Albert Medal for Stephen Hawking

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Professor Stephen Hawking was today presented with the Royal Society for the Arts' premier award by the Duke of Edinburgh.

Professor Stephen Hawking was today presented with the Royal Society for the Arts' premier award by the Duke of Edinburgh.

The RSA's Albert Medal was awarded to the eminent scientist for "making physics more accessible, understandable and exciting, and opening the subject to a wider audience through his books and television programmes".

Prince Philip, who is president of the RSA, made the presentation at St James's Palace, London.

Receiving the Albert Medal, Prof Hawking said: "I'm an admirer of Prince Albert and happy to have a medal named after him."

The award was instituted in 1863 as a memorial to Queen Victoria's consort who was president of the Society from 1843 to 1861.

Recent previous recipients include Baroness Warnock (1998), Sir Simon Rattle (1997) and Sir Claus Moser (1996).

Stephen Hawking, who is fixed in the public mind for his wheelchair-bound struggle with motor neurone disease, is probably best known for his successful book A Brief History of Time.

Since 1979 he has held the post of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University.

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