UCL News


UCL researchers honoured by The Royal Society

19 July 2016

The outstanding achievements of three UCL researchers have been recognised by The Royal Society, the UK's national Academy of science, in this year's Awards and Prizes announcement.

Royal Society Prize Winners

Professor Jon Agar (UCL Science & Technology Studies) has won the Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal and Lecture in recognition of his work as a leading figure in the history and philosophy of science, publishing ground breaking research on issues including twentieth-century science and technology, the origins of computing, and history of radio astronomy. Professor Agar writes on contemporary technologies, including mobile phones and ID cards, and the history of modern science and technology.

Professor Agar said: "I am delighted and humbled to be awarded the Wilkins-Medawar-Bernal prize by the Royal Society. Bernal asked how science should work within wider society, and that is a question that I continue to ask. The award is welcome recognition of contextual history of twentieth-century science and technology, of which I am one practitioner among many."

As part of the award Professor Agar will give the annual Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar lecture in 2017 on an aspect of the social function, philosophy or history of science.

Professor Jonathan Ashmore (UCL Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology and UCL Ear Institute) has been awarded the Croonian Medal and Lecture for his significant contributions to the field of sensory neuroscience, shaping our current understanding of inner ear physiology and in particular for his analysis of the role of cochlear hair cells in normal hearing.

Professor Ashmore said: "I feel an enormous sense of responsibility to be awarded the Croonian Medal and Lecture as I am aware that there are some very large shoes to step into. I am particularly honoured to be the first sensory neuroscientist to give the lecture since Edgar Adrian was awarded the medal over eight decades ago for his early work on our sense of hearing. There have been many distinguished UCL scientists who have been Croonian Lecturers, the list including Andrew Huxley, Bernard Katz and more recently Salvador Moncada and Linda Partridge.  They will be very hard acts to follow."

The Croonian prize lecture is the premier lecture in the biological sciences and is delivered annually at the Royal Society in London.

Dr Nick Lane (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment) has been awarded the Michael Faraday Prize for his excellent work in science communication. Dr Lane is an evolutionary biochemist and writer, whose work focuses on the origin of life and the origin and evolution of eukaryotes. He is the author of four critically acclaimed books on evolutionary biochemistry, one of which, Life Ascending, won the 2010 Royal Society Prize for Science Books.

Dr Lane said: "I am hugely honoured to be awarded this prize. The list of previous winners is an extraordinary rollcall of the finest scientists, the clearest thinkers and the most exciting communicators of science in Britain. Many of them were direct inspirations for me, and to whole generations of aspiring scientists. I am more than proud to be counted among them, and I will now have to redouble my efforts to live up to this wonderful accolade!"

The Michael Faraday Prize is awarded annually to scientists whose expertise in communicating scientific ideas in lay terms is exemplary. Previous winners include Professor Brian Cox, Sir David Attenborough and Richard Dawkins. As part of the prize, Dr Lane will deliver the Royal Society's Faraday lecture early next year.