UWE awards honorary degree to Adam Hart-Davis

Issue date: 24 November 2005


Issue date: 24/11/05

The University of the West of England is awarding the honorary degree of Doctor of Technology to Dr Adam John Hart-Davis in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the public understanding of, interest in, and enthusiasm for, science and technology. The honorary degree will be conferred at the Award Ceremony of the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences on Monday 28 November at 11.30 at Bristol Cathedral.

Adam Hart-Davis is a freelance photographer, writer and broadcaster and has popularised the presentation of science on television. He was born near Henley-on-Thames and educated at Eton College and Merton College, Oxford, where he graduated with first class honours in chemistry. Following completion of a Doctorate of Philosophy in organometallic chemistry at the University of York in 1968, he spent three years on post-doctoral research in both Canada and the United Kingdom. This was followed by five years publishing science books at the Oxford University Press and a further seventeen years with Yorkshire Television, as a researcher and producer.

As a television producer, Adam Hart-Davis was involved in the production of series such as: Scientific Eye; Mathematical Eye; and, Arthur C Clarke’s World of Strange Powers. More recently he has been the presenter of: Tomorrow’s World; What The Romans; Victorians; Tudors & Stuarts; and, Ancients, Did For Us; and, Science Shack. For eight years he presented Local Heroes, travelling around the country on his bicycle, clothed in bright pink and yellow, recounting the discoveries of inventors, scientists and engineers. His other recent television programmes have included: Secret City (History of London); Celebrity Mastermind; Top Ten Treasures of the British Museum; Stardate – Transit of Venus; What The Ancients Did For Us; and, How London Was Built. For Radio Four, he has presented several series of Inventors Imperfect and Inspiration! and one each of: High Resolution; Elements of Surprise; Reinventing The Wheel; Engineering Solutions; and, Eureka Years.

The Honorary Graduand has written many books including: World’s Weirdest “True” Ghost Stories; Test Your Psychic Powers (with Susan Blackmore); Thunder, Flush, & Thomas Crapper (an encycLOOpedia); Amazing Maths Puzzles; three Local Heroes books (with Paul Bader); and, What The Victorians (and others) Did For Us. In 2004 his books What The Past Did For Us and Talking Science were published and they were followed in 2005 by How does a ball bounce? For The Oxford Companion To The Body, he wrote articles on Burp, Defecate, Farting and Potty-training. He writes numerous newspaper and magazine articles and has had a regular weekly column in the Radio Times.

Adam Hart-Davis is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; a Companion of the Institution of Lighting Engineers; an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Dyers and Colourists; and, an honorary member of the British Toilet Association. He is a member of the Bureau of Freelance Photographers and the Newcomen Society and patron of a dozen charitable organisations including: crank it up; cycle opportunities for all; and, ACT (Association of Children with Life-Threatening or Terminal Conditions and their families). He is President of The Wandle Valley Mapping Project and Life President of the Ellenroad Trust which is concerned with the world’s largest working steam mill engine. He has been awarded: a medal by the Royal Academy of Engineering, for the public promotion of engineering; the Sir Henry Royce Memorial Medal, by the Institute of Incorporated Engineers; and, the 1999 Gerald Frewer Memorial Trophy by the Council of Engineering Designers.

Resident in Bristol, Adam Hart-Davis is one of the city’s outstanding personalities but has a national profile. He has links with At-Bristol and other discovery centres. He has no car, but seven cycles - one for each day of the week. His entry in Who’s Who lists his recreations as: cycling, ping pong, photography, and drinking wine.

-ENDS-

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