In 1753, Ben Franklin won the Copley Medal awarded by the Royal Society of London. The same year, he was also awarded honorary doctorate degrees from a number of prestigious universities, including Yale University in New Haven, Conn., and Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. In 1759, the University of St. Andrews in Scotland awarded him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
The Copley Medal was awarded annually for major scientific discoveries and advancements and was roughly equivalent to a Nobel Prize. Franklin won the medal for his experiments with electricity.
Though Franklin did not receive many formal awards for his work, his list of accomplishments was vast. He helped to establish the United States' first lending library, created "Poor Richard's Almanack," charted the Gulf Stream, published America's first political cartoon, drafted the Declaration of Independence, signed the Constitution, and invented the glass harmonica, bifocals and an instrument for taking books down from shelves. He also held many prominent and influential positions in his life, including official printer for Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Grand Master of the Masonic Lodge of Pennsylvania, clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly, Postmaster of Philadelphia, Postmaster General of North America, and a delegate to the Continental Congress.