History of medicine expert receives prestigious Royal Society medal

History of medicine expert receives prestigious Royal Society medal

A University of Exeter expert in the history of medicine has been honoured by the Royal Society for his outstanding contribution to science.

Professor Mark Jackson has been awarded the organisation’s prestigious Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal in recognition of his research in the history of science and medicine and his commitment to promoting research and public engagement in the medical humanities.

Professor Jackson, who will give a lecture at the Royal Society as part of the award, is Director of the University of Exeter’s Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health. He qualified in immunology and then as a doctor before beginning research on the social history of infanticide and the history of `feeble-mindedness'.  More recently, his work has focused on the history of allergic diseases, such as asthma, hay fever and eczema, in the modern world, and on the history of stress.  He is currently writing a book on health in middle age, focusing in particular on the history of the midlife crisis.

Professor Jackson said: “It is a wonderful honour to have been awarded the Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal by the Royal Society, which has played such a significant role in the scientific and cultural history of the United Kingdom since the Society’s origins in the 1660s.  I am particularly delighted that the Society recognises and rewards contributions to the history and philosophy of science and medicine, which have a major role to play in developing new insights and understandings of the world, translating knowledge, and enabling health and well-being.” 

Professor Jackson’s medal is one of 24 medals and awards announced by the Royal Society today.

Brian Foster, Vice President of the Royal Society, said: “The Royal Society has a long-standing tradition of identifying and celebrating the best and brightest scientists. The winners of this year’s medals and awards have all made outstanding contributions to their field. I congratulate them for their distinguished work and their contribution to the advancement of science as a whole.”

The Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal and Lecture is given for excellence in a subject relating to the history of science, philosophy of science or the social function of science. The Wilkins, Bernal and Medawar lectures were originally delivered as three separate lectures, each given triennially. Since 2007, they have been combined under the one title of the Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Lecture, and have been given annually. The medal is of silver gilt, and is accompanied by a gift of £2,000.

Date: 19 July 2018

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