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Warwick honours space plane designer, climate change policy maker and a man who manipulated individual atoms into an iconic image

A space plane designer, someone who manipulated individual atoms to form what became an iconic image, and a leading policy maker on global climate change are among those to receive honorary degrees from the University of Warwick at its 2017 summer graduation ceremonies.

The University’s summer graduations will take place throughout the week commencing Monday 17th July and they will be held in the Butterworth Hall in Warwick Arts Centre.

Biographies of all of those who will receive Honorary Degrees follow below, along with the title of the degree they will receive. Details of media opportunities for each honorary graduand will be released nearer the time.


Monday 17th July Morning
Don Eigler (Hon DSc)


Monday 17th July Afternoon
Mr David Burbidge (Hon DLitt)

Tuesday 18th July Morning
Shigefumi Mori (Hon DSc)

Tuesday 18th July Afternoon
Alan Bond (Hon DSc)

Wednesday 19th July Morning
Christiana Figueres (Hon DSc)

Wednesday 19th July Afternoon
Currently no honorary graduate

Thursday 20th July Morning
Stephen Bloom (Hon DSc)

Thursday 20th July Afternoon
Pippa Norris (Hon LLD)

Friday 21st July Morning
Professor Bridget Ogilvie (Hon DSc) 

Friday 21st July Afternoon
Professor Paul Cartledge (Hon DLitt)

Saturday 22nd July Morning
Larry Sullivan (Hon LLD)


Saturday 22nd July Afternoon
Daniel Levinthal (Hon LLD)


Professor Sir Stephen Bloom - Hon DSc (Honorary Doctor of Science)

Stephen BloomProfessor Sir Stephen Bloom played a seminal role in establishing the biology and pathophysiology of the endocrine functions of the gut. This is now a major focus of basic and applied laboratories worldwide.

He is the Head of Division for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Chair of the academic Section of Endocrinology and Investigative Medicine at Imperial College London and Lead Clinician for Clinical Chemistry at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. He heads a 40 strong research team investigating the physiology of regulatory peptides in CNS and periphery.

Sir Stephen received his medical training at Cambridge University and Middlesex Hospital, University College London, where he also received his MRC Clinical Research Fellowship training. He moved to the Royal Postgraduate Medical School at Hammersmith Hospital in 1974 where his roles have included Senior Lecturer (Consultant Physician), Reader in Medicine then Professor of Medicine and Chairman of the Academic Board. In Hammersmith Hospital he was Director of the Endocrinology Clinical Service and Deputy Director, Department of Medicine, Director of Chemical Pathology (renamed Metabolic Medicine) and later in the Hammersmith Hospitals Trust, Chief of Service for Pathology and Chief of Service Endocrinology and Diabetes.

In the 1980s he pioneered the discovery of several gut hormones and established their endocrine physiology, including their influence on appetite regulation and their simultaneous role as neurotransmitters. His research work over the years falls into five related categories: endocrinology clinical research, physiology and pathology of gut hormones, control of insulin release and insulin resistance, role of neuropeptides in organ control and the role of neuropeptides in CNS regulation of appetite and related hypothalamic functions. He currently leads a research group investigating hypothalamic appetite control systems and gut hormones. He has published over 1000 papers (excluding review articles) in journals such as Nature. He is the 64th highest cited academic in the world of all time.

This group’s discovery that oxyntomodulin reduces appetite offers a potential new treatment for obesity and in 2005 Steve co-founded spin out company ‘Thiakis Ltd’ to commercialise these findings.

He has chaired the Warwick Medical School Faculty Advisory Board, and been a member of the Main Scientific Board for AstraZeneca and advisory boards for Upjohn and Novartis. He was Senior Censor then Vice President of the Royal College of Physicians, Chairman of the Medical Research Society, Chairman of the Society for Endocrinology, Chairman of BioScientifica and Chairman of the Diabetes UK Research Committee as well as a current and past member of a number of MRC grant committees. He was a Board member of the National Institute of Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC) and Chairman of the Scientific Committee. He was a member of the Rector's weekly executive committee in Imperial College London and a member of the West London NHS Area Health Authority. In 2013 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.

He was knighted in 2011 and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2013.


Alan Bond - Hon DSc (Honorary Doctor of Science)

Alan BondAlan Bond is an engineer and one of the creators of the HOTOL and Skylon spaceplane concepts.

He first worked on liquid rocket engines, principally the RZ2 (liquid oxygen / kerosene) and the RZ20 (liquid oxygen / liquid hydrogen) at Rolls Royce, and he was also involved with flight trials of the UK’s Blue Streak satellite launch rocket at Woomera in Australia.

He also worked for around two decades on the UK Atomic Energy Authority's Culham Laboratory on nuclear fusion, on the JET and RFX nuclear research projects. He also explored how to use fusion to enable interplanetary space travel and he was the leading author of the report on the Project Daedalus interstellar, a fusion powered starship proposal, which was published by the British Interplanetary Society.

In the 1980s, he was one of the creators of the HOTOL spaceplane project, and he brought a key jet engine design that he had invented to the HOTOL project.

Alan realised that burning air in the combustion chambers while flying in the atmosphere instead of carrying on-board liquid oxygen could potentially save a great deal of the vehicle’s weight. He soon discovered that the best means of achieving this was by using heat exchangers to extract heat from the incoming air flow at high speeds, and using that heat energy to power a turbocompressor. This would allow a rocket to inject air into its combustion chambers efficiently from a standing start, up to Mach 5.5 (4,200mph). In order to fly out of the Earth’s atmosphere and into orbit, the engine would need to be capable of operating with both air and liquid oxygen at different points in its ascent; this is how the Rolls Royce RB545 engine concept was born.

In 1989, Alan Bond was one of the founders of Reaction Engines Ltd. REL is developing a single-stage orbital spaceplane called Skylon, and other advanced vehicles including a hypersonic airliner concept as part of the European LAPCAT programme. The projects have involved the practical development of hydrogen fuelled, pre-cooled air breathing rocket engines, most notably, an engine called SABRE (Synergic Air Breathing Rocket Engine). The aim being to create a vehicle which can take off like a normal aircraft and fly into space.

Skylon video at:


David Burbidge - Hon DLitt (Honorary Doctor of Letters)

David BurbidgeDavid Burbidge is Chairman of the Coventry City of Culture 2021 bid, until recently he served on the main Board of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and he is the former Chair of the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry. He is also Chairman of Burbidge and Son Ltd a high quality woodworking and furniture company based in Coventry, and he was a Director of the Coventry Building Society from 1981 to 2005.

David was High Sheriff of the West Midlands (from 1990 to 1991), is a Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands County and has been Master of the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers, as well as being a Freeman of the City of London.

He was also the founding chairman of the Coventry Cathedral Development Trust, for which he was awarded with an OBE. In 2016 he was made a CBE for his services to cultural philanthropy.


Professor Paul Cartledge - Hon DLitt (Honorary Doctor of Letters)

After Thermopylae: The Oath of Plataea and the End of the Graeco-Persian Wars (Emblems of AntiquityProfessor Paul Cartledge is the A.G. Leventis Senior Research Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, and from 2008 to 2014 he was the A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture (he is now emeritus) in the Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge.

He has also been a lecturer at Warwick (from 1978 to 1979) and he has returned to Warwick many times since to work with staff and students. He was also worked with Warwick’s Dr Michael Scott on a number of television programmes and he has been an historical consultant, or guest interviewee, on a range of other radio and TV programmes exploring ancient history.

He has taught at the New University of Ulster, Trinity College Dublin, Warwick, and Cambridge. He has written, co-written, edited and co-edited over 25 books in the broad field of ancient Greek history and a large number of monographs that have transformed our appreciation of Spartan society.

His most influential monographs include Sparta and Lakonia: a regional history 1300-362 BC (1979); and the Crisis of Sparta (1987); Hellenistic and Roman Sparta: a tale of two cities (1989); Democritus and Atomistic Politics (1998); and Ancient Greek Political Thought In Practice (2009).

His books on Spartan tactics and ethos are now even official reading for the US Marines. His books include: The Greeks - A Portrait of Self and Others (1993); The Cambridge Illustrated History of Ancient Greece (1997) in 1998 this book won John D. Criticos Prize of London Hellenic Society, 1998; The Spartans: An Epic History (2002); Alexander the Great: The Hunt for a New Past (2004; Ancient Greece: A History in Eleven Cities (2009); Ancient Greece: A Very Short Introduction (2011) and Democracy: A Life (2016). He is also editor of a new Cambridge series on Archaic Greece, and co-author of the first planned volume on Archaic Sparta, and co-editor of The Cambridge World History of Slavery: The ancient Mediterranean world (2011). He is also the advisory editor to three learned journals.

He is an Honorary Citizen of (modern) Sparta, and holds the Gold Cross of the Order of Honour awarded by the President of the Hellenic Republic. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, and of the Royal Society of Arts.

He is also an Honorary Patron of the charity Classics For All, a national charity which provides funding for state schools to support the introduction of Latin and other Classical subjects into their curriculum. One the schools currently benefiting from this programme is Coventry’s Sidney Stringer Academy in Coventry, which is acting as a local ‘hub’ for Classics in the region. The University of Warwick is supporting this initiative through the involvement of Michael Scott as director of the Sidney Stringer Classics hub, by inviting the school to take part in a Schools’ Classics Drama Day, and also in a Latin Inscriptions project.


Dr Don Eigler - Hon DSc (Honorary Doctor of Science)

Donald EiglerDr Don Eigler is a revolutionary physicist associated IBM Almaden Research Center - the first man to move individual atoms with a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) almost exactly 25 years ago. His work is at the very heart of nanotechnology and he continues to push the boundaries of Physics and Nanoscience. He was appointed an IBM Fellow in 1993 and retired from IBM in 2011

Don Eigler is described as a patient, methodical scientist who is happy getting his hands dirty, building his own equipment and components, and restoring cars as a hobby. It took him 18 months to build the low temperature, ultra high vacuum scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) that he used to claim his place in history as the first person ever to move and control a single atom. The enthusiasm with which he approached this work is recorded in his lab notebooks. After refining his method so that he could lift atoms off a surface rather than dragging them with the STM probe tip, he wrote in large bold letters: “I’m really having fun!!” and more famously he used the same technology to write the letters “IBM” in individual atoms of Xenon - an image that appeared on the front cover of almost every broadsheet newspaper in the western world when the image was realised in 1989.

He went on to further develop the low temperature STM technique, measuring spin states and moving and arranging molecules to form the smallest possible logic gates, the building blocks of all computer circuits. His imaging of electron wave patterns in his demonstrations of “quantum corrals” (which are well-defined quantum wave patterns of small numbers of atoms ) earned him the front covers of the journals Science, Physics Today and Nature, all within the space of a few months.

He has been recognised for his accomplishments with the award of numerous prestigious prizes, the most recent being the Kavli Prize in Nanoscience in 2011.

Christiana Figueres - Hon DSc (Honorary Doctor of Science)

Christiana FigueresMs. Figueres is an internationally recognized leader on global climate change. She was Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 2010-2016. Assuming responsibility for the international climate change negotiations after the failed Copenhagen conference of 2009, she was determined to lead the process to a universally agreed regulatory framework. Building toward that goal, she directed the successful Conferences of the Parties in Cancun 2010, Durban 2011, Doha 2012, Warsaw 2013, and Lima 2014, and culminated in the successful Paris Agreement of 2015.

She is currently the convener of Mission 2020, a global initiative that seeks to ensure the world bends the curve on greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 in order to protect the most vulnerable from the worst impacts of climate change and usher in an era of stability and prosperity. She is also: Vice Chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors, Climate Leader for the World Bank, a Distinguished Fellow of Conservation International, a board member of Climate Works and the World Resources Institute, a member of the Rockefeller Foundation Economic Council on Planetary Health, and member of the Leadership Council of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.

She began her life in public service as Minister Counselor at the Embassy of Costa Rica in Bonn, Germany in 1982. Moving to the USA, she was Director of Renewable Energy in the Americas (REIA) and in 1995 founded the non-profit Center for Sustainable Development of the Americas (CSDA), which she directed for eight years.

Her many awards include: Great Cross of the Order of Merit of Germany 1985; Legion of Honor of France 2015; Grand Medal of the City of Paris 2015; the National Guayacan Medal of Costa Rica 2016; Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau of The Netherlands 2016; the Ewald von Kleist Award from the Munich Security Conference 2015; Solar Champion Award from California's Vote Solar 2016; the British Renewable Energy Judges Award 2016 from the Renewable Energy Association; the Power with Purpose 2016 Award from Devex and McKinnsey 2016; the Joan Bavaria Award from CERES 2016; the CK Prahalad Award from the Corporate Eco Forum 2016; Global Leaders by the Talberg Foundation 2016; Manuel de Maria Peralta Prize International Law 2017.

In 2016 she was listed as one of the top 100 Time magazine Influential Leaders of the World, and in the same year Fortune Magazine ranked her seventh of the World's 50 Greatest Leaders.



Professor Shigefumi Mori - Hon DSc (Honorary Doctor of Science)

Shigefumi MoriProfessor Shigefume MORI was the 1990 Fields Medallist for his ground-breaking work on algebraic 3-folds (3-dimensional complex algebraic varieties). In the same year he was also awarded the Japanese cultural medal. He was director of the prestigious Kyoto University Research Institute for Mathematical Science and is currently president of the International Mathematical Union.

He was a visiting professor at: Harvard University 1977–1980, the Institute for Advanced Study in 1981–82, Columbia University 1985–87 and the University of Utah for periods during 1987–89 and again during 1991–92. He has been a professor at Kyoto University since 1990.

From the late 1970s Mori produced several ground-breaking innovations in algebraic geometry. These include a revolutionary new technique to prove the existence of rational curves on an algebraic manifold using deformation theory and reduction to characteristic p. The technique is called "bending-and-breaking"; it was first used to prove major conjectures in complex projective geometry and in compact Kähler geometry that characterise complex n-dimensional projective space by curvature conditions. Mori then extended this and other techniques, developing the cone of effective curves of a projective manifold as a surprising and powerful new invariant. The results surrounding his Theorem on the Cone and their Extremal Rays radically changed our outlook on higher dimensional projective manifold and included the first serious steps in the higher dimensional Minimal Model Program (now known as Mori theory or the Mori program).

His work and discoveries have become a cornerstone of research in higher dimensional geometry and theoretical physics.

Professor Daniel Levinthal - Hon DLitt (Honorary Doctor of Letters)

Daniel LevinthalProfessor Daniel Levinthal is the Reginald H. Jones Professor of Corporate Strategy in the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He has published extensively on questions of organizational adaptation and industry evolution, particularly in the context of technological change. He is a past winner of the Strategic Management Society’s Best Paper prize and, in addition to being a Fellow of the Strategic Management Society, he is a Fellow of the Academy of Management and has received the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Organization and Management Theory Division of the Academy.

He serves as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Strategy Science and has served as Editor-in-Chief, of Organization Science 2010-2013, and Editor of Industrial and Corporate Change, 2010-2015.

He has held visiting professorships at the Harvard Business School and the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies.
He is one of the world’s leading management scholars and has made a wide range of highly influential theoretical and empirical contributions to the field. He is a pioneer of the notion of “absorbtive capacity”---the ability of a firm to assimilate and apply external information---which has become a key concept in understanding why some firms innovate and flourish, while others do not. The original paper introducing this idea has more than 30,000 citations.

You can see an interview with him at this link:


Professor Pippa Norris - Hon LLD (Honorary Doctor of Laws)

Professor Norris is a comparative political scientist at Harvard where she teaches in the Kennedy School and the Government Department. She is also a Laureate Fellow and Professor of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney, the Paul McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and Director of the Electoral Integrity project.

Prior to joining Harvard in 1992, she taught at Edinburgh University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Politics and Philosophy from the University of Warwick University, and Masters and Doctoral degrees in Politics from LSE.

Her many awards and honours include: the 2016 Brown Medal for Democracy, APSA’s 2016 Academic Leadership in Political Science, IPSA’s 2014 Karl Deutsch award, the 2011 Johan Skytte prize in political science, with Ronald Inglehart, the ARC’s 2011 Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship, a PSA-UK special recognition award, the Doris A. Graber award for the best book in political communications (for A Virtuous Circle), and the Virginia Hodgkinson prize from the Independent Sector (for her book Sacred and Secular).

Her research compares public opinion and elections, democratic institutions and cultures, gender politics, and political communications in many countries worldwide. She is founding director of, established in 2012, and supported by the Australian Research Council and other funding agencies.


She has published almost fifty books including: Virtuous Circle:-Political Communications in Postindustrial Societies, Digital Divide: Civic Engagement, Information Poverty and the Internet Worldwide (2001); Democratic Phoenix: Political Activism Worldwide (2002); Rising Tide: Gender Equality and Cultural Change Around the Globe (with Ronald Inglehart, 2003); Electoral Engineering: Voting Rules and Political Behavior (2004); Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide (with Ronald Inglehart, 2004; Radical Right: Voters and Parties in the Electoral Market (2005); Driving Democracy: Do power-sharing institutions work? (2008) and Cosmopolitan Communications: Cultural Diversity in a Globalizing World (2009, with Ronald Inglehart), Democratic Deficit: Critical Citizens Revisited (2011), and Making Democratic Governance Work: The Impact of Regimes on Prosperity, Welfare and Peace (2012), Why Electoral Integrity Matters (2014), and Why Elections Fail (2015). Forthcoming books include Strengthening Electoral Integrity: The Pragmatic Case for Assistance (CUP 2017) and Election Watchdogs (OUP 2017) and she has edited or co-authored many other books

She has been elected to executive councils for the American Political Science Association (APSA), the International Political Science Association (IPSA), the Political Science Association of the UK (PSA), and the World Values Survey Association. Within APSA, she has been president of the Women and Politics Research Section and the Political Communications Section, the Vice-President and President of the Elections, Public Opinion and Voting Behavior section, and the executive of the British Politics Group and the Representation and Elections Section. She has also been Co-Founding Chair of the Elections, Parties, and Public Opinion Group (EPOP) of the PSA and IPSA’s Elections, Citizens and Parties Research Committee.

She has served as the Director of the Democratic Governance Group at the United Nations Development Program in New York and as an expert consultant for many international bodies including the UN, UNDP, UNESCO, UN Women, NDI, the Council of Europe, IFES, International IDEA, the OSCE, the World Bank, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the UK Electoral Commission.


Professor Dame Bridget Ogilvie - Hon DSc (Honorary Doctor of Science)

After growing up on a sheep farm in Australia, Dame Bridget Ogilvie completed her first degree in rural and agricultural science (BRurSc) from the University of New England in Australia in 1960. She was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to attend Girton College, Cambridge, where she earned a PhD for her work on parasite immunology.

For 17 years she was a member of the staff in the Parasitology department at the Medical Research Council's National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR). In those years, she undertook research on the immune response to parasitic infections. She travelled widely in both the developed world and the tropics in pursuit of her research interests and as an advisor for bodies such as the World Health Organisation. From 1985 to 1991, she was a Visiting Professor at the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London.

She joined the staff of the Wellcome Trust in 1979 initially as coordinator of its tropical medicine programme, whilst still running her research group at the NIMR. In 1981 she joined the staff on a full-time basis as Deputy Secretary and Assistant Director. She was promoted to Deputy Director (Science) in 1984 and then to Director (Science Programmes) in 1989, with responsibility for the science funding activities of the Trust overall. At that time she also took a particular interest in schemes for the career development of scientists and medical graduates, and in the veterinary programme of the Trust. In October 1991, she was appointed Director (Chief Executive) of the Trust and retired from this position at the end of June, 1998.

Following her retirement from the staff of The Wellcome Trust, she has held a number of non executive posts in science and education. She is a Trustee of Cancer Research UK, until October 2007 Chairman of the Association of Medical Research Charities, and of the Lister Institute for Preventive Medicine.

In 1994 she won the Kilgerran Prize of the Foundation for Science & Technology. She was made Dame of the British Empire in the 1996 New Year Honours List, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2003. In 2007 she was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), Australia's highest civilian honour, with the citation: "For service to science in the field of biomedical research, particularly related to veterinary and medical parasitology, and through support for research funding to improve global health”.

Dame Bridget Ogilvie discussed her life and illustrious career, at The Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics' Women in Science series which you can see at this video link:


Larry Sullivan - Hon LLD (Honorary Doctor of Laws)

Larry SullivanLarry Sullivan is Chairman and co-founder of Construction Industry Solutions (COINS) a company which has has provided business software and services to the construction, engineering, home building and service sectors for more than 30 years. He is also co-founder of five other software houses around the world including Total Objects, and OASIS Solutions, where he is also Chairman.

In 2004 Larry also funded and established the not for profit Stepping Stones, a school that “makes provision for children who have acquired processing delays due to: acute or chronic medical conditions, hemiplegia or mild cerbral palsy; those whose mental and/or emotional health is at risk due to direct or indirect trauma; and those whose mild autism creates learning needs.”.

In 2008 he established the COINS Foundation - a not for profit organisation of the COINS group. The first COINS social enterprise, the Cookie Bar, - was established in 2011.

The Foundation now supports a range of other projects including “Habitat for Humanity” which aims to break the cycle of poverty by eliminating poverty housing and homelessness. Their vision is for a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live and it helps transform lives in over 70 countries by building safe homes.

COINS Foundation supports a wide range of social initiatives to influence future generations to think differently about poverty, disability and injustice. The projects that COINS supports are wide in scope, yet all share a key theme of sustainability. Whether supporting low-income families to build decent affordable housing via microfinance programmes in Uganda, building sustainable schools in Uganda and Zambia or supporting young disabled people in the UK to engage creatively with the arts, all programmes are sustainable and encourage greater independence.

Larry’s other past directorships include CSBI SA (Poland), Computerland Poland, CSBI EE (Russia), CSB Meridian, and Matrix Ventures, a venture capital trust.



For further information please contact:

Peter Dunn, Director of Press and Policy, University of Warwick
Tel UK 024 76523708 office 07767 655860 mobile
Tel overseas: +44 (0)24 76523708 office +44 (0)7767 655860 mobile/cell


PR451 13th April 2017