Thomas Young Medal and Prize

History
This award was originally "The Thomas Young Oration" of the Optical Society, instituted in 1907; it was to be 'on an optical subject'. After the Optical Society was amalgamated with The Physical Society of London in 1932 to become The Physical Society, the Council of the latter society appointed the orator. The Council of the amalgamated Institute of Physics and The Physical Society in 1961 changed the award to a medal and prize.

The physicist behind the medal
Thomas Young was an English polymath noted for having established the wave theory of light via his famous double-slit experiment, and for what is now known as Young’s modulus, which relates the stress in a body to its associated strain.

He also made contributions to the theory of colour vision, first coming up with the hypothesis that our perception of colour depends on three kinds of receptors sensitive to different wavelengths of light, and to the understanding of surface tension.

Outside of mathematics and physics he also made important contributions to medicine and to the deciphering of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Terms
The award shall be made for distinguished contributions to optics, including work related to physics outside the visible region. The medal will be silver and will be accompanied by a prize of £1,000 and a certificate.

Thomas Young medal recipients

 



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