Geneticist Alec Jeffreys bags world's oldest science award

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British genetic scientist Sir Alec Jeffreys has been honoured with the Copley Medal 2014. The prize, said to be the oldest science award in the world today, honor this pioneer of genetic profiling for his contribution to this branch of science. 


  • He discovered the technique of how to differentiate between individual DNAs - a science now known as genetic fingerprinting.
  • His vast exploration of human genome, its formation, mutation and variation is now the vital cog in the forensic science helping to crack identities based on blood (DNA).

Genetic Fingerprinting?

  • Genetic profiling through DNAs is called Genetic Fingerprinting.
  • Like fingerprints, no two persons have same DNA; and the degree of similarity establish how close (or far) they are to each other.

About the Prize

  • Its given by the Royal Society of London for "outstanding achievements in research in any branch of science." 
  • The annual award is given alternately to physical and the biological sciences.
  • Having first been given in 1731 to Stephen Gray, some 170 years before the inception of Nobel Prize in 1901, this is called the oldest science award to exist today.

Interesting Facts

  • 52 of its laureates have also been awarded with Nobel Prize.
  • British biochemist Dorothy Hodgkin (1976) is so far the sole female recipient of this honour.
  • Prominent Winners: Charles Darwin, Michael Faraday, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking.
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