Учреждена королём Георгом IV и впервые вручена в 1826 году, первыми медалей удостоились математик Джеймс Айвори и физик Джон Дальтон.
Первоначально присуждалось две медали за важнейшие открытия прошедшего года. Затем временной интервал был увеличен до пяти лет, а позднее сокращён до трёх. В 1850 году был принят порядок, в соответствии с которым две королевские медали присуждались ежегодно.
В 1965 году введён современный порядок, согласно которому три медали вручаются ежегодно монархом по рекомендации совета Королевского общества.
По состоянию на 2016 год Королевская медаль вручалась 420 раз (она не присуждалась в 1831—1832 годах). Награда включает денежную премию в размере десяти тысяч фунтов стерлингов.
For his Bakerian Lecture, On the Relations of Electrical Changes, considered as the last link, in the order of time, of the splendid chain of Discoveries in Chemical Electricity, which has been continued for so many years of his valuable life.
For his investigations and discoveries contained in the series of experimental researches in electricity published in the Philosophical Transactions, and more particularly for the seventh series, relating to the definite nature of electrochemical action.
For the papers published by him in the 16th and 17th volumes of the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, entitled Supplement to an Essay on the Theory of Systems of Rays, and more particularly for those investigations at the conclusion of the third and last supplement, which relate to the discovery of conic refraction.
For his paper entitled On the chemical action of the rays of the solar spectrum on preparations of silver, and other substances, both metallic and non-metallic, and on some photogenic processes, published in the Philosophical Transactions for 1840.
For his paper on the laws of the tides on the coast of Ireland, as inferred from an extensive series of observations made in connection with the Ordnance Survey of Ireland, published in the Philosophical Transactions for the present year.
For his experimental researches in electricity, twentieth and twenty first series, on new magnetic actions, and on the magnetic conditions of all matter, inserted in the Philosophical Transactions part I. for 1845.
For his paper entitled A description of certain Belemnites preserved with a great proportion of their soft parts in the Oxford clay at Christian-Malford, Wilts, published in the Philosophical Transactions for 1844.
For his contributions to terrestrial magnetism, published in the Philosophical Transactions parts VII and VIII, and his memoir on the diurnal variation of the magnetic declination at Saint Helena, part I.
For his paper on the Iguanodon, published in the Philosophical Transactions for the year 1848, being a continuation of a series of papers by him on the same fossil reptile, by which he has rendered eminent services to geology.
For his researches in various branches of science, especially in botany, as naturalist of the Antarctic expedition of Sir James Ross, and in an expedition to the eastern part of the Himalayan range; of which researches part has been published in works entitled The Antarctic Flora, and the Flora of New Zealand, and in various other communications, and part is now in course of publication.
For his various experimental inquiries on the properties of the materials employed in mechanical construction, contained in the Philosophical transactions, and in the publications of other scientific societies.
For his researches on the Foraminifera, contained in four memoirs in the Philosophical Transactions, his investigations into the structure of shell, his observations on the embryonic development of Purpura, and his various other writings in physiology and comparative anatomy
For the Armagh catalogue of 5345 stars, deduced from observations made at the Armagh Observatory, from the years 1820 up to 1854; for his papers on the construction of astronomical instruments in the memoirs of the Astronomical Society, and his paper on electromagnets in the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy.
For his numerous & valuable contributions to geological science and more especially for his papers published in the Philosophical Transactions on the general question of the excavation of river valleys, and on the superficial deposits in France and England in which the works of man are associated with the remains of extinct animals.
For his researches on the spectra of some of the chemical elements and on the spectra of certain of the heavenly bodies; and especially for his researches on the spectra of the nebulae, published in the Philosophical Transactions.
For his researches in comparative osteology, and more especially on the anatomy of the skull, as contained in papers published in the Transactions of the Zoological Society and the Philosophical Transactions.
For his researches in analytical geometry and the theory of surfaces, published in the Philosophical Transactions, the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, and the Quarterly Journal of Mathematics.
For his investigations on the organic bases of Dippells animal oil; on codeine; on the crystallized constituents of opium; on piperin and on papaverin; and for his researches in physiological and animal chemistry.
For his long & important services in the science of geology, first as Professor of Geology, Trin. Col. Dub. And Director of the Geol. Survey of Ireland & chiefly for the great work which he has long conducted as superintendent of the Geol. Survey of India, also for the series of volumes of geological reports and memoirs, including the Palaeontographica Indica published under his direction.
For his various chemical and physical researches, more especially for his discovery of thallium, his investigation of its compounds and determination of its atomic weight; and for his discovery of the repulsion referable to radiation.
For his numerous researches & writings on the tertiary plants of Europe, of the North Atlantic, North Asia, and North America, and for his able generalizations respecting their affinities, and their geological & climatic relations.
For his contributions on various physiological & biological subjects published in the Philosophical Transactions & Proceedings of the Royal Society & elsewhere; and for his labours practical and theoretical, on questions relating to the antiseptic system of treatment in surgery.
For his numerous and important contributions to animal morphology; and more especially for his investigations respecting the origin of the urogenital organs and the cerebrospinal nerves of the Vertebrata; and for his work on the development of the Elasmobranch fishes.
For the eminent services which he has rendered to physiology and pathology, especially for his investigation of the relations of micro-organisms to disease, and his researches on the electric phenomena of plants.
For his invention of Quartz Fibres and investigation of their properties, his improvement of the radio-micrometer and investigations with it, for developments in the art of instantaneous photography, and for his determination of the value of the constant of attraction.
For his contributions to biochemistry and entomology; in particular for his demonstration of the part played by cytochrome in the oxidation-reduction mechanisms of the living cell; and for his studies of the higher diptera.
For his studies of cosmic rays and the showers of particles which they produce, for his share in the discovery of the positive electron, for his work on mesons and many other experimental achievements.
For his distinguished biochemical researches, in particular his investigations of (i) the biochemical role of vitamin B1 in tissue metabolism; and (ii) the mechanism of the toxic action of lewisite and other arsenical compounds.
In recognition of his distinguished studies in the Palaeozoic rocks, particularly in Wales, his work on sediments, his palaeontological researches and the application of geological knowledge to practical problems.
In recognition of his pioneering work on the development of the photographic emulsion technique in the investigation of cosmic rays and the outstanding results derived therefrom on the elementary particles in cosmic radiation.
In recognition of his distinguished work in many aspects of engineering, particularly for his design studies of large structures such as those exemplified in the radio telescopes at Jodrell Bank and Goonhilly Downs.
In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the design and development of the X-ray microscope, the scanning electron microprobe analyser, the high voltage and ultrahigh resolution (2.5A) electron microscopes and their applications in many disciplines.
In recognition of his highly original research in nuclear physics and of his outstanding contributions on giant resonances, radiative widths, second-class beta decay and the fundamental symmetries of nuclear interactions and also on instrumentation.
In recognition of his fundamental contribution to understanding the structure and genetic control of immunoglobulins; his hybridoma technique for producing monoclonal antibodies has revolutionized the potential practical applications of immunology.
In recognition of his pioneering use of statistical and epidemiological techniques to evaluate environmental factors in disease, notably that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease and bronchitis.
In recognition of his development of techniques to detect and monitor substances in the blood that regulate the circulation, and their application to the treatment of vascular and ischaemic conditions.
In recognition of his pioneering development of the finite element method as a general procedure of solving problems of engineering physics and for demonstrating its success in applications to stress analysis, fluid mechanics, electromagnetics and many other situations.
In recognition of her distinguished research on mammalian embryology, particularly for providing much of the scientific basis for in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer, and for analysing sex determination in mammals.
In recognition of his seminal role in developing a quantitative understanding of a wide range of geophysical and geological processes, including plate tectonics, mantle convection, continental deformation and melt segregation.
his many new discoveries in the understanding of liquid crystals, for a synthesis of the subject of his seminal book, "The invention of discotic liquid crystals", and for elucidating their remarkable properties.
In recognition of his work on the control of the cell cycle in eukaryotic cells by his discovery of the identity and function of genes that regulate the key control points in the process of cell proliferation.
In recognition of his pioneering work in plant reproductive biology, in particular the areas of taxonomy and ecology, whole plant physiology, development of sub-cellular systems in somatic and reproductive cells, pollen/stigma interactions and acto/myosin transport systems within the pollen tube.
In recognition of his achievements in number theory, in particular Fermats Last Theorem and his achievements in algebraic number theory particularly the celebrated main conjecture on cyclotomic fields.
In recognition of his contribution to our understanding of the way in which chemicals move from the living biosphere to the fossil geosphere, in particular the origin, genesis, maturation and migration of oil which has had great repercussions on the petroleum industry.
In recognition of his theoretical contributions to evolutionary biology, combining mathematics and biology to develop a sound understanding in such fields as population dynamics, paleobiology, ethology, behavioural ecology, bacteriology and genetics.
In recognition of his contributions to experimental particle physics, in particular the elucidation of the structure of the nucleon on the basis of observations of neutrino interactions, the quark substructure of the nucleon, and production of the first quantitative evidence for the validity of Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD).
In recognition of his development of the method of transferring spatial patterns of DNA fragments from the electrophoretic separation medium to membranes on which the hybridisation could occur known as southern blotting, now a fundamental technique in molecular biology.
In recognition of his many important discoveries in cellular and molecular physiology which have greatly advanced our knowledge of synaptic transmission in the nervous system and of long-term effects of trophic interaction between neurones and effector cells.
In recognition of his pioneering work on the molecular chemistry of metal-alkoxides and metal-amides, their synthesis, structure and bonding, and for his studies of their conversions to metal-oxides and metal-nitrides, processes which now find common place applications in materials science, especially in the fields of microelectronics and chemical vapour deposition.
In recognition of his distinguished work over many years in chemical engineering, including fluid flow, process dynamics, gas absorption and fluidization technology which has been concerned with real problems of industrial significance.
In recognition of his fundamental contributions to our knowledge of the somatosensory system and, in particular, pain mechanisms, where his insights led to the therapeutic use of electrical stimulation of peripheral nerves, dorsal columns of the spinal cord, and brain stem for the control of pain, methods that are now in widespread use.
In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the development and application of electron microscopy of materials, and to the underlying theories of electron scattering, in particular his extensive contributions to inelastic scattering theory, his systematic high resolution microscope studies of amorphous materials, his introduction of the concept of coherence volume for hollow cone dark field imaging and his pioneering use of a high angle annular dark field detector to image small catalyst particles.
In recognition of his invention and subsequent development of the World Wide Web, designing the universal resource locator (URL), an addressing system to give each Web page a unique location and the two protocols HTTP and HTML.
In recognition of his pioneering work on microsurgery of the mouse blastocyst which laid the foundation for major advances in biological knowledge, both in developmental biology and in understanding of gene function.
In recognition of his work on the neurobiological mechanisms of behavioural imprinting, embracing molecular, cellular, anatomical, electrophysiological and ethological approaches to learning and memory.
In recognition of his pioneering research into virology. His studies and discoveries in the mechanisms by which influenza virus binds to the host cell, and in virus-cell membrane fusion have had a fundamental impact on the field.
discovering a key aspect of cell cycle control, the protein cyclin which is a component of cyclin dependent kinases, demonstrating his ability to grasp the significance of the result outside his immediate sphere of interest.
for his many deep and varied contributions to mathematics, including harmonic analysis, prime number theory, partial differential equations, combinatorics, computer science, statistics, representation theory, and much more.