'God particle' physicist and VCs recognised in honours list

One of the men who predicted the existence of the Higgs boson particle has been given the highest possible accolade in the New Year Honours list, released today.

December 29, 2012

Peter Higgs, emeritus professor of theoretical physics at the University of Edinburgh, has been made a Companion of Honour, joining figures such as Sir David Attenborough, Sir John Major and Harold Pinter in the 65-strong order.

The award is given to people who have made a “major contribution to the arts, science, medicine, or government lasting over a long period of time”.

The Higgs boson, predicted by theoretical physicists in the 1960s, has been known as the “God particle” because without it other particles would not have any mass.

The existence of a particle with all the hallmarks of the Higgs boson was confirmed by scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, Cern, in July.

Carol Robinson, professor of physical chemistry at the University of Oxford, is made a Dame for services to “science and industry”, as is Sarah Cowley, retired professor of community practice development at King's College London, for services to health visiting.

Five academics have been knighted, including Ian Diamond, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Aberdeen.

Professor Diamond, a social statistician, chaired a review into efficiency and effectiveness in higher education that was published in April 2011. He has been awarded his knighthood for “services to social science and higher education”.

A knighthood for “services to science and higher education” goes to Keith Burnett, vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield, who was chair of the Universities and Colleges Employers Association between 2009 and 2011.

Also knighted are David Payne, director of the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton, Hew Strachan, Chichele professor of the history of war at All Souls, Oxford and Simon Wessely, head of the department of psychological medicine at King's College London.

Among those given CBEs are:

- Josephine Ades, professor of art history and theory at the University of Essex, for services to higher education and art history;

- Brian Cantor, vice-chancellor of the University of York, for services to higher education;

- David Cleevely, founding director of the Centre for Science and Policy at the University of Cambridge, for services to technology and innovation;

- Joseph Elborn, professor of respiratory medicine and consultant physician, Queen's University Belfast, for services to healthcare in Northern Ireland;

- Eileen Evason, emeritus professor at the University of Ulster, for services to disadvantaged people in Northern Ireland;

- Nicholas Ferguson, chair, Courtauld Institute, for services to philanthropy and higher education;

- Judith Freedman, professor of tax law, University of Oxford, for services to tax research;

- Pamela Gillies, principal and vice-chancellor, Glasgow Caledonian University, for services to education and public health;

- Joanna Haigh, professor of atmospheric physics, Imperial College London, for services to physics;

- Keith Harding, director, Wound Healing Research Unit and director, TIME Institute, Cardiff University, for services to medicine and healthcare;

- Francis Kelly, professor of the mathematics of systems, University of Cambridge, for services to mathematical sciences;

- Susan Mendus, Morrell professor emerita of political philosophy, University of York, for services to political science.

Among those awarded OBEs are:

- Derek Aviss, lately executive director and joint principal, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, for services to higher and music education;

- Ian Bateman, professor of environmental science and economics, University of East Anglia, for services to environmental science and policy;

- Mary Beard, professor of classics, University of Cambridge for services to classical scholarship;

- Simon Fanshawe, chair of council, University of Sussex, for services to higher education;

- Susan Gibson, professor of chemistry, Imperial College London, for services to chemistry and science education;

- David Hand, senior research investigator, Imperial College London, for services to research and innovation;

- David Howe, emeritus professor of social work, University of East Anglia, for services to vulnerable children and families;

- David Porteous, professor of human genetics and molecular medicine, University of Edinburgh, for services to science;

- James Prosser, personal chair in microbiology, University of Aberdeen, for services to

environmental science;

- Muriel Robinson, vice-chancellor, Bishop Grosseteste University, for services to higher education;

- Janet Todd, president, Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge, for services to higher education and literary scholarship;

- Janet Treasure, psychiatrist, Eating Disorder Unit, South London Maudsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Kings College London, for services to people with eating disorders;

- Richard Wilding, professor and chair in supply chain strategy, Cranfield School of Management, for services to business;

- John Williams, lately professor of medicine, Cardiff University, for services to patients with renal disease in Wales;

- Alan Woodside, director, Transport and Road Assessment Centre, University of Ulster, for services to higher education and highway engineering in Northern Ireland.

Among those given MBEs are:

- Helen Bowles, policy adviser and deputy chief executive, GuildHE, for services to higher education;

- James Clarke, banqueting operations co-ordinator, Queen's University Belfast, for services to higher education in Northern Ireland;

- Christine Goult, lately head of higher education, Cleveland College of Art and Design, for services to higher education;

- Inderjeet Hunjan, head of access and widening participation team, Leeds Metropolitan University, for services to higher education;

- Stephen I'anson, entrepreneur and pro-chancellor, Newcastle University, for services to

entrepreneurship, community engagement and higher education;

- June McCombie, senior research officer, University of Nottingham, for services to science;

- Sarah Thompson, head, department of physics, University of York, for services to higher education;

- Patricia Usher, lately director of student and academic administration, University of Southampton, for services to higher education;

- Alan Walker, honorary fellow, University of Edinburgh, for services to science engagement and science education in Scotland;

- Linda Woodhead, professor of the sociology of religion, Lancaster University, for services to higher education.

david.matthews@tsleducation.com

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