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Mentoring skills earn Imperial academic a lifetime achievement award

External Sites:
-Nature website
-NESTA web site
(Imperial College is not responsible for the content of these external internet sites)

23 March 2005

A prestigious lifetime achievement award for mentoring has been won by Emeritus Professor Tom Kibble, Department of Physics.

Emeritus Professor Tom Kibble

Praised for fostering students' confidence, being approachable, and having the ability to listen and give constructive opinion, Professor Kibble collected the inaugural Nature/NESTA prize for mentoring during a ceremony at the Science Museum on Thursday 17 March.

Tom Kibble (right) receives his award
from Nature editor-in-chief Philip Campbell

"I was surprised and very honoured to be chosen for this award, said Professor Kibble, 73. "I never imagined that I had any special approach to mentoring worthy of note, but it is very gratifying to learn that so many of my former students and colleagues appreciated my efforts."

"I owe a great debt to my own mentors, in particular Abdus Salam and Paul Matthews, who led the Theoretical Physics Group in its early years. I have been fortunate to have had some outstanding students and collaborators. They may have learned something from me, but I often learned as much from them, especially in my eight years as Head of Department."

Professor Kibble's career at Imperial began 46 years ago.Born in 1932, he joined Physics as a Nato Fellow in 1959, became Professor of Theoretical Physics in 1970 and from 1983 to 1991 he was head of the department. He received the CBE in 1998 in recognition of his services to Physics. Professor Kibble's research interests are in quantum field theory, especially the interface between high-energy particle physics and cosmology.

Professor Robin Smith, Acting Head of the Department of Physics said:

"Everyone in physical sciences at Imperial is delighted that Tom Kibble has been awarded the first Nature/NESTA lifetime award for mentoring. Many of his students have gone on to leadership positions around the world. He has encouraged and supported many female scientists in establishing their careers"

"Tom is the doyen of theoretical physics at Imperial and has been an inspiration to all of us. We all have tremendous respect for his kindness and his wisdom."

The mentoring prize was awarded by Nature together with the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) after they set out to find examples of outstandingly good management in UK laboratories - in particular laboratory heads who have empowered their students.