallography to determine the structure of biomolecules, which became essential for ...
. In addition to the award of Fellowship (FRS, HonFRS & ForMemRS) and the Research fellow, Research Fellowships described above, several other awards, lectures and medals of the Royal Society are also given.


References

{{Fellows of the Royal Society Fellows of the Royal Society, Academic awards British awards Fellows of learned societies Royal Society 1663 establishments in England