Some of the UK’s most outstanding academic talent has been recognised by Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal KG KT HonFRSE who presented the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s (RSE) Royal Medals and the IEEE/RSE James Clerk Maxwell award at the RSE, Edinburgh on the 9th December 2016.
This year’s RSE Royal Medals were awarded to Professor Sir Angus Deaton FBA HonFRSE for his for services to research in economics and international affairs and Professor James Hough OBE FRS FRSE for his involvement in the pioneering research and discovery of gravitational waves. Professor Sir Angus Deaton was in Stockholm in connection with the Nobel Prize Awards at the time of the Princess Royal’s visit and so received his RSE Royal Medal at the RSE in October.
RSE Royal Medals were instituted by Her Majesty The Queen to mark the Millennium and have been awarded since then with her express approval. These accolades are awarded for distinction and international repute in any of the following categories: Life Sciences; Physical and Engineering Sciences; Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Business and Commerce. Previous recipients have included Nobel Laureates Sir James Black and Sir James Mirrlees, as well as the distinguished Scottish historian Prof Tom Devine, and theoretical physicist Professor Peter Higgs.
The 2016 IEEE/RSE James Clerk Maxwell Medal was presented to Professor Geoffrey Hinton, University of Toronto Canada for his sustained contributions to machine learning, including developments in deep neural networks. The Award was accepted on his behalf by Professor Barry Shoop, President IEEE.
The James Clerk Maxwell award is a joint award with the IEEE that was created in 2006 and recognises ground-breaking work by those who follow in Maxwell’s footsteps. James Clerk Maxwell was one of our outstanding former Fellows and his statue now stands a short distance from the RSE premises, on George Street.
RSE President, Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell said, “We deeply appreciate the interest Princess Anne has shown in the RSE and her personal involvement in the presentation of these prestigious awards. This year’s Royal Medallists have both have made truly exceptional contributions to their areas. So too this year’s James Clerk Maxwell medallist has excelled in his ﬁeld. These awards are the RSE’s highest accolades that reflect the enlightenment spirit of the RSE’s Royal charter of 1783 and its remit to advance learning and useful knowledge.”
See the Royal Medals Programme for more information.