Professor Steve Simpson elected a Fellow of the Royal Society
3 May 2013
Professor Steve Simpson, from the School of Biological Sciences and Director of the University's Charles Perkins Centre, has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society, announced in London on 3 May 2013.
The Royal Society is the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence and its Fellowship includes the world's most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists from the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, including more than 80 Nobel Laureates.
Fellows are elected for life through a peer review process on the basis of excellence in science. Professor Simpson was one of the 44 new Fellows elected in 2013 from a group of over 700 candidates proposed by the existing Fellowship.
"Being made a Fellow of the Royal Society is among the highest aspirations of any scientist, and being elected from overseas is especially difficult, so this for me is hugely thrilling. Very many outstanding scientists never manage to gain election, so there is a touch of good fortune involved as well," said Professor Simpson.
He joins eminent current Fellows of the Royal Society including Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking, Harry Kroto, Tim Berners-Lee, Paul Nurse and John Sulston.
Professor Simpson will attend the formal admission of new Fellows event on 12 July at the Royal Society in London, plus present on his research at the New Fellows Seminar on 10 and 11 July.
"The Admission Day ceremony in July culminates in signing the parchment book of Fellows using a quill pen. Apparently there are lessons given and plenty of blotting paper provided - I would hate to blot out Newton, Darwin or Einstein's signature thanks to faulty penmanship!" said Professor Simpson.
Professor Simpson is an international leader in his fields of multidisciplinary nutritional research and locust swarming, with his work revolutionising our understanding of the dietary causes of human obesity and ageing. His research began with a fundamental question: why and how do locusts swarm? In pursuing this question he has engaged with researchers across many disciplines and across the globe. He has created new and general biological paradigms that inform our thinking on important topics, such as managing human nutrition and obesity, ageing, and how ecosystems function.
In making him a Fellow, the Royal Society acknowledged that Professor Simpson's 'seminal work on locust swarming has provided a unifying framework, ranging from chemical events in nervous systems of individual insects to mass migration, using techniques from molecular biology, population genetics, neurophysiology, biochemistry, behaviour, biomathematics, statistical physics, computer science, engineering, robotics, evolutionary theory and landscape ecology. His work on nutrition has spanned slime moulds to humans, and has found significant practical applications in aquaculture, conservation biology, nutritional ecology, gerontology, immunity and human metabolic disease.'
"At the New Fellows Seminar, each new Fellow presents their work in fifteen minutes. This is a relatively new initiative, which originated from the Australian Academy of Science - I well remember giving that lecture when I was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. It is a real challenge to encapsulate a lifetime's work in fifteen minutes - every word counts," said Professor Simpson.
Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, said: "Science helps us to better understand ourselves and the natural world around us and has a huge role to play in future economic prosperity and the health of our planet and its 7 billion people. In the coming decades we are going to find ourselves more and more dependent on the solutions science can offer to grand challenges such as food shortages, climate change and tackling disease.
"These scientists who have been elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society have already contributed much to the scientific endeavour following in the footsteps of pioneers such as Newton, Darwin and Einstein and it gives me great pleasure to welcome them into our ranks," said Sir Paul Nurse.
Read about all the Fellows elected in 2013 to the Royal Society at: http://royalsociety.org/news/2013/new-Fellows-2013/
Contact: Katynna Gill
Phone: 02 9351 6997