Thursday, 5 October 2017

Edinburgh Nobel Prize wiiners part 2

Today I was going to write on Mrs May's problems but on switching on radio 4 this morning I heard that Richard Henderson had won the Nobel prize for chemistry. Richard and I were in the same classes for Physics, Maths and Mathematical Physics for 4 years  The first year Maths Physics course was taught by Peter Higgs. I wrote about Peter Higgs in my blog of 9/10/2013 and described how his firsr year, first term exam was the most difficult exam I ever sat and I scored 20%. I also wrote that the top mark was 32%. That was Richard Henderson. He then went to Cambridge where at the UK funded MRC unit he did his prize winning work..

The one thing Mrs May mentioned between coughs and pointing out hoe the number of British Nobel prize winners exceeded France & Germany put together was that Richard  Henderson had just won the Chemistry prize. well at least her team got that right!

I was absolutely delighted for Richard. The Royal Society had two years earlier awarded him the Copley medal the Society's highest award given to Humphrey Davy, Michael Faraday, Dorothy Hodgkin and many other historic figures of British Science. We surpass the EU in Science and once free of their shackles we will surpass the EU in many other fields of human endeavour.


Stephen Harness said...

The list of UK discoveries and inventions is remarkable. We are good at innovation but poor generally poor on making a success of the idea. Graphene is a perfect example. Dyson does a lot of the development here but manufactures overseas. Today Cummins Generator Technologies announced a factory closure in Stamford but a creation of 150 jobs in research in Stamford. It looks like Romania will receive investment and jobs.

Blind stoat said...

Absolutely spot on Mr Harness. We have abundant home-grown talent in our schools and universities, but we invariably fail to connect talent with capital. Indeed, the ability of this country to provide financial support for early stage companies, in both tech and pharma, frequently borders on the farcical. We need to bring about a friction-free environment whereby those that need it, can access capital, at an acceptable price. That is what the US (and the Israelis) do so much better than us. Winning Nobel prizes is pointless if we cannot translate that talent into economic growth.

Eric Edmond said...

I agree with you both. Germany accords high social status to engineers. We do not. We accord high status to thespians, lawyers, artists , writers, civil servants. Engineers create jobs for the less talented. Lawyers etc do not. Not surprising therefore we have such poor productivity. How many British ambassadors have an engineering degree?

Stephen Harness said...

During the crash of 2008 when Gordon Brown was busy saving the banks that he failed to supervise, Germany were putting their industry into mothballs ready for the recession to lift. During this time a great deal of UK industry and commerce went out of business. By 2010 just 10% of the UK GDP was manufacturing. I think it has recovered somewhat but there is much to do. Our stock market does not help as UL PLC is for sale to the highest bidder.