AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR IN THE UK
Alec Broers is a distinguished Australian engineer and scientist who sees engineering and science as two sides of the same coin. With his international lifetime achievements in engineering and science, and his Reith Lectures last year, and his continuing links with Australia, Lord Broers was awarded the 2006 Australian of the Year in the UK award.
Alec Broers was educated at Geelong Grammar and the University of Melbourne where, in 1959, he graduated with a Science degree in physics and electronics. In 1962 he graduated in electrical sciences from the University of Cambridge, and in 1965 completed his PhD and Doctorate in Science.
In the same year, Alec Broers joined IBM in New York, working at the Thomas J Watson Research Centre, where he rose to the position of Manager of Advanced Technology. He was appointed an IBM Fellow in recognition of his outstanding technical contributions.
In 2005 Alec Broers recalled –
“I was drawn to Britain from the sunshine of Australia in 1959 because Britain led the world in making the best domestic electronics, especially the high fidelity sound systems that had fascinated me since I was a boy. I had formed a little company in Melbourne - today we would call it a start-up - that made hi-fi systems for rich farmers, and all the equipment that we used was British, including the electronic components, so my ambition was to come to England and work on their further development - but by the time I had finished my PhD in 1965 the excitement in electronics had moved to transistors and the newly emerging integrated circuits, and the most exciting research was being pursued in the laboratories of the large American technology companies”.
After nearly 20 years with IBM, Alec Broers returned to the University of Cambridge in 1984 as Professor of Electrical Engineering, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1986.
In 1990, Alec became Master of Churchill College and in 1992 Head of the University of Cambridge Engineering Department.
In 1996 Alec Broers was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge and played a significant role in the University’s rise as a centre of excellence for high technology.
In 2001 Alec Broers became President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Britain’s most prestigious and premier engineering organisation.Alec Broers was knighted in 1998 and in 2004 Sir Alec Broers was granted a life peerage for services to education and engineering, and later in 2004, Baron Broers of Cambridge was appointed Chairman of the House of Lords’ Science and Technology Committee.
Alec Broers has maintained his Australian links, and regularly visits to deliver lectures, and to advise Government and business.
Last year, Lord Broers was invited to present the BBC’s prestigious Reith Lectures, and thereby joined a long and illustrious list of Reith Lecturers including Bertrand Russell, J K Galbraith and Jonathon Sacks and Edward Said. He is possibly the first Australian to be invited to deliver the Reith Lectures.
The series of 5 lectures, entitled, “The Triumph of Technology”, focussed on the integral place of technology in the society of the future.
Lord Broers said “I have chosen technology as the subject of my Reith Lectures because it is exciting and fast moving and because it shapes our lives. Technology provides the means for the third world to join the first world and, besides, if we do not understand it better we will fall behind in our own intellectual, social and material development.”
HONORARY AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR IN THE UK
With her involvement in Australia, particularly over the past year, and her Australian-like approach to everything she does, the Australia Day Foundation believes that Baroness Greenfield is a fitting recipient of the 2006 Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK award.
Susan Greenfield was educated at Godolphin and Latymer School for Girls in London, and following her initial studies in Classics at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, she graduated with a BA in Experimental Psychology in 1973, and in 1977 a PhD in the Department of Pharmacology.
Susan Greenfield subsequently held research fellowships in the Department of Physiology, Oxford, the College de France, Paris, and NYU Medical Center, New York.
In 1985, she was appointed University Lecturer in Synaptic Pharmacology, and Fellow and Tutor in Medicine, Lincoln College, Oxford. During this time she held a Visiting Research Fellowship at the Institute of Neuroscience at La Jolla, USA, and was the Visiting Distinguished Scholar at Queen’s University, Belfast, in 1996. In the same year Susan Greenfield was appointed Professor of Synaptic Pharmacology at Oxford, and since then, she has been awarded some 28 Honorary Doctorates from British and foreign universities.
Susan Greenfield is a Senior Research Fellow at Lincoln College, and Honorary Fellow at St Hilda’s College,Oxford
In 1998 Professor Greenfield was appointed Director of The Royal Institution of Great Britain. The RI was founded 205 years ago and early lecturers were Humphrey Davy and Michael Faraday, and Susan is the first female Director in the RI’s history.
Professor Greenfield was awarded the CBE in 2000 and was granted a Life Peerage in 2001.
In 2000 Susan was elected to an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians, and was President of the Classical Association in 2003-2004.
Baroness Greenfield recently led a Government task force investigating the problem of women in science, and for the past 5 years, she has been a Forum Fellow at the World Economic Conference at Davos.
In 2003 the French Government awarded Baroness Greenfield the Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur, and in 2005 she was appointed Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University.
Baroness Greenfield is a distinguished scientist, broadcaster, writer and best selling author of “The Human Brain: A Guided Tour” and “Brain Story”. She has presented numerous TV and radio programmes, but is probably best known for “Brain Story”, a major six part series on the brain and mind, broadcast in July 2000 – her great skill is in communicating science to the community as well as her peers.
Baroness Greenfield’s engagement with Australia goes back a number of years – she has delivered lectures and conducted workshops at The Australian National University, the European-Australian Business Council, the Business Council of Australia, the Sydney Institute, The Australia-Britain Chamber of Commerce, the University of Sydney, the Centre for Independent Studies and the ABC.
In August 2005 during ‘Writers Week’ in Sydney Susan had a lively dialogue with Bob Carr, the former Premier of NSW, on ‘women in science and the brain’.
Baroness Greenfield’s most recent involvement with Australia has been as a ‘Thinker in Residence’ in South Australia, where she was charged with developing a strategy to re-ignite the public’s passion in the sciences. Her aim, to make science as appealing as sport and the arts – a challenge Susan embraced with typical vigour, even speaking at a pre AFL football match luncheon! In this role she initiated and implemented a range of initiatives including the establishment of the national Australian Science Media Centre, based on the successful Ri Media Centre in the UK. The Centre opened in August last year and aims to increase the degree and accuracy of reporting about science in the Australian media.
Baroness Greenfield arranged for a group of 10 Australian teenage students and their teachers to visit London in December 2005 to attend the Royal Institution’s Christmas lecture series, and enjoy a range of scientific and cultural experiences.