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Leading science historian, award-winning playwright, and business entrepreneur to receive University of Warwick Honorary degrees

The University of Warwick will award three honorary degrees during its winter degree ceremonies next month. Leading scientist, author and film producer Harvard University’s Professor Peter Galison, award-winning playwright and former United Nations Ambassador Barrie Keeffe, and entrepreneur businessman Sir Gulam Noon will all receive their awards during the graduation ceremonies on 20 and 21 January 2010. Short biographies of each person follows.

Professor Peter Galison Hon DSc (Doctor of Science)

Professor Peter Galison is a world-renowned historian of science whose research explores the interaction of experimentation, instrumentation and theory in physics. As well as an author and film producer, Professor Galison is the Joseph Pellegrino University Professor and Director of the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments at Harvard University.

He received his PhD from Harvard University in both Physics and the History of Science in 1983. His main work explores the complex interaction between the three principal subcultures of 20th Century physics experimentation, instrumentation and theory.

In 1997 Peter Galison was named a John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation Fellow and in 1999 he was a winner of the Max Planck Prize.

His publications include Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics, which won the Pfizer Award in 1998, and Einstein’s Clocks, Poincare’s Maps: Empires of Time. His most recent work includes Objectivity, co-authored with Lorraine Daston in 2007 and Einstein for the 21st Century: His Legacy in Science, Art and Modern Culture.

During his career, Peter Galison has been involved in the production of two documentary films. The first, The Ultimate Weapon: The H-Bomb Dilemma, was about the political and scientific decisions behind the creation of the first hydrogen bomb in the United States, and premiered on the History Channel in 2000.  The second film Secrecy, directed by Galison and Harvard filmmaker Robb Moss, is about the costs and benefits of government secrecy. It premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and won the Special Jury Award for Documentary Features at the Independent Film Festival, Boston and was named Best Documentary at the Newport International Film Festival.

Barrie Keeffe, Hon D Litt (Doctor of Letters)

Barrie Keeffe began his career as an actor and journalist, before turning to full-time writing and directing in the theatre in 1975.

During his career he has written theatre, radio and TV plays, as well as screenplays for a number of films including 1980s film The Long Good Friday, starring Bob Hoskins and Helen Mirren.

His theatre plays include Gotcha, Only a Game, Abide with Me, My Girl and King of England. His radio plays include Uncle Jack, Self Portrait, Paradise and Heaven Scent.

Barrie Keeffe has received many awards for his work, he won the Prix Revelation, Paris Critics for Gotcha and the Giles Cooper Best Radio Award for Heaven Scent. He has also won the Thames TV Playwright’s Award for Only a Game and the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Award for his screenplay The Long Good Friday.

He has been resident writer at the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Shaw Theatre and the Soho Poly Theatre and Associate Writer at the Theatre Royal Stratford East. He was a United Nations Ambassador in 1995 and has taught dramatic writing at City University since 2002.

Sir Gulam Noon Hon LLD (Doctor of Laws)

Businessman Sir Gulam Noon is Chairman and founder of frozen and chilled foods manufacturer Noon Products.

After establishing several successful businesses in India, where he still operates, Sir Gulam moved to London in 1973 to set up Indian sweet company Bombay Halwa Ltd. He is still Chairman and Managing Director of this company, which also specialises in snack foods and aviation catering.

He is a Trustee on the board of several prominent charities and served on the Board of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and was President for a two-year term until 2003.

Sir Gulam Noon is also a Director on the Board of numerous companies and Government bodies and has recently been appointed to the Board of Transport for London.

Throughout his long career, his main business has been Noon Products, which he established in 1987, manufacturing Indian and Thai chilled and frozen ready meals, predominantly for UK supermarkets. In 2005 Noon Products was taken over by Irish food conglomerate Kerry Group.

Sir Gulam Noon was given an MBE for services to the food industry in 1994 and he was knighted in 2002.

Notes to editors

For more details, contact Kelly Parkes-Harrison, Communications Officer, University of Warwick, 02476 574255, 07824 540863,