Why Did a Medal Become The Prize For Scientific Achievement?
We are in the season of the Nobel Prize announcements for 2016, and Rebekah Higgit helps us look at how medals and awards first began to be acknowledged for scientific work, starting with the Copley Medal bestowed by the British Royal Society in the 18th century. It alternates between the physical and the biological sciences. Given every year, the medal is the oldest Royal Society medal still awarded, and probably the oldest surviving scientific award in the world, having first been given in 1731 to Stephen Gray, for “his new Electrical Experiments: – as an encouragement to him for the readiness he has always shown in obliging the Society with his discoveries and improvements in this part of Natural Knowledge.”
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