RSE President’s Medal

The RSE President’s Medal is awarded, on the President’s initiative, to an individual or group, to recognise excellence and outstanding achievement in a category, institution, or place not covered by the other RSE awards and outwith the academy. A Scottish connection is required. It is normally awarded only once per Presidency.


  • Nominations can only be made by Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
  • Deadline for nominations is 13:00, 7 December 2022.
  • To nominate, please email the Research Awards team on [email protected].

Previous Awardees

In 2016 a total of 16 researchers were awarded the prestigious President’s Medal by RSE President Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell for this outstanding achievement.

Presentation of Presidential Medals to the team at Glasgow University, led by Prof. Martin Hendry, who are part of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration ? the global team of more than 1000 scientists who reported the first direct detection of gravitational waves
NoName(s)Institution Awarded
1Dr Iain W. MartinUniversity of GlasgowFor development of noise reduction techniques associated with mechanical bonding and optical coatings, essential to the sensitivity achieved by Advanced LIGO
2Dr Jonathan R. GairUniversity of EdinburghFor contributions to the development of the methods used to estimate the rates of black hole binary coalescences based on the observed events
3Professor Stuart ReidUniversity of the West of ScotlandFor contributions in the area of reducing thermal noise in the suspensions and mirror coatings, essential to the successful operation and detection results from Advanced LIGO
4Dr Stefan HildUniversity of GlasgowFor advances in the sensitivity of the interferometry for both the Advanced LIGO and Virgo detectors
5Dr Ik Siong HengUniversity of GlasgowFor leadership of the group which, based on many years of background research, made the first real observation of a gravitational wave signal
6Professor Giles HammondUniversity of GlasgowFor the implementation on site of the silica fibre suspension elements essential to the low noise operation of the Advanced LIGO detectors
7Professor Martin A. Hendry MBE FRSEUniversity of GlasgowFor contributions to the estimation of Advanced LIGO detection rates and significance, and for leading contributions to the global public outreach programme associated with the first detections
8Professor Graham WoanUniversity of GlasgowFor his sustained leadership role in LIGO data analysis and development of Bayesian inference methods in the collaboration
9Professor Nicholas A. LockerbieUniversity of StrathclydeFor leadership of the work at the University of Strathclyde which resulted in contributions to the electrostatic drive and sensor systems, for the control of the Advanced LIGO suspension structures—essential for the subsequent detection
10Dr Gavin NewtonUniversity of GlasgowFor earlier work on the prototype interferometer at the University of Glasgow and contributions to the GEO 600 detector in Germany which led to techniques adopted in Advanced LIGO
11Dr Harry WardUniversity of GlasgowFor earlier, but essential, contributions to the prototype detectors at the University of Glasgow and the California Institute of Technology, in the areas of laser frequency, amplitude and directional stabilization, and for the initial design of the control systems of the GEO 600 detector.
12Professor Norna A. Robertson FRSECalifornia Institute of Technology and
University of Glasgow
For contributions to the design and development of the suspension systems for Advanced LIGO and for leading the installation of these systems at the detector sites.
13Professor Kenneth A. Strain FRSEUniversity of GlasgowFor leadership of the UK input to upgrade the LIGO detectors, leading to the detection of the signals from the black hole binary coalescence
14Professor Sheila Rowan MBE FRSEUniversity of GlasgowFor leading the Institute for Gravitational Research in Glasgow over the critical period of upgrading the LIGO detectors and for contributions to the development of the ultra-low noise suspensions and mirror coatings of Advanced LIGO, without which the detections could not have been made
15Professor Jim Hough OBE FRS FRSEUniversity of GlasgowFor 45 years of research towards the detection of gravitational waves, UK leadership of the German British GEO 600 detector development, and development of laser stabilization and mechanical isolation systems essential to the detection of gravitational waves by Advanced LIGO
16Professor Ron Drever FRSECalifornia Institute of TechnologyFor early work at the University of Glasgow on the development of aluminum bar gravitational wave detectors and their optically based successors, and for research at the California Institute of Technology leading to the funding of the initial LIGO detectors

Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Annamaria Testa, Heike Tappe posing for a photo