College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Royal Society award honours leading academic

Professor Michela Massimi has been honoured by the Royal Society for her work on communicating the philosophy of science.

Prof Massimi has been announced as this year’s recipient of the prestigious Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal and Lecture.

First woman

The Royal Society said the medal was given to Prof Massimi for “her interdisciplinary interests in and communication of modern philosophy and science: particularly in relation to physics, and the thinking of Newton, Kant and Pauli.”

I am very humbled and flattered by the splendid news. This prize is a wonderful acknowledgement of off-the-beaten-track interdisciplinary research. I believe I am the first woman and the first European national to receive this prize. And I want to dedicate this prize to all women in academia and to all European nationals, who like myself have come to the UK over the years to pursue their postgraduate studies, research, academic careers; and who contribute daily to international collaborations for the progress of scientific research in all fields.

Prof Michela Massimi

Prof Massimi

Michela Massimi is Professor of Philosophy of Science in the University’s School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences.

She studied at the University of Rome and the London School of Economics, before taking up posts at the University of Cambridge and University College London.

Prof Massimi joined the University of Edinburgh in 2012 and was made Personal Chair in Philosophy of Science in 2015.

Pressing questions

She has written extensively in the interdisciplinary area of history and philosophy of modern physics.

Professor Massimi is currently the Principal Investigator of a European Research Council Consolidator Grant exploring current modelling practices in particle physics and cosmology, with the hope to provide answers to pressing philosophical questions about pluralism and realism in science.   


The annual award is given for excellence in a subject relating to the history of science, philosophy of science or the social function of science.

The associated Wilkins, Bernal and Medawar lecture is intended to communicate aspect of the social function of science.

Related links

The School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

The Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal and Lecture