The James Smithson Medal

Awards and Medals
January 18, 2018
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James Smithson Medal

The James Smithson Medal, the Smithsonian Institution's most prestigious and highest award, was established in 1965 in honor of its founder, James Smithson. It is given in recognition of exceptional contributions to art, science, history, education and technology. Reserved for the most outstanding achievements, this medal has been presented only nine times in the last 31 years. The list of Smithson Medal recipients is as follows:

  • 2015 - G. Wayne Clough
  • 1999 - I. Michael Heyman
  • 1994 - Robert McC. Adams
  • 1991 - Julie Johnson Kidd
  • 1986 - Chief Justice Warren E. Burger
  • 1979 - His Holiness, Pope John Paul II
  • 1976 - Nancy Hanks
  • 1976 - Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II
  • 1968 - Edgar P. Richardson
  • 1965 - Lord Howard W. Florey