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New Imperial Fellows of the Royal Society announced today


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Friday 27 May 2005
BY ABIGAIL SMITH

A biochemist and a computer scientist at Imperial are among the 44 new Fellows of the Royal Society announced today.

image: Jim Barber

Jim Barber, left, Ernst Chain Professor of Biochemistry and head of the photosynthesis research group in the Department of Biological Sciences, is elected to the UK's national academy of science and is permitted to place the letters FRS after his name.

Also elected is Luca Cardelli, a Visiting Professor in the Department of Computing, bringing the total number of Fellows at Imperial to 59.

Professor Jim Barber, 65, is a leading expert on photosynthesis research, noted in particular for revealing at extremely high resolution the structure of photosystem II, the molecular reaction centre that plants use to split water into hydrogen and oxygen atoms.

He said: "I feel very honoured to be elected to a Fellowship of the Royal Society. It is a reflection of the many excellent colleagues and students who have worked with me during my 37 years at Imperial and to whom I am deeply indebted."

Professor Barber joined Imperial in 1968, becoming a reader in 1974 and achieving promotion to full professorship five years later. He was head of the Biochemistry Department for ten years and has published over 300 research papers and reviews in the field of plant biochemistry. In 2002 his work was recognised by the Royal Society of Chemistry with the prestigious Flintoff Medal.

Professor Luca Cardelli, 44, is recognised for his innovative work on the theory and implementation of programming languages which extends to mathematical modelling of interactive and mobile systems.

He is currently assistant director of Microsoft Research Cambridge, working within the Programming Principles and Tools Groups in the areas of programming languages and security.

Renowned for his knowledge of programming languages, he implemented the first compiler for ML, the most popular typed functional language. He was a member of the design committee of the programming language Modula-3, and created experimental languages including Obliq and Polyphonic C#.

Also admitted to the Fellowship is Dr Julian Downward, principal scientist at Cancer Research UK London Research Institute, an alumnus of Imperial who completed his biochemistry PhD at the College in 1986.

Fellowships are given to distinguished scientists by the Royal Society in recognition of 'contributions to science, both in fundamental research resulting in greater understanding, and also in leading and directing scientific and technological progress in industry and research establishments'.

In addition to Fellows, the Royal Society recognises scientific excellence outside the Commonwealth and Ireland by electing Foreign Members.

Among the six announced this year is Professor Hartmut Michel, Director of the Department of Molecular Membrane Biology at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry, Germany, who is a Visiting Professor in Imperial's Department of Biological Sciences. Professor Michel was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1988.

A full list of new Fellows and Foreign Members for 2005 is at www.royalsoc.ac.uk/page.asp?tip=1&id=2217

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