IEEE/RSE James Clerk Maxwell Medal

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IEEE/RSE James Clerk Maxwell Medal

The James Clerk Maxwell Medal is awarded jointly by the RSE and the IEEE for groundbreaking contributions that have had an exceptional impact on the development of electronics and electrical engineering or related fields.

The annual prize is named in honour of James Clerk Maxwell, the outstanding 19th Century Scottish mathematician and physicist. Maxwell was a prominent Fellow of the RSE, whose theories led to profound changes in understanding the relationship between electricity and magnetism. This, in turn, ushered in many world-transforming technologies in electronics, electrical engineering and communications.

First awarded in 2006, the Maxwell medal has been supported in previous years by the Edinburgh-based electronics firm Wolfson Microelectronics plc.


  • This award is administered by the IEEE Awards Board. For more information, please visit the IEEE website.
  • Recipient selection is performed by a joint IEEE/RSE Selection Committee which is administered by the IEEE Awards Board.
  • The award is open to anyone who has made groundbreaking contributions to the electronics or electrical engineering fields.
  • Nominees are not required to be members of either the IEEE or the RSE.
  • This award may be presented each year to an individual, team or multiple recipients up to two in number.
  • It is expected that the recipient of the IEEE/RSE James Clerk Maxwell Medal will, within the first year subsequent to the receipt of the award, make a presentation in Scotland about his/her work.
  • Fellows are encouraged to propose those who will maintain the very high standard of this award for work that builds upon Maxwell’s fields of interest. Nominations will be considered by a joint Selection Board.
  • Nominations will not be accepted from the IEEE Board of Directors, the RSE Council, the IEEE Awards Board, the Award Selection Committee, and employees of the IEEE and RSE.


YearName(s)Institution Awarded
2022Ingo WolffResearch Director, IMST GmbH, Kamp-Lintfort, GermanyFor the development of numerical electromagnetic field analysis techniques to design advanced mobile and satellite communication systems.
2021Evelyn L. HuTarr-Coyne Professor of Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard UniversityFor leadership in nanoscale science and engineering, and for seminal contributions at the intersection of semiconductor electronics and photonics
2020No award was given in 2020
2019David Flynn and David JaggarFor contributions to the development of novel Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC) architectures adopted in 100 billion+ microprocessor cores worldwide
2018Thomas Bryn Haug and Philippe Raymond DupuisFormer Chairman, Special Mobile Group, CEPT/currently ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute).For leadership in the development of the first international mobile communications standard with subsequent evolution into worldwide smartphone data communication.
2017No award was given in 2017
2016Emeritus Professor Geoffrey HintonUniversity of Toronto, Canada and researcher, Google, Inc.For pioneering and sustained contributions to machine learning, including developments in deep neural networks.
2015Professor Lynn ConwayUniversity of Michigan, USAFor contributions to and leadership in design methodology and pedagogy enabling rapid advances and dissemination of VLSI design tools and systems.
2014Professor Sir David Payne CBE FRSDirector of the Optoelectronics Centre, University of Southampton, UKFor ground-breaking contributions to optical fibre technologies and their application to optical communications.
2013Professor Richard Muller and Professor Richard WhiteUniversity of California, USABoth for pioneering innovation and leadership in micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) technology.
2012Gerhard SesslerProfessor, Darmstadt University of Technology, Darmstadt, GermanyFor pioneering contributions to electroacoustic transducers, the development of silicon microphone technology, and seminal work on electroactive materials.
2011Marcian Edward HoffChief Technologist, Teklicon, Inc.; Los Altos Hills, CA, USAFor developments in programmable integrated circuitry for a wide range of applications.
2010Amar G. BoseChairman and Technical Director of Bose CorporationFor outstanding contributions to consumer electronics in sound reproduction, industrial leadership and engineering education
2009Alberto Sangiovanni-VincentelliBoard of Directors of Cadence Design Systems IncFor pioneering innovation and leadership in electronic design automation that have enabled the design of modern electronics systems and their industrial implementation
2008Sir Tim Berners-LeeFor conceiving and further developing the World Wide Web
2007Dr Irwin Jacobs and Dr Andrew ViterbiFor fundamental contributions, innovation, and leadership that enabled the growth of wireless telecommunications.
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