Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society
A gold medal, featuring an image of a telescope. Engraved with 'Aspah Hall 1979' and 'quicquid nitet notandum'
The RAS gold medal awarded to Asaph Hall
Awarded for Achievement in astronomy or geophysics
Country United Kingdom
Presented by Royal Astronomical Society
Reward Medal
First awarded 1824[1]
Last awarded 2015[2]
Currently held by Michel Mayor & Mike Lockwood[2]
Official website www.ras.org.uk/awards-and-grants/awards

The Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) is the highest award given by the RAS. The RAS Council have "complete freedom as to the grounds on which it is awarded"[3] and as such it can be awarded for any reason.[2] Past awards have been given for "outstanding personal researches in the fields of astronomy and geophysics" as well as general contributions to astronomy and geophysics "that may be made through leadership in research programmes, through education and through scientific administration". It has been awarded both for research that has taken a lifetime[3] (it has most frequently been given to recognise an extraordinary lifetime achievement)[2] and for specific pieces of research.[3]

History[edit]

The first Gold Medals were awarded in 1824. Silver medals were also awarded in 1824 and 1827.[1]

In the early years, more than one medal was often awarded in a year, but by 1833 only one medal was being awarded per year. This caused a problem when Neptune was discovered in 1846, because many felt an award should jointly be made to John Couch Adams and Urbain Le Verrier. A controversy arose and no award was made in 1847. The controversy was resolved by giving 12 "testimonial" awards in 1848 to various people including Adams and Le Verrier, and in 1849 awards resumed, with a limit of one per year. Adams and Le Verrier did not get their gold medals until 1866 and 1868, respectively. Adams, as President, presented Le Verrier with the medal.

The practice of awarding one medal a year continued until 1963, although two medals were awarded in both 1867 and 1886 and in a few years no award was made.[citation needed]

Since 1964 there have been two awards in each year, one for astronomy and one for geophysics.[2]

The first woman to receive the Gold Medal was Caroline Herschel in 1828. No other woman did so until Vera Rubin in 1996.

Margaret and Geoffrey Burbidge were jointly awarded the 2005 Gold Medal in astronomy, the first joint award since 1886.

The medal features an image of the 40-foot telescope that was constructed by astronomer Sir William Herschel, who was the first President of the RAS.

Recipients[edit]

Year Astronomy Geophysics Notes References
1824 Charles Babbage
Johann Franz Encke
[note 1] [1]
1825 No award
1826 John Herschel
James South
Wilhelm Struve
[1]
1827 Francis Baily [note 2] [1]
1828 Thomas Makdougall Brisbane
James Dunlop
Caroline Herschel
[note 3] [1]
1829 Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel
William Pearson
Heinrich Christian Schumacher
[1]
1830 Johann Franz Encke
William Richardson
[1]
1831 Marie-Charles Damoiseau
Henry Kater
[1]
1832 No award
1833 George Biddell Airy [1]
1834 No award
1835 Manuel J. Johnson [1]
1836 John Herschel [1]
1837 Otto A. Rosenberger [1]
1838 No award
1839 John Wrottesley [1]
1840 Jean Plana [1]
1841 Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel [1]
1842 Peter Andreas Hansen [1]
1843 Francis Baily [1]
1844 No award
1845 William Henry Smyth [1]
1846 George Biddell Airy [1]
1847 No award
1848 No award [note 4] [1]
1849 William Lassell [1]
1850 Otto Wilhelm Struve [1]
1851 Annibale de Gasparis [1]
1852 Christian August Friedrich Peters [1]
1853 John Russell Hind [1]
1854 Charles Rümker [1]
1855 William Rutter Dawes [1]
1856 Robert Grant [1]
1857 Heinrich Schwabe [1]
1858 Robert Main [1]
1859 Richard Christopher Carrington [1]
1860 Peter Andreas Hansen [1]
1861 Hermann Goldschmidt [1]
1862 Warren de la Rue [1]
1863 Friedrich Wilhelm Argelander [1]
1864 No award
1865 George Phillips Bond [1]
1866 John Couch Adams [1]
1867 William Huggins
William Allen Miller
[1]
1868 Urbain Le Verrier [1]
1869 Edward James Stone [1]
1870 Charles-Eugène Delaunay [1]
1871 No award
1872 Giovanni Schiaparelli [1]
1873 No award
1874 Simon Newcomb [1]
1875 Heinrich d'Arrest [1]
1876 Urbain Le Verrier [1]
1877 No award
1878 Ercole Dembowski [1]
1879 Asaph Hall [1]
1880 No award
1881 Axel Möller [1]
1882 David Gill [1]
1883 Benjamin A. Gould [1]
1884 Andrew Ainslie Common [1]
1885 William Huggins [1]
1886 Edward Charles Pickering
Charles Pritchard
[1]
1887 George William Hill [1]
1888 Arthur Auwers [1]
1889 Maurice Loewy [1]
1890 No award
1891 No award
1892 George Howard Darwin [1]
1893 Hermann Carl Vogel [1]
1894 S. W. Burnham [1]
1895 Isaac Roberts [1]
1896 Seth Carlo Chandler [1]
1897 Edward Emerson Barnard [1]
1898 William Frederick Denning [1]
1899 Frank McClean [1]
1900 Henri Poincaré [1]
1901 Edward Charles Pickering [1]
1902 Jacobus Kapteyn [1]
1903 Hermann Struve [1]
1904 George Ellery Hale [1]
1905 Lewis Boss [1]
1906 William Wallace Campbell [1]
1907 Ernest William Brown [1]
1908 David Gill [1]
1909 Oskar Backlund [1]
1910 Friedrich Küstner [1]
1911 Philip Herbert Cowell [1]
1912 Arthur Robert Hinks [1]
1913 Henri-Alexandre Deslandres [1]
1914 Max Wolf [1]
1915 Alfred Fowler [1]
1916 John L. E. Dreyer [1]
1917 Walter Sydney Adams [1]
1918 John Evershed [1]
1919 Guillaume Bigourdan [1]
1920 No award
1921 Henry Norris Russell [1]
1922 James Hopwood Jeans [1]
1923 Albert A. Michelson [1]
1924 Arthur Eddington [1]
1925 Frank Watson Dyson [1]
1926 Albert Einstein [1]
1927 Frank Schlesinger [1]
1928 Ralph Allen Sampson [1]
1929 Ejnar Hertzsprung [1]
1930 John Stanley Plaskett [1]
1931 Willem de Sitter [1]
1932 Robert Grant Aitken [1]
1933 Vesto Slipher [1]
1934 Harlow Shapley [1]
1935 E. Arthur Milne [1]
1936 Hisashi Kimura [1]
1937 Harold Jeffreys [1]
1938 William Hammond Wright [1]
1939 Bernard Lyot [1]
1940 Edwin Hubble [1]
1941 No award
1942 No award
1943 Harold Spencer Jones [1]
1944 Otto Struve [1]
1945 Bengt Edlén [1]
1946 Jan Oort [1]
1947 Marcel Minnaert [1]
1948 Bertil Lindblad [1]
1949 Sydney Chapman [1]
1950 Joel Stebbins [1]
1951 Anton Pannekoek [1]
1952 John Jackson [1]
1953 Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar [1]
1954 Walter Baade [1]
1955 Dirk Brouwer [1]
1956 Thomas George Cowling [1]
1957 Albrecht Unsöld [1]
1958 André Danjon [1]
1959 Raymond Arthur Lyttleton [1]
1960 Viktor Ambartsumian [1]
1961 Herman Zanstra [1]
1962 Bengt Strömgren [1]
1963 H. H. Plaskett [1]
1964 Martin Ryle Maurice Ewing [1]
1965 Gerald Maurice Clemence Edward Bullard [1]
1966 Ira Sprague Bowen Harold Clayton Urey [1]
1967 Allan Sandage Hannes Alfven [1]
1968 Fred Hoyle Walter Munk [1]
1969 Martin Schwarzschild Albert T. Price [1]
1970 Horace W. Babcock [1]
1971 Richard van der Riet Woolley Frank Press [1]
1972 Fritz Zwicky H. I. S. Thirlaway [1]
1973 Edwin Salpeter Francis Birch [1]
1974 Ludwig Biermann K. E. Bullen [1]
1975 Jesse Greenstein Ernst Öpik [1]
1976 William H. McCrea J. A. Ratcliffe [1]
1977 John G. Bolton David R. Bates [1]
1978 Lyman Spitzer James Van Allen [1]
1979 C. G. Wynne Leon Knopoff [1]
1980 Maarten Schmidt Chaim L. Pekeris [1]
1981 Bernard Lovell J. Freeman Gilbert [1]
1982 Riccardo Giacconi Harrie Massey [1]
1983 M. J. Seaton Fred Whipple [1]
1984 Yakov Borisovich Zel'dovich S. K. Runcorn [1]
1985 Stephen Hawking Thomas Gold [1]
1986 Alexander Dalgarno George E. Backus [1]
1987 Martin Rees Takesi Nagata [1]
1988 Cornelis de Jager Don L. Anderson [1]
1989 Ken Pounds Raymond Hide [1]
1990 B. E. J. Pagel James W. Dungey [1]
1991 Vitaly Ginzburg G. J. Wasserburg [1]
1992 Eugene N. Parker Dan P. McKenzie [1]
1993 Donald Lynden-Bell Peter Goldreich [1]
1994 James E. Gunn Thomas R. Kaiser [1]
1995 Rashid Sunyaev John T. Houghton [1]
1996 Vera Rubin Kenneth Creer [note 3] [1]
1997 Donald Osterbrock Donald Farley [1]
1998 James Peebles Robert L. Parker [1]
1999 Bohdan Paczyński Kenneth Budden [1]
2000 Leon Lucy Robert Hutchison [1][4]
2001 Hermann Bondi Henry Rishbeth [1]
2002 Leon Mestel J. A. Jacobs [1]
2003 John Bahcall David Gubbins [1]
2004 Jeremiah P. Ostriker Grenville Turner [1]
2005 Margaret Burbidge
Geoffrey Burbidge
Carole Jordan [note 5] [1]
2006 Simon White Stan Cowley [1]
2007 John L. Culhane Nigel O. Weiss [1]
2008 Joseph Silk Brian Kennett [1]
2009 David A. Williams Eric Priest [1][5]
2010 Douglas Gough John Woodhouse [1][6]
2011 Richard Ellis Eberhard Grün [1][7]
2012 Andy Fabian John Brown [1][8]
2013 Roger Blandford Chris Chapman [1][9]
2014 Carlos Frenk John Zarnecki [1][10]
2015 Michel Mayor Mike Lockwood [2]
  1. ^ Silver medalists: Jean-Louis Pons, Charles Rümker
  2. ^ Silver medalists: Mark Beaufoy, William Samuel Stratford
  3. ^ a b The first woman to receive the Gold Medal was Caroline Herschel in 1828. No other woman did so until Vera Rubin in 1996.
  4. ^ Replaced by testimonial medals, awarded to John Couch Adams, George Biddell Airy, Friedrich Wilhelm Argelander, George Bishop, George Everest, Peter Andreas Hansen, Karl Ludwig Hencke, John Herschel, John Russell Hind, John William Lubbock, Urbain Le Verrier & Maxmilian Weisse
  5. ^ Margaret and Geoffrey Burbidge received the first joint award since 1886

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh di dj dk dl dm dn do dp dq dr ds dt du dv dw dx dy dz ea eb ec ed ee ef eg eh ei ej ek el em en eo ep eq er es et eu ev ew ex ey ez fa fb fc fd fe ff fg fh fi fj fk fl fm fn fo fp fq fr fs ft fu "Gold Medal Winners". RAS. 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2015. 
    "Winners of the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society". RAS. 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Winners of the 2015 awards, medals and prizes - full details". 9 January 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "Gold Medal (A)". RAS. Retrieved 9 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "News: Appointments and awards". Astronomy & Geophysics 41 (4): 7. 2000. Bibcode:2000A&G....41d...7.. doi:10.1046/j.1468-4004.2000.00404-9.x. 
  5. ^ "RAS meeting and Community Forum - JENAM 2009". Retrieved 23 April 2009. [dead link]
  6. ^ "RAS Honours Outstanding Astronomers and Geophysicists". Royal Astronomical Society. Retrieved 25 March 2011. 
  7. ^ "RAS honours outstanding astronomers and geophysicists". Royal Astronomical Society. 19 January 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  8. ^ "RAS honours leading astronomers and geophysicists". Royal Astronomical Society. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  9. ^ "2013 winners of the RAS awards, medals and prizes". Royal Astronomical Society. 10 January 2013. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "2014 winners of the RAS awards, medals and prizes". Royal Astronomical Society. 10 January 2014. Retrieved 21 January 2014.