In recent weeks three Old Salopian winners of the prestigious Sidney Gold Medal – the top academic prize Shrewsbury has to offer – have returned to the School to receive their awards.
The Gold Medal is given to the most outstanding academic pupil in the view of the School’s Heads of Faculties. It is not unusual for there to be no recipient of the award in some years, while in others the prize has been shared. The most recent recipients include: Hugh Williams (Rb 2003-08) for Physics, Philipp Legner (O 2007-09) for Mathematics and Max Emmerich (Rt 2008-10) for Biology. Philipp and Hugh received their awards on the recent OS Day, while Max was presented with his medal by Mark Turner during the rededication of the Queen’s Terrace on Saturday 13th October.
As well as being a multiple prize winner in mathematics and science when he was at Shrewsbury, Hugh also led the Salopian team to the national final of the Particle Physics competition at Birmingham University, where the team successfully explained how the Large Hadron Collider works to young school pupils. Hugh went on to read Engineering at Magdalene College, Cambridge.
Philipp Legner is currently studying mathematics at St John’s College Cambridge. Whilst at School he won numerous prizes in science and mathematics and captained the UK International Young Physicists’ Team, leading them to a bronze medal place in the 2009 tournament in China – the UK’s highest ever position.
Max arrived in Shrewsbury in 2008 and in his two years at The Schools, he won a host of top science and mathematics prizes. In 2011 he won a place at Trinity College Cambridge to read Medicine. In part 1A of his Tripos Max was ranked in the top 5% of his year and in part 1B in the top 2%. He has won a variety of prizes whilst at university and is now a Senior Scholar of Trinity College. He is currently researching stem cell technology.
It is noteworthy that collectively all three of these outstanding academics have been praised for their modesty, quest for knowledge and pursuit of excellence in their chosen subjects.
Short History of the Sidney Gold Medal
The Sidney Gold Medal was instituted in 1838 and was awarded to the best Classical Scholar going to either Oxford or Cambridge. The Medal originally came with a purse of 50 sovereigns, but the latter payment only lasted for 5 years! The prize was paid for by Trustees and individual subscriptions. The Trustees commissioned Sir Edward Thomason to cut the original die and the image was based on a miniature painted by George Perfect Harding and owned by Dr Kennedy (now in the School collection). After Thomason’s death, the business was continued by G R Collis of Birmingham who supplied all medals after 1845. The medal was discontinued in 1855 when the stocks were exhausted, but was revived again in 1899. In 1980 the Salopian Club decided that the Medal should be open to all disciplines and not purely the Classics. Since that time the majority of recipients have excelled in the sciences.
The winner of the 2012 Sidney Gold Medal will be presented with their award at Speech Day on Saturday 29th June 2013.