An award-winning architect and professor of architecture at the University of Sheffield, Sarah Wigglesworth has become the first woman to be appointed a Royal Designer for Industry in architecture. The accolade, given to practising designers by the Royal Society of Art, honours individuals whose work has displayed sustained design excellence in aesthetics and in benefit to society. Professor Wigglesworth's appointment recognises her approach to community collaboration and the use of sustainable materials. "I hope to use the role as a platform to communicate the value of design, emphasising that good design helps improve our well-being, productivity, health and educational attainment, makes systems work smoothly and supports our identity as a civic society," she said. Professor Wigglesworth, who studied architecture at the University of Cambridge, is, along with her husband Jeremy Till, one of only two architects to be awarded a Fulbright Fellowship. She was made professor of architecture at Sheffield in 1998, and two years later she established the school's PhD by Design qualification. She is also director of the London-based company Sarah Wigglesworth Architects. As one of the few female practice principals in architecture, she wants to champion women in the profession.
Yale University has announced that Peter Salovey, currently the university's provost and Chris Argyris professor of psychology, will be its 23rd president. Professor Salovey will take up his new post in June next year, succeeding Richard Levin, who has been in the role since 1993. Professor Salovey's appointment comes after more than 30 years at Yale, which he joined in 1981 as a graduate student. Commenting on his selection, he praised Yale as a "model" of higher learning: "To the faculty, students, staff, alumni and all of the Yale community: I look forward to years of listening to you, being inspired by you, serving you, and collaborating with you to continue to ensure that Yale is a model of higher learning and scholarship, and an inspiration to the world." His long association with the university ensures that he will be its first president to have served as chair of an academic department, as dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, as dean of Yale College and as provost. In all his posts, he has been instrumental in academic innovation and reform. "Peter brings a profound understanding of Yale and great ambitions for advancing the university in the years ahead," said Edward Bass, senior fellow of the Yale corporation, the university's governing board. Professor Salovey gained a BA and an MA in psychology and sociology from Stanford University before completing two master's degrees and a PhD in psychology at Yale.
University of Leeds
The new professor of early modern history at the University of Leeds said he felt "shock, disbelief, relief and excitement... all within about 30 seconds" when he was offered the post. Stephen Alford, who joins Leeds from the University of Cambridge, said he was looking forward to adding his interests in Tudor history to the "fantastic" teaching of early modern history already at the institution. Professor Alford's main research interests include politics, political thought and monarchy in Britain in the 16th and early 17th centuries. He said the politics of today was much "gentler" in comparison: "I'm not sure that even our most formidable politicians would last for very long in the service of Henry VIII or Elizabeth I." He wants his subject to be comprehensible to the general public, he added. "History has to be accessible: it belongs to all of us. We have to remember that history is not just about kings and princes, but about ordinary people, too." After completing his undergraduate and doctoral degrees at the University of St Andrews, Professor Alford spent 15 years teaching at Cambridge, where he became a British Academy postdoctoral fellow, senior research fellow and, ultimately, senior lecturer.
University of Bristol
An internationally renowned researcher in optical networking has joined the University of Bristol. Dimitra Simeonidou, who joins Bristol as professor of high-performance networks in the department of electrical and electronic engineering, has moved her entire research group in high-performance networks from the University of Essex. Professor Simeonidou and her team of 20 researchers will be based in new state-of-the-art facilities in the Faculty of Engineering. She said that Bristol's "unique combination of advance fabrication facilities and communication systems laboratories" were a big draw for her. "A huge attraction was the capability to interact with colleagues to produce specialised devices and therefore to have a lot more control on the types of systems we are researching," she said. "Bristol is investing in a new lab infrastructure, and I would like to (work) with relevant groups around me." Professor Simeonidou received a BSc and an MSc in physics from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece before she completed her PhD at the University of Essex. She worked in industry at Alcatel Submarine Networks before returning to Essex as a lecturer. She later became professor of optical communications and head of Essex's High Performance Networks Group.
Two researchers have joined the University of Warwick to tackle the challenges facing cities in the 21st century as part of the New York-based Center for Urban Science and Progress. Maria Liakata and Weisi Guo will carry out research at the forefront of urban sciences in the area of computing and data mining and in energy efficiency and engineering, respectively. Warwick is a member of a consortium led by New York University that is building the applied research centre in response to a call issued by the city's mayor, Michael Bloomberg.
The Academy of Social Sciences has conferred the award of academician on 63 academics and politicians including Chris Husbands, director of the Institute of Education, University of London, Judith Pallot, professor in the School of Geography and Environment at the University of Oxford, David Lavallee, professor in the School of Sport at the University of Stirling, and David Blunkett, MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough and a former home secretary and education secretary.
David Howarth, honorary fellow of politics and international relations at the University of Edinburgh, has joined the University of Luxembourg for the current academic term. Professor Howarth is an expert in political economics and European banking systems.
King's College London has awarded an honorary degree to the president of the National University of Singapore. Tan Chorh Chuan, who is also a highly distinguished physician, received a doctor of medicine degree from King's. Professor Tan led the successful Singaporean response to the Sars epidemic in 2004 as the director of medical services at the Singapore Ministry of Health.