Smattering of science in Queen's honours list

By Peter Griffin 07/06/2010

There were not too many scientists named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. It would always have been hard to top last year, when two of our top scientists, Professor Peter Gluckman and Professor Paul Callaghan were knighted following the reintroduction of knighthoods and dameships.

Here are the scientists and medical researchers I identified on the list – let me know if I’veleft anyone out!

Dr Helen Anderson (Queen’s Service Order – Companion)

The most high profile is probably that of Dr Helen Anderson, the former chief executive of the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology, who recently stepped down from the role she had held since 2003. Dr Anderson was recently made a Companion of the Royal Society of New Zealand.Dr Anderson recently joined the board of DairyNZ.

Dr Hylton Legrice OBE (Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit)

A distinguished ophthamologist and businessman who was given the honour of Officer of the British Empire in 1996. From Dr Legrice’s bio on the University of Auckland website:

After spending his intern years in Auckland he attended the Royal College of Surgeons of England, in London. Passing the Part One Fellowship examination, he was appointed Registrar at the Croydon Eye Unit in London where over a three year period he achieved comprehensive surgical experience under the tutelage of one of the pioneers of microsurgery of the eye, Dermot Pierse. Dr. LeGrice then spent the next three years as Senior Registrar at Moorfields Eye Hospital City Road, London and passed his Final FRCS examination soon after taking up this post. He was ultimately appointed Senior Resident Surgeon where he was in charge of the Senior Registrar establishment at Moorfields City Road.

On returning home he took up the post as a part-time Visiting Specialist Surgeon to Auckland Hospital, as well as setting up in 1968 his own private consulting practice in Remuera. In 1970 he was appointed as Foundation Clinical Lecturer and soon after, as Foundation Clinical Reader in Ophthalmology at the Auckland School of Medicine. As a solo figure, without even clerical assistance, he established, and then conducted the first undergraduate teaching programme in Ophthalmology in Auckland. Dr. LeGrice continued in this teaching post for the next thirteen years until Dr. Gillian Clover was appointed full-time lecturer in 1983 and ultimately became Associate Professor.

Professor Terry Healy (Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit)

The one person the list honours for “service to science” is the University of Waikato’s Professor Terry Healy. aResearch Professor in the Earth and Ocean Sciences department at the University of Waikato.

From Professor Healy’s bio: Professor Healy’s teaching interests lie primarily in the field of applied coastal sedimentation processes, particularly relating to dredging impacts and dredge spoil monitoring, muddy depositional processes, and extend to the wider fields of coastal engineering; coastal hazards, planning and conservation; coastal oceanography, marine geology, and climate change.

Since the early 1980s at University of Waikato Professor Healy has lead the development and offering of a strong coastal earth sciences undergraduate programme and at M.Sc. level a full specialty programme in Coastal Marine Science.

Associate Professor Philip Charles Morris Yock (Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit)

Professor Yock, an astrophysicist at the University of Auckland,  is honoured for services to astronomy. His research interests include: unified gauge theories, deep inelastic scattering at high Q2, unbroken symmetry, gamma-gamma interaction, plasma Wakefield acceleration, gravitational lensing, extrasolar planets, stellar atmospheres, dark matter, MOA, gamma ray bursts and Antarctic astronomy.

His recent publications are listed on the University of Auckland website.

0 Responses to “Smattering of science in Queen's honours list”

  • The inclusion of the scientifically incompetent Jeanette Fitzsimons, on the other hand, is an insult to scientists.

  • While her lack of science knowledge is frustrating at times, Jeanette Fitzsimons still deserves her award for her other achievements.
    As a scientist I am NOT insulted by her receiving an award.

  • But doesn’t it depend on what she received the honour for? (I’m embarassed to say that I can’t remember actually reading the news release…) I would hazard a guess that others receiving awards might be described as ‘scientifically incompetent’, but they didn’t receive their awards for their scientific acumen.

  • I mean, ‘others’ being awardees in fields outside science (blush)

  • We shouldn’t be celebrating people who choose to be wilfully ignorant, or scaremongers. She is definitely one or the other, or both.

  • Some of the awardees for their charity work may be deeply religious and therefore may not believe in evolution. Are you saying that they should not receive their awards because they are “willfully ignorant”?
    Looking at it another way, would it be appropriate for someone not to be awarded a scientific prize because they cannot run a sub-4 minute mile?
    Even some of those who have been awarded the Nobel prize, arguably the most pre-eminent scientific award, have come out with some terribly anti-scientific statements when speaking outside of their fields, e.g.Kary Mullis.

  • I should have added this earlier, but Sciblogs reader Tony Robinson got in touch to point out the following: “Just thought I’d mention that Tony Whittaker also got a gong in the weekend. He’s a herpetologist with a long record of publications and reports on protection of NZ lizards. Whit is ex Ecology Dvn of DSIR and has lived in Golden Bay for several decades.” So another scientist honoured, thanks for the heads-up Tony (on the other Tony’s award!)