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Smith's Prize

The Smith's Prize was the name of each of two prizes awarded annually awarded to two research students in theoretical Physics, mathematics and applied mathematics at the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England.

Establishment of the annual prize (awarded every year with the exception of 1917), to be divided between the two or more junior Bachelors of Arts who had made the greatest progress in mathematics and natural philosophy, was founded by bequest of Robert Smith upon his death in 1768, having by his will left £3500 South Sea Company stock to the University, a portion of the interest from which was to be dedicated to the prize. Originally the Smith’s Prize was based on written examinations but from 1885 it was awarded for the best essay. The Rayleigh Prize was an additional prize first awarded in 1911.

According to Barrow-Green "By fostering an interest in the study of applied mathematics, the competition contributed towards the success in mathematical physics that was to become the hallmark of Cambridge mathematics during the second half of the nineteenth century". In the twentieth century the competition stimulated postgraduate research in mathematics in Cambridge and the competition has played a significant role by providing a springboard for graduates considering an academic career. The majority of prize-winners have gone on to become professional mathematicians or physicists.

Value of the prizes

Originally in 1769 the prizes they were worth £25 each and remained at that level for 100 years. In 1867 they fell to £23 and in 1915 were still reported to be worth that amount. By 1930 the value had risen to about £30 and by 1940 the value had risen by a further one pound to £31. By 1998 a Smith’s Prize was worth around £250.

In 2007 the value of the three prize funds was roughly £175,000.

Reorganization of prizes

In 1998 the Smith Prize, Rayleigh Prize and J. T. Knight Prize were replaced by the Smith-Knight Prize and Rayleigh-Knight Prize, the standard for the former being higher than that required for the latter.

Smith's Prize

For the period up to 1940 a complete list is given in including titles of prize essays from 1889-1940.

Rayleigh Prize

A more complete list of Raleigh prize recipients is given in Appendix 1 of

  • 1930 Harold Davenport
  • 1937 David Stanley Evans
  • 1980 David Benson
  • 1998 P. Bolchover, O. T. Johnson, R. W. Verrill, R. Bhattacharyya, U. A. Salam, S. A. Wright and T. J. Hunt

J. T. Knight Prize

  • 1974 Cameron L. Stewart and Allan J. Clarke
  • 1975 Frank Kelly and Ian Sobey
  • 1977 Gerard Murphy
  • 1981 Bruce Allen and Philip K. Pollett
  • 1983 Ya-xiang Yuan
  • 1985 Reinhard Diestel
  • 1988 Somak Raychaudhury
  • 1990 Darryn W. Waugh
  • 1991 Renzo L. Ricca
  • 1992 Grant Lythe, Christophe Pichon
  • 1993 Anastasios Christou Petkou
  • 1994 Michael Gutperle
  • 1996 Thomas Manke
  • 1997 Arno Schindlmayr
  • 1998 A. Bejancu, G. M. Keith, J. Sawon, D. R. Brecher, T. S. H. Leinster, S. Slijepcevic, K. K. Damodaran, A. R. Mohebalhojeh, C. T. Snydal, F. De Rooij, O. Pikhurko, David. K. H. Tan, P. R. Hiemer, T. Prestidge, F. Wagner, V. H. Hoàng, A. W. Rempel and Jium-Huei Proty Wu

Smith-Knight Prize

  • 1979 Adrian John Baddeley
  • 1999 D. W. Essex, H. S. Reall, A. Saikia, A. C. Faul, D. C. Richer, M. J. Vartiainen, T. A. Fisher, J. Rosenzweig, J. Wierzba and J. B. Gutowski
  • 2000 D. C. Richer
  • 2001 B. J. Green, T A. Mennim, A. Mijatovic, F. A. Dolan, Paul D. Metcalfe and S. R. Tod
  • 2002 Konstantin Ardakov, Edward Crane and Simon Wadsley
  • 2004 Neil Roxburgh
  • 2008 Miguel Paulos

Rayleigh–Knight and Smith-Knight Prize

  • 1999 C. D. Bloor, R. Oeckl, J. Y. Whiston, Y-C. Chen, P. L. Rendon, C. Wunderer, J. H. P. Dawes, D. M. Rodgers, H-M. Gutmann and A. N. Ross
  • 2001 A. T. R. Bain, S. Khan, S. Schafer-Nameki, N. R. Farr, J. Niesen, J. H. Siggers, M. Fayers, D. Oriti, M. J. Tildesley, J. R. Gair, M. R. E. H. Pickles, A. J. Tolley, S. R. Hodges, R. Portugues, C. Voll, M. Kampp, P. J. P. Roche and B. M. J. B. Walker,
  • 2004 Oliver Rinne
  • 2005 Guillaume Pierre Bascoul and Giuseppe Di Graziano
  • 2006 Richard Wilkinson
  • 2007 Anders Hansen and Vladimir Lazić


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