Royal Society elects new Fellows

01 May 2014

Outstanding scientists, including pioneers in molecular biology, biomedicine and solar cell technology, make up the 50 new Fellows and 10 new Foreign Members announced by the Royal Society today.

Professor Sheena Radford has been made a Fellow for her seminal contributions to understanding how proteins fold and function biologically, or misfold and cause degenerative diseases. She is joined by Professor James Naismith whose work on the structure and chemistry of proteins has improved our knowledge of many biological mechanisms and specific disease pathways. Professor Jenny Nelson has been elected to the Fellowship for her research into the physical and chemical properties of materials used in solar cells and how this relates to device performance.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England and Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department of Health, has been made a Fellow for her outstanding contribution to transforming the health research system in the NHS through the creation of the National Institute for Health Research and her work putting scientific evidence at the heart of government decisions that affect people’s health.

Lord Nicholas Stern has been made a Fellow in recognition of his work challenging the world view on the economics of climate change and his distinguished career in mathematical economics with involvement in industry and in government.

The newly elected Fellows include strong representation of scientists in business and industry. They include Lord Sushantha Kumar Bhattacharyya, founder of Warwick Manufacturing Group and outspoken advocate for the engineering profession; Dr Michael Lynch, founder of Autonomy, the UK’s largest software company; father of the smartphone, Mike Lazaridis, who founded BlackBerry Ltd (formerly Research In Motion); Colin Smith, Director of Engineering and Technology at Rolls-Royce plc; and Dr Andrew Mackenzie, Chief Executive Officer at BHP Billiton Ltd.

Professor Steven Chu, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997 for the development of methods to laser cool and trap atoms, has been elected as a Foreign Member. From January 2009 to April 2013 he was the 12th U.S. Secretary of Energy under President Barack Obama and has sought new solutions to energy and climate challenges throughout his career.

Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, said:

“Science helps us to better understand ourselves and the natural world on which we depend. Building scientific knowledge helps us face some of the planet’s biggest challenges such as food shortages, climate change and tackling disease. These scientists who have been elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society have already contributed much to the scientific endeavour, whether that is in academia, industry or government.”

The Fellowship of the Royal Society is made up of the most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists from the UK and the Commonwealth. Past Fellows and Foreign Members have included Newton, Darwin and Einstein. Some statistics on this year’s intake are as follows:

• This year the number of new Fellows elected has increased from 44 to 50 and the number of new Foreign Members from 8 to 10.
• 7 (14%) of this year’s intake of Fellows are women, plus 1 new female Foreign Member
• 11 of the new Fellows are from Cambridge, 7 from Oxford and 5 from London. New Fellows have been elected from across the UK, including Edinburgh, Birmingham, Warwick and Southampton, along with those from institutions as far afield as California, Toronto and Australia.

The full list of new Fellows and Foreign Members can be found here.