Greg Scholes, professor of chemistry at the University of Toronto, has been awarded the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in the Physical Sciences. The honour, given by Tel Aviv University, recognises work by outstanding scientists up to 45 years of age. Professor Scholes said it was a great honour to meet some "amazing" scientists when collecting the award. He began his career with a doctorate at the University of Melbourne, moving to Imperial College London, where he was a Ramsay Memorial Fellow. Professor Scholes then held a postdoctoral post at the University of California, Berkeley, before joining Toronto in 2000. At Toronto he has won a host of awards, including the Royal Society of Canada's Rutherford Memorial Medal in Chemistry in 2007. He was made a Fellow of the society in 2009. The research that led to his latest award focuses on the chemical reactions that create energy through light. "Plants and algae have been doing this for 3.5 billion years," he said. "If we could learn how to put together such a sophisticated machine and master what nature does, the possibilities would be incredible."
University of Southern California, Davis
A palliative care researcher who rejoices in seeing her work turned into practice has been honoured with a Junior Faculty Career Development Award from the National Palliative Care Research Center. Susan Enguidanos, who is Hanson Family Trust assistant professor of gerontology and assistant professor of social work at the University of Southern California, Davis' School of Gerontology, will receive two years' worth of funding to study the transition from hospital to home for palliative care patients. Professor Enguidanos took an undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and went on to earn a master's degree in public health from California State University, Long Beach before studying for a doctorate at USC. She joined the faculty at USC in 2008, and has also served as director of research at the non-profit Partners In Care Foundation since 1997. It is the practical applications of her research that most excite Professor Enguidanos. She said: "I have been lucky to see some of my palliative care research become standard care within one large managed-care organisation and have had friends and colleagues share stories of how access to this palliative care changed the end-of-life experience for their loved ones. This research is relevant to everyone - findings from this new study may one day result in improved care for our loved ones and, ultimately, ourselves."
The head of neurosurgery at the Australian School of Advanced Medicine at Macquarie University, Marcus Stoodley, has said that he is looking to his illustrious predecessors as he accepts an invitation to the Eccles Lectureship in Neuroscience for 2012. The lectureship is named for Sir John Eccles, an Australian recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1963, and it is designed to foster interaction between neuroscientists in Australia and New Zealand. "Sir John won the Nobel prize in the year I was born, so as I think of the achievements of past Australians, I am honoured to receive this," Professor Stoodley said. "Other Eccles lecturers have been the kind of neuroscientists I look up to - those who combine research with clinical work." Professor Stoodley graduated from the University of Queensland, and went on to train in neurosurgery. He later moved to the US and pursued specialist training in vascular neurosurgery at the University of Chicago and Stanford University. Professor Stoodley returned to Australia to take up posts at the University of New South Wales and the Prince of Wales Hospital. He joined Macquarie in 2008.
University of Cambridge
An astronomer who found her inspiration by simply stepping outside and looking at the stars has been appointed professor of astronomy at Gresham College. Carolin Crawford received her BA and PhD from Newnham College, Cambridge, and was subsequently awarded fellowships at Balliol College, Oxford, Trinity Hall, Cambridge and the Royal Society. Professor Crawford then joined Emmanuel College, Cambridge as Fellow and college lecturer. Since joining Emmanuel, Professor Crawford has served as the undergraduate admissions tutor for the physical sciences and has combined her scholarly work at the college with the role of outreach officer at the university's Institute of Astronomy. She said that she discovered a passion for astronomy as a child. "I used to look up at the night sky and just got completely entranced with the sheer beauty of it," she said. In her new position at Gresham, Professor Crawford said that she hopes to encourage students to enter the physical sciences. "You have a fantastic overlap with the other physical sciences in astronomy and so I'm hoping to bring that out, whether it is chemistry or geology or even maths or probability." Professor Crawford will be giving a series of public lectures over the next year on the theme of rotation.
Keith McLay, head of history and archaeology at the University of Chester, has been appointed to the post of co-convener of History UK, the national organisation promoting history in higher education.
The Open University has appointed Tim Blackman to the post of pro vice-chancellor (research and scholarship). Professor Blackman is presently dean of Durham University's Queen's Campus in Stockton-on-Tees, as well as director of the university's Wolfson Research Institute.
The University of Bristol has announced the appointment of Peter Chivers as chief executive of the National Composites Centre. Mr Chivers is presently an executive director at the centre.
Richard Williams has been appointed to the posts of pro vice-chancellor and head of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Birmingham. Professor Williams joins the institution from the University of Leeds, where he is presently pro vice-chancellor for international partnerships and holds a chair in mineral and process engineering.
Kevin Jones has become the new director of the Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University. Professor Jones is currently professor of environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology and associate director for research at the LEC.
Coventry University has appointed Mike Hardy executive director of the Institute of Community Cohesion. Professor Hardy joins Coventry from the British Council, where he was director of intercultural dialogue.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has been appointed Gladstone professor of literature and theology at the University of Chester.