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Three ECS Professors featured among the UK's top 100 scientists

Three Professors from the School of Electronics and Computer Science feature in the list of ‘100 most important figures in British Science’ published in today’s (Thursday 7 October) Times newspaper.

Professor Dame Wendy Hall, featured at no. 26, is one of only five women in the top 30. Eureka says of her: ‘When in 1977 Wendy Hall went for a job interview after completing her PhD, she was turned down because she was a woman. Big mistake. A pioneer of hypermedia and computer science, she has since published 414 papers, sat on the Council for Science and Technology and been appointed a dame. [She] has also helped to set up the Web Science Trust, which looks at the impact of the internet. She continues to fight for women in science.’

Professor Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, and Director of the World Wide Web Consortium, was appointed a Professor of Computer Science in ECS in 2004. He is also Professor of Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Eureka says of him: ‘The creation of an early forebear of the World Wide Web …may have been Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s first important achievement, but his insistence that such a system should be free and open to all was revolutionary.’ Both Sir Tim and Dame Wendy are Founder Directors of the Web Science Trust.

Professor David Payne, Director of the Optoelectronics Research Centre, has carried out world-leading research at the University of Southampton for over 40 years. Eureka says: ‘Professor Payne’s research on the amplification of light revolutionised modern telecommunications and enabled information to flow across the world. Today his work is critical in improving broadband speed.’

The Eureka list aims to identify the most important and interesting people in British science, ‘those pushing back the boundaries of scientific understanding, transforming our lives through innovation and changing our attitudes to science, each other and the world’, writes The Times Editor, James Harding. It covers researchers, inventors, engineers, communicators, policymakers and practitioners.

He adds: ‘…our aim has been to produce a list in keeping with the spirit of this magazine – in awe of science, fascinated by the future and convinced that our best hope of answering the problems of life on Earth lies in human ingenuity.’

All three Southampton professors in the list are members of the new Faculty of Physical and Applied Sciences, of which Dame Wendy is Dean.

Dame Wendy said: ‘I'm just thrilled to be in such an eminent list. It is great to have the spotlight put on science in this way.

‘It's wonderful to see our new Faculty’s achievements highlighted so prominently in a list of the best in British science, and a great tribute to the support for research and scientific endeavour at the University of Southampton.’

Posted by Joyce Lewis on 07 Oct 2010.