Belfast Telegraph

The Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal awards 2018 - nominations now open

The Royal Irish Academy, Ireland’s leading body of experts in the Sciences and the Humanities, will award two leading academics the prestigious Gold Medals.

With over 500 members across the island of Ireland, the institution prides itself on a membership of world-renowned leaders in their fields.

To honour the work of Ireland's academic minds, the Royal Irish Academy has awarded two RIA Gold Medals every year since 2005 to those who are leading contributors to the world of learning.

In 2018 the Academy, in association with the Higher Education Authority, will award two Gold Medals: one in the Humanities and one in the Physical and Mathematical Sciences.

The call for nominations is open now and will close on Wednesday, 23 May.

For further details on eligibility, the nomination process and to access the online nomination form, please see or email

Previous Gold Medal award winners include Ireland's foremost thinkers in the humanities, social sciences, physical and mathematical sciences, life sciences, engineering sciences and the environment and geosciences.

Among the previous winners is Professor David Livingstone, MRIA of Queen’s University Belfast who was awarded the Gold Medal in the Social Sciences in 2008.

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Pictured: Professor David Livingstone

Gold Medal award winners: In profile

Who: Professor Louis Cullen

What: Humanities

When: 2016

Louis Cullen has been at the forefront of Irish historical studies for more than fifty years.

One could say Professor Cullen created modern Irish economic and social history before going on to become a distinguished historian of France, Scotland and Japan as well.

From the start, he adopted a comparative and transnational approach to economic and trade history, while also broadening his research focus to the social history of early modern Ireland. This approach allowed Professor Cullen to develop original arguments at a time when the study of Irish history was largely dominated by political historians.

Who: Professor Werner Nahm

What: Physical and Mathematical Sciences

When: 2014

Professor Werner Nahm is Director of the School of Theoretical Physics at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. Through his pioneering research, he has contributed substantially to a wide range of fields but especially mathematical physics.

Professor Nahm was the first to classify the spectra of string theories by examining the modular properties of their partition functions. In gauge theory, the 'Nahm transformation' reduces the equations for instantons and self-dual monopoles to algebraic equations and ordinary differential equations, respectively. In particular, Nahm suggested a new approach to the algebraic equations, through his discovery of what are now known as 'Nahm equations'.

He was awarded the prestigious Max Planck Medal for his fundamental work on quantum field theory and his pioneering contributions to the development of heterotic string theory. He is one of only a handful of scientists to hold membership of both the Royal Irish Academy and the Royal Society.

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