Naturalist Sir David Attenborough and Writer Terry Pratchett Among Recipients of Honorary Degrees

Posted on: 15 December 2008

Acclaimed broadcaster and naturalist, Sir David Attenborough was among five candidates who received honorary degrees at Trinity College Dublin on December 12th last.  The renowned broadcaster was conferred with a Doctor in Letters (Litt. D) for his significant contribution to natural history and broadcasting.

As a pioneer of nature documentaries for over 50 years, Sir David Attenborough is the highly respected face and voice of natural history programmes broadcast worldwide. His series have been highly influential in raising both an appreciation of the natural world and awareness of the environmental crisis threatening it.

The other recipients of honorary degrees were:
Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell       Sc. D.

The astrophysicist, Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell,  while a postgraduate in Cambridge discovered  the first four radio pulsars or rapidly rotating neutron stars, for which her thesis supervisor, Anthony  Hewish, was awarded a Nobel Prize. Since 1991, Burnell has been a Professor of Physics at the Open University. She is currently Visiting Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford and has been elected President of the Institute of Physics for 2008-09. Burnell describes herself as “a role model, a spokeswoman, a representative, and a promoter of women in science in the UK”.

Dame Ann Dowling        Sc. D.
Dame Ann Dowling is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Cambridge,  Director of the University Gas Turbine Partnership with Rolls-Royce, and head of the division in which research in aeronautics and energy is carried out at Cambridge. Professor Dame Ann Dowling works primarily in the fields of combustion, acoustics and vibration and her research is aimed, in particular, at low-emission combustion and quiet vehicles. She is the UK lead of the Silent Aircraft Initiative, a collaboration between researchers at Cambridge and MIT which has released the conceptual design of an ultra-low noise and fuel efficient aircraft.

David P. Farrington        Sc. D.
David P. Farrington is Professor of Psychological Criminology at the University of Cambridge and Director of the Cambridge Study of Delinquent Development, a 40 years longitudinal study of criminal careers. He is a leading authority on crime prevention and has authored over 15 books in the areas of comparative criminology, bullying, developmental prevention and the impact of criminological interventions. His research has considerable impact on policy making internationally. He was President of the American Society of Criminology and the British Society of Criminology.

Terry Pratchett        Litt. D.
One of the most important satirists in the English language today, Terry Pratchett is often compared to Jonathan Swift. He is the author of the famous Discworld series of 36 books (four of which are written for children), in which he created a satirical counter world to hold up a distorting mirror to our own. His work has sold more than 55 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 33 languages. He has won numerous literary awards and was appointed OBE in 1998. In 2007, Terry Pratchett was diagnosed with a rare early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Since then he has been generously supporting research on Alzheimer’s disease and has spoken out publicly about his illness, confronting the taboo around the disease and encouraging an open debate. 

 Honorary degree recipients david farrington, dame ann dowling, dame jocelyn bell burnell, sir david  attenborough and terry pratchett.

Honorary Degree recipients David Farrington, Dame Ann Dowling, Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Sir David  Attenborough and Terry Pratchett.