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Science Council lists UK’s Top 100 practising scientists
The Science Council has released a list of the country’s 100 leading practising scientists, with many leading UK academics figuring on the list.
It is organised around 10 different ‘types’ of scientist roles. The list of 100 has 10 different examples of each of the 10 types and gives a broad picture, the council says, of the different ways people work with science, making contributions across UK society and the economy.
It is intended, says the council, to highlight a “collective blind spot in the approach of government, media and public to science, which either tends to reference dead people or to regard only academics and researchers as scientists”.
“It is vital that this narrow vision is challenged urgently because it is inhibiting education policy, the career ambitions of young people and investment in developing the skills we need to deliver a world class economy,” said Chief executive of the Science Council, Diana Garnham.”
“Science is like an orchestra. It takes many instruments working together to produce a fine performance. At the moment, almost exclusively, it is the virtuosity of the soloists being addressed and praised. Of course, they are essential to science and should be valued accordingly. However, we must, at the same time, recognise and encourage the many other types of contributory scientific talent and experience.”
The ten categories are:
- Service provider/operational
- Policy maker
For example, the top ten Investigators are:
Professor Christopher Bishop
Current science roles: Distinguished scientist, Microsoft Research Cambridge and
Professor of Computer Science, University of Edinburgh.
Recognised for developing a thesis on quantum field theory and working on the theory of magnetically confined plasmas. He is a Fellow of BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, Royal Statistical Society, Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and a member of the Institute of Explosives Engineers.
Professor Michele Dougherty
Current science role: Professor of Space Science: Imperial College London.
Recognised for her leadership in space science as team leader on the magnetometer instrument aboard the NASA-ESA Cassini Mission to the Saturn System and for her contribution to encourage young women into science. She is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and Royal Society.
Professor Uta Frith DBE
Current science roles: Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Development, University College London
Recognised for her research on autism spectrum disorders, and being one of the initiators of the study of Asperger’s Syndrome in the UK. She is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society; and Fellow of the Royal Society, the British Academy and the Academy of Medical Sciences.
Sir Alan Fersht
Current science roles: Head of Firsht Group, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge.
Recognised for his pioneering research of protein engineering, which he developed as a primary method for analysis of the structure, activity and folding of proteins. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal Society.
Professor Dame Wendy Hall
Current science role: Professor of Computer Science and Dean of the Faculty of Physical and Applied Sciences, University of Southampton.
Recognised for being one of the first computer scientists to undertake research in multimedia, hypermedia and the Semantic Web. She is a former President of the BCS, Chartered Institute for IT and is a member of the UK Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology.
Professor John McWhirter
Current science role: Distinguished Research Professor, Cardiff University, School of Engineering.
Recognised for his experience as an applied mathematician in theoretical physics, electronic engineering and computer sciences. He is a Chartered Scientist, Chartered Physicist and Chartered Mathematician. He is a past-President and Fellow of the Institute of Physics and the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society.
Professor John Pickett
Current science role: Principal Investigator, Chemical Ecology, Rothamsted Research.
Recognised for being a leading authority on volatile natural products that affect the behaviour and development of animals, and act as external signals for plants. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Royal Entomology Society and the Royal Society. He is an Honorary Member of the Associated of Applied Biologists.
Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell
Current science roles: President of the Society of Biology.
Recognised for her early research identifying mechanisms of energy balance regulation, obesity and cachexia. She is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester, an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Biology, a Fellow of the Royal Society, and the Academy of Medical Sciences and co-chairs the UK Prime Minister’s Council for Science & Technology.
Professor Dame Janet Thornton
Current science role: Director of the European Bioinformatics Institute.
Recognised for pioneering the use of computers to study protein sequences and structures and was one of the first people to classify these structures and describe them in terms of their component part. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a member of EMBO life sciences and a foreign associate of the US National Academy of Sciences.
Dr Ahmer Wadee
Current science role: Reader in Non-linear Mechanics, Imperial College London.
Recognised for his research in the field of nonlinear mechanics of structural stability, primarily involving modelling buckling instabilities in metallic and composite material structures. He is a Chartered Scientist and Chartered Mathematician, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Maths & Applications and the Institute of Structural Engineers.