Belfast Telegraph

Queen’s honours top scientist and world leading engineer

Professor Sir John Pethica FRS DSc, one of the most significant figures in the field of physical science, and Professor Lesley Yellowlees MBE, CBE, a world-leading voice on science and engineering, received Honorary Degrees at Queen’s University Belfast on Saturday.

Sir John, who was awarded his degree for services to science, is a Professor of Physics and Honorary Fellow at Trinity College Dublin, and until May 2017, was Chief Scientific Adviser at the National Physical Laboratory, UK. 

Internationally renowned for his work in nanotechnology, Sir John was the founding Director of CRANN, Ireland’s first purpose–built nanoscience research centre and of the Naughton Institute at Trinity College Dublin, and was previously Professor of Materials at Oxford and founder of Nano Instruments Inc. in the USA. 

Elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1999, he was Vice-President and Physical Secretary of the Royal Society from 2009 to 2014. He received the RS Hughes medal in 2001, was elected FREng in 2013, and received a knighthood in the Queen’s 2014 Birthday Honours. 

In addition to his academic talents, Sir John is accomplished musician and has played Irish traditional fiddle music from an early age.

Before receiving the Honorary Degree, Sir John said:  “I have always had great respect and affection for Queen’s University and I am impressed by the scientific research that takes place here. It is an honour and a privilege to be recognised in this manner by Queen’s University.”

Also honoured was Professor Lesley Yellowlees MBE, CBE, who was also awared his degree for services to science. 

Professor Yellowlees is currently serving as Vice-Principal at the University of Edinburgh and Head of the College of Science and Engineering, Professor Yellowlees is the first female to hold both of these prestigious roles. 

She was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2005 and an Honorary Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry in 2015. In 2012 she became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and is also a Fellow of the Institute of Physics. 

In 2005 Professor Yellowlees was awarded an MBE for services to science and CBE in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to chemistry.

Offering some advice to her fellow graduates, Professor Yellowlees said: “To be successful in today’s global economy you must act with integrity, embrace change and take risks. I am delighted to see the extensive work Queen’s University is doing to encourage females to study STEM subjects.”

She added: “It’s quite an honour to receive an Honorary Doctorate from Queen’s University Belfast.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph