2014 sees the 400th anniversary of the birth of Wadham’s Warden Wilkins (1614-1672), who convened the founders of the Royal Society and created a unique environment for scientific innovation. To celebrate this anniversary, Wadham alumnus Melvyn Bragg (1958, History) will introduce world leading scientists including President of the Royal Society and Nobel Prize winner Sir Paul Nurse, mathematician Marcus du Sautoy (1983, Mathematics) and astrophysicist Jo Dunkley at this Sheldonian event
Melvyn Bragg, Baron Bragg, FRS, FBA, FRSA, FRSL, FRTS , (Wadham 1958, History) is an English broadcaster and author, best known for his work with ITV as editor and presenter of The South Bank Show (1978–2010). Earlier in his career, Bragg worked for the BBC in various roles including presenter, a connection which resumed in 1988 when he began to host Start the Week on Radio 4. After his ennoblement in 1998, he switched to presenting the new In Our Time, a discussion radio programme which has run to over 600 editions. He is currently Chancellor of the University of Leeds.
Jo Dunkley is Professor in Astrophysics at the University of Oxford. Her research in cosmology studies the origins and evolution of the Universe. Dunkley’s work involves determining properties of the Universe such as its rate of expansion, the nature of Dark Matter and Dark Energy, and its behaviour in the first moments after the Big Bang. She is a particular expert in the Cosmic Microwave Background, light that gives us the earliest possible view of the Universe. She was part of the science team for NASA's WMAP space satellite, and now works on the Planck space satellite, the Atacama Cosmology Telescope in Chile, and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. She has been awarded the Maxwell Medal for physics and the Fowler Prize for astronomy. She teaches undergraduate and graduate physics students and is a tutorial fellow at Exeter College, Oxford.
Sir Paul Nurse is the President of the Royal Society. He took up the post to start his five year term in December 2010. Paul Nurse is a geneticist who works on what controls the division and shape of cells. He was Professor of Microbiology at the University of Oxford, CEO of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and Cancer Research UK and President of Rockefeller University New York. He is currently Director and Chief Executive of the Francis Crick Institute. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2001 and the Royal Society Copley Medal in 2005.
Dr Marcus du Sautoy (Wadham 1983, Mathematics) is Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford.
He was President of the Mathematical Association for 2012-13 and is a Fellow of New College. Du Sautoyhas written numerous academic articles and books on mathematics and is known for his work popularising mathematics. He wrote and presented The Story of Maths, a four part landmark series for BBC4 about the history of maths, he writes for The Times and The Guardian and appears on the TV series School of Hard Sums with Dara Ó Briain.