Gold medals

Nominations for the 2020 Awards open on 19 November 2019.

Our gold medals are awarded to physicists with international reputations who have made consistent contributions to physics. We award six medals each year. They form part of our large awards programme designed to encourage innovation, diversity and tenacity.

Learn more about the 2019 gold medal award winners and how they feel about winning


We welcome nominees who have made outstanding and sustained contributions to:

  1. theoretical physics (including mathematical and computational physics
  2. experimental physics
  3. leadership in a physics context
  4. the application of physics in an industrial or commercial context
  5. physics education
  6. public engagement in physics
Image of Paul Dirac Medal

Paul Dirac Medal and Prize

For theoretical (including mathematical and computational) physics

About Paul Dirac

Paul Dirac was an English–Swiss theoretical physicist who made fundamental contributions to the development of quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics.

His eponymous equation describes the behaviour of fermions and predicted the existence of antimatter. Dirac shared the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics with Erwin Schrödinger for their work on quantum theory.

This medal comes with a prize of £1,000 and a certificate.

Find out about the work of previous winners

Image of Michael Faraday Medal

Michael Faraday Medal and Prize

For experimental physics

About Michael Faraday

Michael Faraday was an English experimental scientist who made important discoveries in electromagnetism including:

  • establishing the concept of the magnetic field
  • discovering the law of electromagnetic induction
  • founding the basis of the electric motor
  • pioneering the use of electricity in technology

The unit of capacitance, the farad, is named after him.

This medal comes with a prize of £1,000 and a certificate.

Find out about the work of previous winners

Image of Richard Glazebrook Medal

Richard Glazebrook Medal and Prize

For leadership in a physics context

About Richard Glazebrook

Richard Glazebrook was an English physicist who studied under James Clerk Maxell and Lord Rayleigh at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. His work focused on electrical standards.

Glazebrook determined the correct length of a mercury column to express the absolute value of the ohm.

He was the first Director of the National Physical Laboratory and also responsible for the foundation of the Aeronautical Research Council. He was the first President of the Institute of Physics and is also remembered as the editor of the Dictionary of Applied Physics.

This gold medal comes with a prize of £1,000 and a certificate.

Find out about the work of previous winners

Image of Katharine Burr Boldgett Medal

Katharine Burr Blodgett Medal and Prize

For application of physics in an industrial or commercial context

About Katharine Burr Blodgett

Katharine Burr Blodgett was an American researcher and the first woman to be awarded a PhD in physics from the University of Cambridge, in 1926.

After receiving her Master’s degree, she was hired by General Electric, where she invented low-reflectance invisible glass. The non-reflective coating on this glass is called a Langmuir–Blodgett film.

Blodgett had eight US patents during her career and was the sole inventor on all but two of the patented designs.

This medal comes with a prize of £1,000 and a certificate.

Find out about the work of previous winners

Image of Lawrence Bragg Medal

Lawrence Bragg Medal and Prize

For physics education

About Lawrence Bragg

Sir William Lawrence Bragg was an Australian-born British physicist. In 1915 he became the youngest ever winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, awarded the honour jointly with his father, William Henry Bragg, for their work on X-ray crystallography.

The law of X-ray diffraction, the basis of determining crystal structure, was discovered by Bragg and is now named after him.

Bragg was director of Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory when James Watson and Francis Crick used the technique that he had pioneered in the discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA.

This medal comes with a prize of £1,000 and a certificate.

Find out about the work of previous winners

Image of Lord Kelvin Medal

William Thomson, Lord Kelvin Medal and Prize

For public engagement in physics

About Sir William Thomson, Lord Kelvin

Sir William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, was a Scottish–Irish mathematician and physicist best known for his work on thermodynamics. This included work on the absolute temperature scale. The unit of absolute temperature, the kelvin, is named after him.

Thomson was a scientific adviser when the first Atlantic telegraph cables were laid from 1857 to 1858 and from 1865 to 1866, for which he received a knighthood from Queen Victoria. He was made Baron Kelvin of Largs in 1892.

This medal comes with a prize of £1,000 and a certificate.

Learn about the work of previous winners

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