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Queen rewards leading academics in 2013 new-year honours

Ian Diamond, principal of Aberdeen University and a former chairman of Research Councils UK, is among many leading researchers recognised by the Queen in the 2013 new year honours list.

Diamond was knighted for his services to higher education, together with Keith Burnett, vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield. David Payne, director of the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton, also received a knighthood for services to photonics research.

Carol Robinson, a physical chemist at the University of Oxford, was made a dame for her contributions to science and industry.

Stephen Visscher, deputy chief executive and chief operating officer at the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, was awarded a CBE, as was Richard Holdaway, director of the space research facility RAL space at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

Other CBEs included Richard Parker, director of research and technology at Rolls-Royce, and Francis Kelly, professor of mathematics at the University of Cambridge.

Paul Noon, the outgoing general secretary of science workers’ trade union Prospect, received an OBE, as did Sandy Thomas, head of the UK government’s future scenarios office Foresight. Charles Swithinbank, a glaciologist and emeritus associate of the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge, and Ian Bateman, an environmental scientist at the University of East Anglia, also received OBEs in the lists, published on 29 December.

An OBE was also given to the University of Cambridge classicist Mary Beard, to Josephine Dawn, professor of art history at the University of Essex and to David Cleevely, founding director of the Centre for Science and Policy at Cambridge.

Peter Higgs, emeritus professor of physics at the University of Edinburgh and widely tipped for a future physics Nobel prize, was made a Companion of Honour, an award which recognises “outstanding achievements” in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry, or religion. The honour has been awarded to only 65 people, including theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and David Attenborough.