The Royal Society is a Fellowship of many of the world's most eminent scientists and is the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence. Fifty new Fellows and ten new Foreign Members have been announ today. This includes six academics from MPLS departments.
Professor Steven Balbus is Savilian Professor of Astronomy and Head of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford. Steven Balbus is distinguished for studies of astrophysical fluids. He demonstrated that a seed magnetic field in a rotating, conducting fluid makes the flow turbulent, thus solving the old puzzle of how accretion discs work. He showed that when the magnetic Prandtl number is near unity, an accretion disc can enter a limit cycle in which periods of high and low viscosity alternate, as in compact X-ray sources. He showed that restriction of heat conduction to magnetic field lines creates buoyant instabilities. Using 'residual entropy' he gained insight into the Sun's convective zone and analytic fits to the results of helioseismology.
Professor Martin Bridson is Whitehead Professor of Pure Mathematics and Head of the Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford. Martin Bridson has played a leading role in establishing Geometric Group Theory as a major field. He was an ICM Speaker (2006) and Abel Lecturer (2009). His monograph with Haefliger is the authoritative text on spaces of non-positive curvature. By developing numerous geometric techniques, Bridson provided deep insights into the nature of the word problem for finitely presented groups. Following his profound study of non-positive curvature in group theory, he solved (with Grunewald) Grothendieck's problems concerning profinite completions and representations of groups. He has proved remarkable structure theorems for residually-free groups.
Professor Bill David is Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford. Bill David is distinguished as a leader in the experimental, computational and theoretical development of neutron and X-ray powder diffraction techniques, and has made substantial contributions across a broad range of materials research from lithium batteries and high-temperature superconductors to fullerenes and pharmaceutical compounds. He has pioneered the field of time-of-flight neutron powder diffraction and is a key figure in establishing powder diffraction as a routine technique for the structure determination of molecular compounds. His materials research focuses on low-carbon chemical energy storage with the discovery of new hydrogen storage systems and the development of ammonia as an energy vector.
Professor Marcus du Sautoy is Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. Marcus du Sautoy is distinguished both as one of science’s most successful ambassadors, communicating the importance, excitement and relevance of both mathematics and science to the general public, both in the UK and worldwide, and for his outstanding research straddling many different areas of mathematics: group theory, number theory, model theory, algebraic geometry. His public engagement work has involved best-selling books, extensive TV, radio and personal appearances worldwide, writing and acting in a mathematical play, children's literature, gaming and charitable work. Among other achievements, his research has completely transformed the study of zeta functions of groups, revealing hidden depths and unexpected applications.
Professor Artur Ekert is Professor of Quantum Physics at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford. Artur Ekert is one of the pioneers of quantum information science. His invention of entanglement-based quantum cryptography a quarter of a century ago triggered an explosion of research efforts worldwide and continues to inspire new research directions. As well as making the celebrated discovery that Bell's inequalities can be used to test for eavesdropping, he has contributed to many of the most important advances in the foundations and experimental realisations of quantum communication and computation. He has played a leading role in transforming the field of quantum information science from a niche academic activity into a vibrant interdisciplinary field.
Professor Gil McVean is Professor of Statistical Genetics and Director of the Big Data Institute, Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Information and Discovery at the University of Oxford. Gil McVean is distinguished for research into the nature and causes of molecular genetic variation. He developed a sophisticated, and now widely-used, statistical method for estimating fine-scale recombination rates from data documenting genetic variation. McVean produced the first fine-scale genetic maps of the human genome, and with collaborators identified a DNA sequence motif associated with hotspots (the first in any species) and the gene binding the motif. He has made substantial contributions to coalescent theory, and to our understanding of mutation and natural selection, and played a central role in the HapMap and 1,000 Genomes projects.