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Medal previously given to Einstein awarded to Sir Martin Evans

13 July 2009

Cardiff University’s Professor Sir Martin Evans FRS has been awarded one of the world’s oldest prizes for scientific achievement by the Royal Society joining an eminent list of previous recipients including Albert Einstein.

Sir Martin, Professor of Mammalian Genetics at the University’s School of Biosciences and winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, has been awarded the Copley Medal for his seminal work on embryonic stem cells in mice, which revolutionised the field of genetics.

First awarded in 1731, the Copley Medal has a long history and has been awarded to such eminent luminaries as Charles Darwin, Michael Faraday, Louis Pasteur and Stephen Hawking.

Sir Martin was the first scientist to identify embryonic stem cells, which can be adapted for a wide variety of medical purposes. His discoveries are now being applied in virtually all areas of biomedicine - from basic research to the development of new therapies.

Sir Martin said: "I am deeply honoured and extremely gratified to be awarded the Copley Medal - the premier medal of the Royal Society. The previous winners of the Copley Medal ever since 1731 represent a history of scientific fame, of heroes of accomplishment and exemplars of excellence. To have my name added to this list is both a humbling and uplifting experience."

Given annually for outstanding achievements in research in any branch of science, the medal is the Royal Society's oldest award, and alternates between the physical sciences and the biological sciences.

Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society said: "I am delighted that the Royal Society is honouring a man who has done so much to sustain the UK's strength in biological sciences."

Sir Martin will be presented with the Copley Medal, which is made of silver gilt, at the Royal Society’s Anniversary Day meeting in November. A gift of £5000 also accompanies the medal.

The Royal Society is an independent academy promoting the natural and applied sciences. Founded in 1660, the Society has three roles, as the UK academy of science, as a learned Society, and as a funding agency. It responds to individual demand with selection by merit, not by field.

Other recipients of the Society’s 2009 Awards, Medals, Royal Medals and Lectures include Sir Alec Jeffreys who will give the Croonian Lecture, the Society's premier lecture in the biological sciences and Professor Jeremy Sanders FRS, Head of the School of Physical Sciences at Cambridge University who receives the Davy Medal.

1. Cardiff University

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, Professor Sir Martin Evans.

Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning.

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Victoria Dando

Public Relations

Cardiff University

Tel: 02920 879074