Learned Society of Wales welcomes 42 New Fellows

Outstanding scientists, eminent academics and celebrated professionals join Wales’s National Academy

The Learned Society of Wales (LSW) is pleased to announce the results of its 2018 election of new Fellows spanning the arts, humanities, sciences and public service sectors.  Election to Fellowship is a public recognition of academic excellence, and LSW Fellowship is keenly competed. Fellows are elected following a rigorous examination of their achievements in their relevant fields.

This election further strengthens the Society’s Fellowship by adding 42 new Fellows to its ranks, including two new Honorary Fellows, Professor Dame Marilyn Strathern and Professor Sir Vaughan FR Jones. The Society now has just under 500 Fellows, distinguished men and women from all branches of learning who are prominent figures within their respective academic disciplines or professions. This year 35% of the new Fellows are female.

The full list of Fellows elected is available here

By bringing together the most successful and talented Fellows connected with Wales, the LSW to contributes to advancing and promoting excellence in all scholarly disciplines including providing independent and expert advice to Government.

Several new Fellows are notable not only for their individual successes, but also as inspirational figures for future generations. They include: New Honorary Fellow Professor Dame Marilyn Strathern who is a pre-eminent Social Anthropologist whose wide international acclaim is founded on her extensive field research that began almost 50 years ago in Papua New Guinea in Melanesia. Also joining as an Honorary Fellow is Professor Sir Vaughan FR Jones, a revolutionary mathematician, known for his work on von Neumann algebras and knot polynomials. His discoveries have opened vast new areas of research in wide areas of mathematics in analysis, algebra, geometry and topology. He was awarded a Fields Medal in 1990.

New Fellows working in Welsh culture include Yr Athro Menna Elfyn, who has been publishing for five decades, and has carved out an international reputation for her poetry in both Welsh and in English, travelling the world for readings and theatre productions. Professor Paul O’Leary is a distinguished scholar in the field of Welsh history, whose contributions to the field have transformed our understanding of Irish migration to Wales, Wales and multiculturalism and the First World War and Wales.

In sciences, new Fellow Professor Shareen Doak is a young Welsh scientist with a stellar trajectory. Since her 2014 appointment to a personal chair in Genotoxicology and Cancer at Swansea University Medical School she has successfully brought large EU grants worth over £27 million to the region. Professor Deri Tomos is world-famous for his research in Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology and is a familiar voice and face on Radio Cymru and S4C. He was honoured this year with the Science and Technology Medal at the Anglesey National Eisteddfod for his lifelong contribution to science through the medium of Welsh. Professor Ron Pethig is the leading expert on Bio-electronics and his studies of cells have found general applications in the design of anticancer drugs.

The Fellowship also recognises outstanding public service; Professor Cara Aitchison is President and Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff Metropolitan University and has 30 years’ experience in higher education. She has led significant improvement, growth and change management programmes within six UK universities developing volume, quality and impact of education and research. Robert Rogers, Lord Lisvane, was a distinguished official of the House of Commons for over 40 years, contributing to the positive development of House of Commons procedure and to the modern role of Select Committees. He is one of only three Clerks of the House of Commons to have ever been elevated to the Peerage.

The 2018 election is the eighth in a rolling process towards the building of a strong, representative Fellowship.  The Society’s continuing focus on excellence and achievement will ensure that the Fellowship represents the very best in the major academic disciplines.

Professor Dame Marilyn Strathern, New Honorary Fellow, said:

“It is a great privilege to be honoured in this way by such a distinguished company. I am delighted to be among those who contribute to the advancement of learning and scholarship in Wales. It is also a reminder, which an anthropologist of rather remote Welsh ancestry would relish, of the way roots laid down long ago may send up new shoots of growth.”

Professor Sir Vaughan FR Jones, New Honorary Fellow, said:

“It is wonderful to have been elected an honorary fellow of the LSW! My father was born in Wales and left for New Zealand when he was eight years old but I have kept close ties with my cousins in Wales and love my visits there. Ymlaen Scarlets!”

Sir Emyr Jones Parry, the Society’s President, said:

“I am delighted to welcome such a wide range of outstanding individuals to the Fellowship this year. Their election is recognition of excellence and achievement. They and their work are an inspiration to the nation. Fellows are elected on merit, and again the number of female Fellows is growing.”

The full list of Fellows elected is available here