Following in the footsteps of the scientific community’s greatest minds, two UCSB professors were recently inducted into to Britain’s Royal Society in honor of their outstanding contributions to their fields.
The Royal Society is currently comprised of 1,300 of the world’s most influential minds in the fields of mathematics, engineering science and medical science and has boasted some of the world’s most influential scientists, such as Albert Einstein. Craig Hawker, chemistry professor and director of the Materials Research Laboratory, and Michael Goodchild, geography professor and director of the Center for Spatial Studies, are among seven scholars chosen to join the society this year.
The new Fellows will be officially accepted into the Society on July 16 during an induction ceremony at the Society’s London headquarters.
Hawker, who also teaches biochemistry and materials courses at UCSB, said he was thrilled to be elected to the prestigious association, especially considering that it is rare for two candidates to be elected from the same university.
“To be honored by a fellowship in the world’s oldest scientific society which is celebrating its 350th anniversary and includes greats such as Newton and Darwin is a humbling experience,” he said.
Goodchild was elected as a Foreign Member of the Society and said he is especially appreciative of the honor due to his British roots.
“I am originally from Britain and I know what this means, and it’s huge,” Goodchild said. “I have difficulty explaining it to people without a British background. This is a great thing for me and a great thing for geography.”
Additionally, Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Paul Desruisseaux said new members will have the opportunity to sign their names in a book that was previously signed by some of the most renowned scientific figures in history.
“New members officially sign the Royal Society’s ‘Charter Book’ — where prominent scientists elected before them have signed their names, including Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Ernest Rutherford, Albert Einstein, among many others,” Desruisseaux said.
According to Hawkins, the assurance garnered from his admittance to the Society will positively influence his research.
“The election gives me greater confidence to attack some grand challenges in the polymeric materials arena with my stellar group,” Hawkins said.
Furthermore, Goodchild said he hopes his students recognize the importance of the Royal Society and use the knowledge as motivation to excel academically.
“I think it is tremendously important for my students to know that receiving these awards is possible and exists,” he said. “I hope that they look forward to having a similar role themselves.”