Michael Faraday Prize

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Michael Faraday, after whom the prize is named

The Michael Faraday Prize is awarded by the Royal Society of London for "excellence in communicating science to UK audiences".[1] Named after Michael Faraday, the medal itself is made of silver gilt, and is accompanied by a purse of £2500. The prize was first awarded in 1986 to Charles Taylor for "his outstanding presentations of physics and applications of physics, aimed at audiences from six-year-old primary school children to adults".[1] It is awarded annually and unlike other Royal Society awards such as the Hughes Medal, it has been presented every year since its inception. The winner is required to present a lecture as part of the Society's annual programme of public events, which is usually held in January of the following year; during the lecture, the President of the Royal Society awards the medal.[2] Unlike other prizes awarded by the society, the committee has not always publicly provided a rationale. This has occurred five times—in 2004 to Martin Rees, in 2006 to Richard Fortey, in 2007 to Jim Al-Khalili, in 2008 to John D. Barrow and most recently in 2009 to Marcus du Sautoy.[1]

List of recipients

Year Name Citation / Lecture Title Notes
1986 Taylor, CharlesCharles Taylor "for his outstanding presentations of physics and applications of physics, aimed at audiences from six-year-old primary school children to adults" [3]
1987 Medawar, PeterPeter Medawar "for the contribution his books had made in presenting to the public, and to scientists themselves, the intellectual nature and the essential humanity of pursuing science at the highest level and the part it played in our modern culture" [4]
1988 Zeeman, Erik ChristopherErik Christopher Zeeman "for the contributions he has made to the popularization of mathematics" [5]
1989 Blakemore, ColinColin Blakemore "for his written, broadcast and public presentations on the science of the brain, which are superbly crafted for lay and expert audiences alike" [6]
1990 Dawkins, RichardRichard Dawkins "for his written, broadcast and public presentations which are accessible, imaginative and enjoyed by large audiences" [7]
1991 Porter, GeorgeGeorge Porter "in recognition of his outstanding contribution to improving the public understanding of science through his many public lectures and broadcasts, his directorship of the Royal Institution and presidencies of the Royal Society and British Association and his seminal role in the establishment and leadership of COPUS" [8]
1992 Gregory, RichardRichard Gregory "for his many popular books and papers, his countless public lectures and television and radio appearances, and his creation of the Exploratory Hands-on Science Centre in Bristol" [9]
1993 Fells, IanIan Fells "for his many written articles for the national press and popular science journals, his public lectures on many platforms often tailored for school children, and his major contribution in broadcasting where he has had an input to over 350 radio and television programmes" [10]
1994 Bodmer, WalterWalter Bodmer "for his outstanding achievement in raising the public understanding of science and technology as an issue of the highest importance to individual scientists and engineers and to many bodies that represent them" [11]
1995 Stewart, IanIan Stewart "for his work in communicating mathematical ideas to the widest possible range of audiences through his many thought-provoking books and magazine articles, his radio and television presentations, and his energetic public lectures in schools and industry on a variety of mathematical and quasi-mathematical topics" [12]
1996 Jones, SteveSteve Jones "for his numerous, wide ranging contributions to the public understanding of science in areas such as human evolution and variation, race, sex, inherited disease and genetic manipulation through his many broadcasts on radio and television, his lectures, popular science books, and his regular science column in The Daily Telegraph and contributions to other newspaper media" [13][14]
1997 Phillips, DavidDavid Phillips "for his outstanding talents in the communication of scientific principles, methods and applications to young audiences through his many demonstration lectures with wit, clarity and enthusiasm on a wide variety of topics from basic science to modern laser research and for his major role in various collaborative ventures for young people with the Royal Institution, the British Association and CREST, and for his popular science articles and contributions to a variety of radio and television broadcasts, combined with his full professional workload as Head of Chemistry at Imperial College and overseeing a research group"
1998 Greenfield, SusanSusan Greenfield "for her outstanding talents in communicating to the public how the brain works, popularising brain studies via The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, lecturing both in Britain and overseas to a wide variety of audiences, including young people, both in schools and outside the classroom, and through her activities as an author of popular books, newspaper articles and columns and her many television appearances" [15][16]
1999 Winston, RobertRobert Winston "for his outstanding contribution to the public understanding of human infertility and in vitro fertilisation. He has published five books as well as contributing to many newspaper articles. He is renowned as a gifted communicator especially to non-scientists, describing complex issues relating to human infertility clearly and without over-simplification. His major contribution has been in the field of television and radio both hosting and contributing to programmes" [17]
2000 Wolpert, LewisLewis Wolpert "for his enormous contribution to the public understanding of science most notably through his Chairmanship of COPUS and his varied and wide-ranging television and radio programmes as well as his regular contributions to the national broadsheet newspapers. For over two decades, Lewis Wolpert has brought public attention to many subjects including depression which still carries considerable social stigma through books, lectures, newspaper articles using his own brand of enthusiasm and charisma" [18]
2001 Kroto, HaroldHarold Kroto "for his dedication to the notion of working scientists being communicators of their work and in particular for his establishment of the Vega Science Trust whose films and related activities reflect the excitement of scientific discovery to the public" [19]
2002 Davies, PaulPaul Davies on The origin of life. [20][21]
2003 Attenborough, DavidDavid Attenborough on Perception, deception and reality [22]
2004 Rees, MartinMartin Rees on Einstein's legacy as scientist and icon [23]
2005 Balkwill, FranFran Balkwill on A silent killer [24]
2006 Fortey, RichardRichard Fortey on A natural history of scientists [25]
2007 Al-Khalili, JimJim Al-Khalili on The House of Wisdom and the legacy of Arabic science [26]
2008 Barrow, John D.John D. Barrow on Every picture tells a story [27]
2009 du Sautoy, MarcusMarcus du Sautoy on The secret mathematicians [27]
2010 Bell-Burnell, JocelynJocelyn Bell-Burnell on The end of the world in 2012? Science communication and science scares [27]
2011 Pillinger, ColinColin Pillinger on Stones From the Sky: A Heaven-sent Opportunity to Talk About Science [27]
2012 Cox, BrianBrian Cox "for his excellent work in science communication" [27]
2013 Close, FrankFrank Close "for his excellent work in science communication" [27]
2014 Sella, AndreaAndrea Sella "for his excellent work in science communication" [27]
2015 Willis, KatherineKatherine Willis "for her excellent work in science communication" [27]
2016 Lane, NickNick Lane "for his excellent work in science communication" [27]
2017 Miodownik, MarkMark Miodownik "for excellence in communicating science to UK audiences" [27]


  • "The Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize". Royal Society. Retrieved 17 October 2012. 
  1. ^ a b c "The Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize (1986)". Royal Society. Retrieved 18 March 2009. 
  2. ^ "Michael Faraday Prize notes for proposers". Royal Society. Retrieved 19 March 2008. 
  3. ^ Thomas, John Meurig (1991). Michael Faraday and the Royal Institution: The Genius of Man and Place. CRC Press. p. 201. ISBN 0-7503-0145-7. 
  4. ^ The Biologist (35 ed.). Bowling Green State University. 1987. 
  5. ^ "U.K.'S Royal Society Adds Members" (Fee required). The Scientist. 5 September 1988. Retrieved 16 March 2009. 
  6. ^ Fazackerley, Anna (11 November 2003). "Colin Blakemore: Professor No?". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 March 2009. 
  7. ^ Abel, Donald C. (2004). Fifty Readings in Philosophy (2 ed.). McGraw-Hill. p. 53. ISBN 0-07-281886-7. 
  8. ^ "Prof Lord Porter of Luddenham, OM". The Telegraph. 1 September 2002. Retrieved 16 March 2009. 
  9. ^ The Psychologist (6 ed.). British Psychological Society. 1988. p. 84. 
  10. ^ "The conmen and the green professor". The Times. England. 2 October 2005. Retrieved 17 March 2009. 
  11. ^ Year-book of the Royal Society of London (92 ed.). Harrison and Sons. 1988. p. 245. ISBN 0-85403-343-2. 
  12. ^ "Don pockets maths fame; 'It's like Ronnie sinking snooker prize'" (Fee required). Coventry Evening Telegraph. 15 May 2001. Retrieved 17 March 2009. 
  13. ^ Sleeman, Elizabeth (2003). The International Who's Who 2004 (67 ed.). Routledge. p. 831. ISBN 1-85743-217-7. 
  14. ^ Randerson, James (30 May 2006). "Top scientist gives up on creationists". The Guardian. England. Retrieved 17 March 2009. 
  15. ^ Sleeman, Elizabeth (2003). The International Who's Who 2004 (67 ed.). Routledge. p. 647. ISBN 1-85743-217-7. 
  16. ^ MacLeod, Donald (6 February 2004). "Royal Society split over Greenfield fellowship". The Guardian. England. 
  17. ^ Birkett, Dea (19 August 2000). "The oracle of the ovary". The Guardian. England. Retrieved 17 March 2009. 
  18. ^ Wolpert, Lewis (18 May 2004). "Lewis Wolpert discusses development and depression". Drug Discovery Today. 9 (11): 471–472. doi:10.1016/S1359-6446(04)03106-X. Retrieved 17 March 2009. 
  19. ^ "Nobel Prize Winner Sir Harold W. Kroto Joins NaturalNano's Scientific Advisory Board; Nobel Laureate's Discovery Helped Launch the Field of Nanotechnology" (Fee required). M2 Presswire. 14 December 2006. Retrieved 17 March 2009. 
  20. ^ Bakewell, Joan (2005). Belief. Duckworth Overlook. p. 84. ISBN 1-58567-697-7. 
  21. ^ Clayton, Philip; Arthur Robert Peacocke (2004). In whom we live and move and have our being: panentheistic reflections on God's presence in a scientific world. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 266. ISBN 0-8028-0978-2. 
  22. ^ "European science – from Nobel to Descartes". Europa. February 2005. Archived from the original on 14 February 2010. Retrieved 17 March 2009. 
  23. ^ Walden, Brian (28 March 2005). "A Point of View". England: BBC News. Retrieved 17 March 2009. 
  24. ^ Fleming, Nic (31 January 2006). "Laws of attraction in action". The Telegraph. England. 
  25. ^ Gage, Logan (14 February 2007). "Fortey's Ego and the ID". Discovery Institute. 
  26. ^ Al-Khalili, Jim (21 January 2008). "The Arabic Science That Prefigured Newton". The Guardian. England. Retrieved 17 March 2009. 
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "The Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize". The Royal Society. Retrieved 4 February 2012. 
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