Earl of Rosse and Lord Alec Broers among Distinguished Recipients of Honorary Degrees at Trinity College Dublin

Posted on: 05 September 2005

Brendan Parsons, the seventh Earl of Rosse, is among five recipients to receive an honorary degree at Trinity College Dublin today (5 September). The special commencements ceremony marked the BA Festival of Science which is being hosted by the College.

A former Chancellor of the University, Lord Parsons was conferred with a Doctor in Letters, LLD. He has nurtured a notable resurgence in public interest in astronomy in Ireland, particularly with regard to the giant telescope situated on the grounds of Birr Castle, Co. Offaly, which was designed by his great-great-grandfather, the third Earl of Rosse. Lord Parsons served with the United Nations from 1963 to 1980, including an appointment as UN Disaster Relief Co-ordinator in Bangladesh; he was also an advisor to the government on Development Co-operation.

The other recipients of honorary degrees are:

Lord Alec Broers, F.R.S.Sc.D.
Alec Broers is President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge 1996-2003. He spent 20 years in research with IBM in the US at the Thomas J Watson Research Centre in New York, the East Fishkill Development Laboratory and at Corporate headquarters. On his return to Cambridge he established a nanofabrication laboratory to extend the technology of miniaturisation to the atomic scale. He also developed his research on using electrons, X-Rays and ultra-violet light in microscopy and on making microelectronic components. He was knighted for services to education in 1998 and was created a life peer in 2004.

Professor Robert Maurice Lord Winston Sc.D.
Professor Winston is Head of the Department of Fertility Studies at Imperial College and Director NHS Research and Development at the Hammersmith Hospitals Trust. Professor Winston is the current President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science; he is a pioneer of pre-implantation genetics diagnosis which allows families with gene defects, i.e., cystic fibrosis and chromosomal abnormalities, to have children free from fatal illness. He holds six patents and has published about 300 papers. He has been awarded the Faraday Medal of the Royal Society (1991). Professor Winston has also presented several prize-winning BBC science programmes, Your life in their hands; Making babies; The Threads of Life.

Frances Cairncross Sc.D.
Frances Cairncross is Rector of Exeter College, Oxford; a former economics correspondent of the Guardian and Chair of the Economic and Social Research Council (UK). Ms Cairncross is the author of Costing the Earth: the Challenges for Government, the Opportunities for Business; Green Inc and The Death of Distance, a study of the economic and social effects of the global communication revolution. Ms Cairncross is the President-elect of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

Professor Dianne Edwards, C.B.E., F.R.S., F.R.S.E. Sc.D.
Dianne Edwards is the world leader in study of early land plants and terrestrialisation and a world leader in the field of palaeobotany. She has published over 125 papers in leading journals, 50 since 1995. Her research specialises in the morphological and anatomical descriptions of early fossil plants, using a wide range of techniques, particularly scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Her work has covered Wales, North and South America, Australia, China, Kazakhstan, Scotland and Ireland. She was awarded the Lyell Medal of the Geological Society of London in 2004. She is chief editor of the Botanical Journal of the Linnaean Society.