Royal Gold Medals for outstanding achievement
The achievements of two individuals whose work has brought about benefits on aninternational scale have received Royal recognition. Royal Medals were presented by TheRoyal Society of Edinburgh’s President, Professor Sir Michael Atiyah to GlobalPharmaceutical drug pioneer, Sir David Jack CBE FRS FRSE and to one of the World’sleading Mathematicians, Professor Sir John Ball FRS FRSE at a ceremony held in TheRoyal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) last night, Monday 3 July 2006. The Medallists have beenapproved by the RSE’s Patron, Her Majesty The Queen and were recommended by theRSE’s Council, in recognition of intel ectual endeavour which has had a profound influenceon people’s lives, world-wide. Prestigious gold medals, designed and produced in Scotland,were presented to the Medallists.
President of The Royal Society of Edinburgh, Sir Michael Atiyah said:
In their respective fields of Mathematics and Pharmaceutical Research andDevelopment, the Royal Medallists have excelled. Sir David Jack is one of theworld’s most successful inventors of significant new medicines that have saved ortransformed many lives. One of the world’s most prominent mathematicians, SirJohn Ball’s theories and methods are playing an important role in the interdisciplinaryendeavour to understand matter at many different scales. Recognising andcelebrating excellence for public benefit, The Royal Medals capture the spirit of theRSE’s Royal Charter of 1783, ‘to promote the advancement of learning and usefulknowledge’. To Sir John and Sir David, I offer my sincere congratulations
The Royal Medallists
Professor Sir John Ball FRS FRSE
, Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, for his
outstanding contributions to applied mathematics and his public service to the international
Sir John is widely regarded as one of the most prominent mathematicians in the world in thebroad area of nonlinear analysis and mechanics. Sir John’s scientific work is distinguishedby highly original and profound contributions to calculus of variations, nonlinear partialdifferential equations, nonlinear elasticity and material sciences.
In 1969 Sir John Ball received an Honours degree in Mathematics from the University ofCambridge and fol owed this with a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University ofSussex. He started lecturing in mathematics at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh in 1972
and worked his way up the academic ladder to Professor of Applied Analysis at Heriot-WattUniversity in 1982. He is now an Honorary Professor at Heriot-Watt and is based at theUniversity of Oxford where he is Sedleian Professor of Natural Philosophy and Fellow of TheQueen’s College.
Nonlinear elasticity is the central model for the behaviour of solid objects such asengineering structures or the response of thin films to various forces. In 1977 Professor Baldeveloped a rich set of tools and concepts for studying these models. This pioneeringresearch has had a huge influence not only on nonlinear elasticity, but also nonlinear partialdifferential equations and the calculus of variations.
The behaviour of materials is often determined by a microscopic structure which is invisibleto the naked eye. Understanding and controlling this microstructure is at the heart ofdesigning new materials (smart materials). Professor Bal proposed a new theory for thisbased on minimization of an ill-posed problem. Although the mathematical difficulties wereformidable, he was able to overcome them by using sophisticated techniques (weakconvergence, Young measures, quasiconvexity) for passing from microscales tomacroscales. The predicted microstructure morphology made by his theory is in excellentagreement with experiment. His theory and methods are now playing an important role inthe interdisciplinary endeavour to understand matter at many different scales.
Sir John’s achievements and reputation at Heriot-Watt University helped him attract topquality international researchers to that institution, even when the mathematics departmentwas in its infancy. He has established strong mathematical schools at both Heriot-Watt andOxford Universities. Sir John has also received Visiting Professorships in a wide range ofinternational institutions, for example, at the University of California, Université Pierre etMarie Curie in Paris, University of Minnesota, the Institute for Advanced Studies atPrinceton, the University of Crete, the Tata Institute for Fundamental Research Bangaloreand the Université Montpelier II. Through his time spent at these institutions he has been anenthusiastic ambassador for UK mathematics, particularly applied mathematics.
Sir John’s scientific work is only part of his professional activities, his other role is inorganising, managing and promoting mathematics. He was one of the founders of theInternational Centre for Mathematical Sciences (ICMS) in Edinburgh in 1990. Hisorganisational and motivational skills are of world renown and he serves as manager andconsultant to many international organisations. He is currently President of the InternationalMathematical Union, the controlling body of world mathematics. In 2005 Professor Bal ’swork was recognised when he received a knighthood.
It is for Sir John’s outstanding contribution to mathematics, and in particular for raising theinternational profile of UK mathematics, that he is awarded a Royal Society of EdinburghRoyal Medal.
Sir David Jack CBE FRS FRSE
, formerly Research and Development Director, Glaxo
Holdings London, for his outstanding contribution to the pharmaceutical industry and his
untiring work and contributions to scientific organisations concerned with drug design and
Sir David is one of the world’s most successful inventors of significant new medicines.
Sir David graduated from Glasgow University in 1948, a Bachelor of Science with first classhonours in Pharmacy and Pharmacology. For one year he was an assistant lecturer inpharmacology in the Materia Medica Department of the Medical School, after which he wasrequired to attend a period of National Service for two years. He then abandonedexperimental pharmacology and worked for two years as a pharmacist in the Glaxo
Research Division in Greenford. He learned much that would be useful in his subsequentyears but the work was dull and repetitive. He therefore moved to Smith Kline and FrenchLtd where he was responsible for chemistry and pharmacy. In 1960, he successfullysubmitted a PhD Thesis in Chemistry to London University.
In 1961, Sir David’s work then turned to drug discovery as Research Director of Al en &Hanbury Ltd, a subsidiary of Glaxo Group. He started in Ware with 130 laboratory staff.
When he retired in 1987, he was Director of Research and Development of Glaxo HoldingsPlc with a world wide staff of 3,000. Glaxo had become one of the pharmaceutical giants.
The first major invention of the Ware team was salbutamol, the first highly selective В2-adrenoceptor stimulant which is very much more active on bronchial muscle than on heartmuscle. It is the active ingredient of Ventolin Inhaler which delivers 100 microgrammedoses. One or two puffs provide near-maximal bronchodilatation for about 3 to 4 hours withminimal side effects. Ventolin Inhaler, soon the most prescribed bronchodilator in the world,gained a Queen’s Award for Technological Achievement in 1973.
Sir David’s team went on to win another Queen’s Award in 1975 for the Becotide Inhalerwhich contains beclomethasone dipropionate, a potent topical anti-inflammatory steroid.
This inhaler used in conjunction with salbutamol was an important step forward in thetreatment of asthma.
The Glaxo Allenbury’s team went on to win three more Queen’s Awards. In 1985 theyreceived the award for ranitidine (“Zantac”), a potent inhibitor of gastric secretion which isused to prevent and heal peptic ulcers. By 1991 Zantac was the best selling pharmaceuticalproduct in the world.
In 1994, Ondansetron (“Zofran”), a new kind of 5-hydroxytryptamine antagonist used tocontrol vomiting during cancer chemotherapy was also the subject of a Queen’s Award.
Another Queen’s Award fol owed in 1996 for sumatriptan (“Imigran”) which controls attacksof migraine by mimicking the action of 5-hydroxytryptamine on cerebral blood vessels.
David Jack’s efforts were largely instrumental in converting Glaxo into one of the mostsuccessful pharmaceutical companies in the world. The immense competence, drive andenthusiasm of one scientist together with his ability to acquire a sound team of assistantshas led to the production of seven new and successful medicines (salbutamol, salmeterol,beclomethasone dipropionate, fluticasone propionate, ranitidine, ondansetron andsumatriptan) is outstanding and unique. Sir David’s work has improved the quality of life andin some cases saved the lives of millions of people throughout the world. It is for thisoutstanding achievement that he is being awarded a Royal Society of Edinburgh RoyalMedal.
The Royal Society of Edinburgh
The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) is an educational charity, registered inScotland. Independent and non-party-political, we are working to providePublic benefit throughout Scotland and by means of a growing internationalProgramme. The RSE has a peer-elected, multidisciplinary Fellowship of 1400Men and women who are experts within their fields. We seek to provide publicbenefit in today’s Scotland by:
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importance♦ Providing educational activities for primary and secondary school studentsthroughout Scotland♦ Distributing over £1.7 million to top researchers and entrepreneurs workingin Scotland♦ Showcasing the best of Scotland’s research and development capabilities tothe rest of the World♦ Facilitating Scotland’s international collaboration in research and enterprise♦ Awarding prizes and medals
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