The Royal Astronomical Society is pleased to announce the 2023 winners of its awards, medals and prizes. Each year the RAS recognises significant achievement in the fields of astronomy and geophysics through these awards, encompassing different types of talent from research to education and outreach. The announcements were made at the Ordinary Meeting of the Society held on Friday 13 January 2023.
The Society's highest honour is its Gold Medal, which can be awarded for any reason but usually recognises lifetime achievement. Past winners include Albert Einstein, Edwin Hubble, Arthur Eddington and Stephen Hawking. It was first awarded in 1824; since 1964 two have been awarded each year: one for astronomy, and one for geophysics.
The 2023 Gold Medal in Astronomy is awarded to Professor John Peacock of the University of Edinburgh, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to cosmology. His work has ranged from studying the early abundance of galaxies with actively fuelled central supermassive black holes, to the formation of cosmological large-scale structure and its relation to the clustering of galaxies.
During his career, Prof. John Peacock has made outstanding contributions to cosmology. Although a theorist, many of his contributions have been made by combining insightful theoretical analysis with the results from observational programmes. The 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey, which he co-led, found the first convincing evidence for the influence of pressure on fluctuations in the density of ‘normal’ matter in the universe, arising in the early cosmos after the Big Bang.
Alongside his major contributions to cosmology, Professor Peacock has mentored generations of students and postdocs, and written a cosmology textbook which shaped the field.
The 2023 Gold Medal for Geophysics is awarded to Professor Timothy Palmer of the University of Oxford, for his outstanding work in advancing the understanding and prediction of medium-term climate and weather phenomena, including ensemble forecasting which became possible with the advent of more powerful supercomputers.
Professor Palmer is one of only a handful of researchers who can bridge the gap between theoretical developments and operational forecasting, and has a strong track record in using his research outcomes and leadership position for the betterment of society. Over his career he has published 260 research papers in peer-reviewed journals, was involved in the first five assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and supported UK government committees in areas from climate change adaptation to the humanitarian impact of natural disasters. He was the President of the Royal Meteorological Society from 2011-12.
As well as the Gold Medals, the Royal Astronomical Society awards a variety of other medals, awards, honorary fellowships and lectureships. Awards are designated 'A' for astronomy (including astrophysics and cosmology) and 'G' for geophysics (including solar physics, planetary science and solar-terrestrial physics). Full citations are linked as PDF files in the list below.
The full list of 2023 winners is:
- Gold Medal (A): Professor John Peacock, University of Edinburgh
- Gold Medal (G): Professor Timothy Palmer, University of Oxford
- Eddington Medal (A): Dr Monika Moscibrodzka, Radboud University
- Chapman Medal (G): Professor Nicholas Achilleos, University College London
- Herschel Medal (A): Professor Heino Falcke, Radboud University
- Price Medal (G): Dr Rhian Jones, University of Manchester
- Jackson-Gwilt Medal (A): Professor Roberto Abraham, University of Toronto, and Professor Pieter van Dokkum, Yale University
- Fowler Award (A): Dr Christopher Berry, University of Glasgow
- Fowler Award (G): Dr Oliver Allanson, University of Exeter
- Winton Award (A): Dr Alexandra Amon, University of Cambridge
- Winton Award (G): Dr Ravindra Desai, University of Warwick
- Group Achievement Award (A): the MeerKAT team
- Service Award (A): Charles Barclay, University of Oxford
- Agnes M. Clerke Medal for Historical Research in Astronomy or Geophysics: Professor Jim Bennett, University of Oxford / Science Museum
- RAS Primary Education Award: Inga Helmecke, Europa School
- RAS Secondary Education Award: Dr David Boyce, Uppingham School
- RAS Higher Education Award: Dr Ravindra Desai, University of Warwick
- Annie Maunder Medal: Black In Astro
'Named' lectures to be delivered at a meeting of the Society:
- George Darwin Lecture: Dr Dominic Bowman, Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven
- James Dungey Lecture: Professor Marina Galand, Imperial College London
- Professor Erik Høg, University of Copenhagen
- Dr Premana Premadi, Institut Teknologi Bandung Dept. of Astronomy and Bosscha Observatory
- Dr Rita Sambruna, NASA Astrophysics Division
Professor Mike Edmunds, the President of the Royal Astronomical Society, said:
“One of the best parts of my role as President is celebrating the remarkable talent in the astronomy and geophysics community. Our medals and awards honour the very best people in our sciences, marking both those with extraordinary promise at the start of their careers and those who have shaped our understanding of the Earth and the cosmos over decades. My congratulations to everyone!”
Dr Robert Massey
Royal Astronomical Society
Mob: +44 (0)7802 877 699
Royal Astronomical Society
Mob: +44 (0)7802 877 700
Notes for Editors
The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), founded in 1820, encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science. The RAS organises scientific meetings, publishes international research and review journals, recognises outstanding achievements by the award of medals and prizes, maintains an extensive library, supports education through grants and outreach activities and represents UK astronomy nationally and internationally. Its more than 4,000 members (Fellows), a third based overseas, include scientific researchers in universities, observatories and laboratories as well as historians of astronomy and others.
The RAS accepts papers for its journals based on the principle of peer review, in which fellow experts on the editorial boards accept the paper as worth considering. The Society issues press releases based on a similar principle, but the organisations and scientists concerned have overall responsibility for their content.