- Not to be confused with the Rumford Prize
The Rumford Medal is awarded by the Royal Society every alternating year for "an outstandingly important recent discovery in the field of thermal or optical properties of matter made by a scientist working in Europe". First awarded in 1800, it was created after a 1796 donation of $5000 by the scientist Benjamin Thompson, known as Count Rumford, and is accompanied by a £1000 gift. Since its creation, the medal has been awarded to 100 individuals, including Rumford himself in 1800. The medal has been awarded to citizens of the United Kingdom fifty-three times, Germany seventeen times, France fourteen times, the Netherlands seven times, Sweden four times, the United States three times, Italy twice and once each to citizens of Australia, Hungary, Belgium, Luxembourg and New Zealand. The most recent winner was Roy Taylor in 2012, a physicist from the United Kingdom who was awarded the medal "for his outstanding contributions to tunable ultrafast lasers and nonlinear fibre optics, including fibre Raman, soliton and supercontinuum laser sources, which translated fundamental discoveries to practical technology".
List of recipients 
|1800||Benjamin Thompson||British||"For his various discoveries respecting Heat and Light"|||
|1804||John Leslie||British||"For his Experiments on Heat, published in his work, entitled, An Experimental Enquiry into the Nature and Propagation of Heat"||—|
|1808||William Murdoch||British||"For his publication of the employment of Gas from Coal, for the purpose of illumination"|||
|1810||Étienne-Louis Malus||French||"For the discovery of certain new properties of Reflected Light, published in the second volume of the Memoires dArcueil"|||
|1814||William Charles Wells||British||"For his Essay on Dew, published in the course of the preceding (1815) year"|||
|1816||Humphry Davy||British||"For his Papers on Combustion and Flame, published in the last volume of the Philosophical Transactions"|||
|1818||David Brewster||British||"For his Discoveries relating to the Polarization of Light"|||
|1824||Augustin-Jean Fresnel||French||"For his Development of the Undulatory Theory as applied to the Phenomena of Polarized Light, and for his various important discoveries in Physical Optics"|||
|1832||John Frederic Daniell||British||"For his Paper, entitled, Further Experiments with a new Register Pyrometer, for measuring the expansion of Solids, published in the Philosophical Transactions for 1831"|||
|1834||Macedonio Melloni||Italian||"For his discoveries relevant to radiant heat"|||
|1838||James David Forbes||British||"For his experiments on the polarization of heat, of which an account was published in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh"|||
|1840||Jean-Baptiste Biot||French||"For his researches in, and connected with, the circular polarization of light"|||
|1842||William Fox Talbot||British||"For his discoveries and improvements in photography"|||
|1846||Michael Faraday||British||"For his discovery of the optical phenomena developed by the action of magnets and electric currents in certain transparent media, the details of which are published in the nineteenth series of his experimental researches in electricity, inserted in the Philosophical Transactions for 1845 and in the Philosophical Magazine"|||
|1848||Henri Victor Regnault||French||"For his experiments to determine the laws and the numerical data which enter into the calculation of steam engines"|||
|1850||François Arago||French||"For his experimental investigations on polarized light, the concluding memoirs on which were communicated to the Academy of Sciences of Paris during the last two years"||—|
|1852||George Gabriel Stokes||British||"For his discovery of the change in the refrangibility of light"||—|
|1854||Neil Arnott||British||"For the successful construction of the smokeless fire grate lately introduced by him, and for other valuable improvements in the application of heat to the warming and ventilation of apartments"||—|
|1856||Louis Pasteur||French||"For his discovery of the nature of racemic acid and its relations to polarized light, and for the researches to which he was led by that discovery"||—|
|1858||Jules Jamin||French||"For his various experimental researches on light"||—|
|1860||James Clerk Maxwell||British||"For his researches on the composition of colours, and other optical papers"||—|
|1862||Gustav Kirchhoff||German||"For his researches on the fixed lines of the solar spectrum, and on the inversion of the bright lines in the spectra of artificial light"||—|
|1864||John Tyndall||British||"For his researches on the absorption and radiation of heat by gases and vapours"||—|
|1866||Hippolyte Fizeau||French||"For his optical researches, & especially for his investigations into the effect of heat on the refractive power of transparent bodies"||—|
|1868||Balfour Stewart||British||"For his researches on the qualitative as well as quantitative relation between the emissive and absorptive powers of bodies for heat and light, published originally in [1858 & 1859]"||—|
|1870||Alfred Des Cloizeaux||French||"For his researches in mineralogical optics"||—|
|1872||Anders Jonas Ångström||Swedish||"For his researches on spectral analysis"||—|
|1874||Joseph Norman Lockyer||British||"For his spectroscopic researches on the Sun and on the chemical elements"||—|
|1875||John William Draper||American||"For his Researches on Radiant Energy"||—|
|1876||Jules Janssen||French||"For his numerous & important researches in the radiation & absorption of light, carried on chiefly by means of the spectroscope"||—|
|1878||Alfred Cornu||French||"For his various optical researches, and especially for his recent redetermination of the velocity of the propagation of light"||—|
|1880||William Huggins||British||"For his important researches in astronomical spectroscopy, and especially for his determination of the radical component of the proper motions of stars"||—|
|1882||William de Wiveleslie Abney||British||"For his photographic researches and his discovery of the method of photographing the less refrangible part of the spectrum, especially the infra-red region; also for his researches on the absorption of various compound bodies in this part of the spectrum"||—|
|1884||Tobias Robertus Thalen||Swedish||"For his spectroscopic researches"||—|
|1886||Samuel Pierpont Langley||American||"For his researches on the spectrum by means of the Bolometer"||—|
|1888||Pietro Tacchini||Italian||"For important and long-continued investigations, which have largely advanced our knowledge of the physics of the Sun"||—|
|1890||Heinrich Hertz||German||"For his work in electromagnetic radiation"||—|
|1892||Nils Christoffer Dunér and Louis Pasteur||Swedish and French||"For his spectroscopic researches on stars"||—|
|1894||James Dewar||British||"For his researches on the properties of matter at extremely low temperatures"||—|
|1896||Philipp Lenard and Wilhelm Röntgen||German||"For their investigations of the phenomena produced outside a highly exhausted tube through which an electrical discharge is taking place"||—|
|1898||Oliver Lodge||British||"For his researches in radiation and in the relations between matter and ether"||—|
|1900||Henri Becquerel||French||"For his discoveries in radiation proceding [sic] from uranium"||—|
|1902||Charles Algernon Parsons||British||"For his success in the application of the steam turbine to industrial purposes, and for its recent extension to navigation"||—|
|1904||Ernest Rutherford||New Zealander||"For his researches on radio-activity, particularly for his discovery of the existence and properties of the gaseous emanations from radio-active bodies"||—|
|1906||Hugh Longbourne Callendar||British||"For his experimental work on heat"||—|
|1908||Hendrik Lorentz||Dutch||"On the ground of his investigations in optical and electrical science"||—|
|1910||Heinrich Rubens||German||"On the ground of his researches on radiation, especially of long wave length"||—|
|1912||Heike Kamerlingh Onnes||Dutch||"On the ground of his researches at low temperatures"||—|
|1914||John Strutt||British||"On the ground of his investigations in thermo-dynamics and on radiation"||—|
|1916||William Henry Bragg||British||"On the ground of his researches in X-ray radiation"||—|
|1918||Charles Fabry and Alfred Perot||French||"On the ground of their contributions to optics"||—|
|1920||Robert Strutt||British||"On the ground of his researches into the properties of gases at high vacua"||—|
|1922||Pieter Zeeman||Dutch||"For his researches in optics"||—|
|1924||Charles Vernon Boys||British||"For his invention of the gas calorimeter"||—|
|1926||Arthur Schuster||British||"For his services to physical science, especially in the subjects of optics and terrestrial magnetism"||—|
|1928||Friedrich Paschen||German||"For his contributions to the knowledge of spectra"||—|
|1930||Peter Debye||Dutch||"For his work relating to specific heats and X-ray spectroscopy"||—|
|1932||Fritz Haber||German||"For the outstanding importance of his work in physical chemistry, especially in the application of thermodynamics to chemical reactions"||—|
|1934||Wander Johannes de Haas||Dutch||"For his researches on the properties of bodies at low temperatures, and in particular, for his recent work on cooling by the use of adiabatic demagnetisation"||—|
|1936||Ernest John Coker||British||"For his researches on the use of polarized light for investigating directly the stresses in transparent models of engineering structures"||—|
|1938||Robert Wood||American||"In recognition of his distinguished work and discoveries in many branches of physical optics"||—|
|1940||Manne Siegbahn||Swedish||"For his pioneer work in high precision X-ray spectroscopy and its applications"||—|
|1942||Gordon Dobson||British||"In recognition of his outstanding work on the physics of the upper air and its application to meteorology"||—|
|1944||Harry Ricardo||British||"In recognition of his important contributions to research on the internal combustion engine, which have greatly influenced the development of the various types"||—|
|1946||Alfred Egerton||British||"In recognition of his leading part in the application of modern physical chemistry to many technological problems of pressing importance"||—|
|1948||Francis Simon||German||"For his outstanding contributions to the attainment of low temperatures and to the study of the properties of substances at temperatures near the absolute zero"|||
|1950||Frank Whittle||British||"For his pioneering contributions to the jet propulsion of aircraft"|||
|1952||Frits Zernike||Dutch||"In recognition of his outstanding work in the development of phase contrast microscopy"|||
|1954||Cecil Reginald Burch||British||"For his distinguished contributions to the technique for the production of high vacua and to the development of the reflecting microscope"|||
|1956||Frank Philip Bowden||Australian||"In recognition of his distinguished work on the nature of friction"|||
|1958||Thomas Ralph Merton||British||"In recognition of his distinguished researches in spectroscopy and optics"|||
|1960||Alfred Gordon Gaydon||British||"In recognition of his distinguished work in the field of molecular spectroscopy and particularly its application to the study of flame phenomena"||—|
|1962||Dudley Maurice Newitt||British||"In recognition of his distinguished contributions to chemical engineering"|||
|1964||Hendrik van de Hulst||Dutch||"In recognition of his distinguished work on the scattering processes in the interplanetary medium and his prediction of the 21 cm spectral line from interstellar neutral hydrogen"||—|
|1966||William Penney||British||"In recognition of his distingsuihed [sic] and paramount personal contribution to the establishment of economic nuclear energy in Great Britain"|||
|1968||Dennis Gabor||Hungarian||"In recognition of his distinguished contributions to optics, especially by establishing the principles of holography"|||
|1970||Christopher Hinton||British||"In recognition of his outstanding contributions to engineering and of his leadership of engineering design teams in the chemical and atomic energy industries and in electricity generation"|||
|1972||Basil John Mason||British||"In recognition of his distinguished contributions to meteorology, particularly the physics of clouds"|||
|1974||Alan Cottrell||British||"In recognition of his contributions to physical metallurgy and particularly extending knowledge of the role of dislocation in the fracture of metals"||—|
|1976||Ilya Prigogine||Belgian||"In recognition of his distinguished contributions to the theory of irreversible thermodynamics"||—|
|1978||George Porter||British||"In recognition of his distinguished studies of very fast chemical reactions by flash photolysis"|||
|1980||William Frank Vinen||British||"In recognition of his discovery of the quantum of circulation in superfluid helium and his development of new techniques for precise measurements within liquid helium"||—|
|1982||Charles Gorrie Wynne||British||"In recognition of his unique contribution to the design of optical instruments ranging from large telescopes to bubble-chamber optics"||—|
|1984||Harold Hopkins||British||"In recognition of his many contributions to the theory and design of optical instruments, especially of a wide variety of important new medical instruments which have made a major contribution to clinical diagnosis and surgery"||—|
|1986||Denis Rooke||British||"In recognition of his contributions to scientific developments in the gas industry"|||
|1988||Felix Weinberg||British||"In recognition of his pioneering work on optical diagnostics and electrical aspects of combustion and his fundamental studies of flame problems associated with jet engines and furnaces"|||
|1990||Walter Eric Spear||German||"For discovering and applying techniques for depositing and characterising thin films of high quality amorphous silicon and for demonstrating that these can be doped to give useful electronic devices, such as cost-effective solar cells and large arrays of thin film transistors, now used in commercial, flat-panel, LCD colour TV screens"|||
|1992||Harold Neville Vazeille Temperley||British||"In recognition of his wide-ranging and imaginative contributions to applied mathematics and statistical physics, especially in the physical properties of liquids and the development of the Temperley-Lieb algebra"||—|
|1994||Andrew Keller||British||"In recognition of his contributions to polymer science, in particular his elucidation of the basis of polymeric crystallization, a fundamental ingredient in many materials, to methods of making strong fibres and to the understanding of polymer solutions which underlie this technology"|||
|1996||Grenville Turner||British||"In recognition of his work on the 40Ar/39Ar method of dating developing this technique to a sophisticated level and one which is widely used for dating extraterrestrial and terrestrial rocks"|||
|1998||Richard Friend||British||"In recognition of his leading research in the development of polymer-based electronics and optoelectronics leading to a very rapid growth of development activities aimed at plastic electronic displays, with advantages of very low cost, flexibility, and the option of curved or flat surfaces"|||
|2000||Wilson Sibbett||British||"In recognition of his research on ultra-short pulse laser science and technology. In his work on streak cameras, he first demonstrated the technique of sub-picosecond chronoscopy whereby the cameras, by synchronous repetition, can function as oscilloscopes. He conducted pioneering work on coupled cavity modelocking, and his discovery of the technique of self-modelocking led to the commercialisation of sub-picosecond pulses over a wide tuning range. He also exploited diode-pumped solid-state lasers in nonlinear optics for frequency conversion by demonstrating the worlds first all-solid-state optical parametric oscillator"|||
|2002||David King||British||"for his outstanding contributions to our fundamental understanding of the structure and dynamics of reaction processes on solid surfaces"|||
|2004||Richard Dixon||British||"in recognition of his many contributions to molecular spectroscopy and to the dynamics of molecular photodissociation"|||
|2006||Jean-Pierre Hansen||Luxembourger||"for his pioneering work on molten salts and dense plasmas that has led the way to a quantitative understanding of the structure and dynamics of strongly correlated ionic liquids"|||
|2008||Edward Hinds||British||"for his extensive and highly innovative work in ultra-cold matter"|||
|2010||Gilbert Lonzarich||British||"for his outstanding work into novel types of quantum matter using innovative instrumentation and techniques"|||
|2012||Roy Taylor||British||"for his outstanding contributions to tunable ultrafast lasers and nonlinear fibre optics, including fibre Raman, soliton and supercontinuum laser sources, which translated fundamental discoveries to practical technology"|
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