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Sussex honours double gold-medal winners
Two Nobel Prize-winners have doubled their gold-medal tally – with a University of Sussex gold medal to add to their Nobel medal.
The medals were awarded yesterday (Tuesday 9 July) to Nobel Prize-winners Sir Harry Kroto and Sir Paul Nurse – both of whom carried out ground-breaking research during their academic careers at Sussex.
Sir Harry received his medal from a former colleague in the Chemistry department at Sussex, Emeritus Research Professor John Murrell, while the presentation to geneticist Sir Paul Nurse was made by the Head of the School of Life Sciences, Professor Laurence Pearl.
Sir Paul said: “Of all the universities I have worked in, Sussex is the place that captures for me what it is a university should be – characterised by intellectual curiosity, which pushes at the boundaries and makes work exciting. I have tried to recreate that same atmosphere at every institution I have been at since.
“I cannot tell you how important this university has been, and I will always be grateful for everything Sussex has done for me.”
Emeritus Professor Margaret Boden, a world authority on artificial intelligence and creativity, completed the prestigious trio of gold-medal recipients to be honoured.
Her former colleague, Professor Aaron Sloman, a member of faculty at Sussex for 27 years from the early 1960s, returned to Brighton and the sumptuous surroundings of the Royal Pavilion to present Professor Boden with the award.
She said: “Interesting and creative people came when Sussex was founded. And I never regretted coming. I do not believe I would have had anywhere near so intellectually exciting a time anywhere else.”
The decision to award gold medals to past Sussex students and academics who have made a global impact in their professional field was made as part of the University’s 50th -anniversary celebrations in 2011-12.
Eight leading writers, artists, thinkers and scientists were selected to receive the medals, which were designed by architect Anthony Blee - who worked with Sir Basil Spence on the original plans for the University campus - and crafted by Spink.
Four of the medals were previously presented at the University’s 50th-anniversary commemoration dinner in 2012 – to Sussex alumni Ian McEwan (Booker Prize-winning novelist), Jeremy Deller (Turner Prize-winning artist) and Festus Mogae (former President of Botswana), as well as Lord (Asa) Briggs (distinguished historian and former Vice-Chancellor of Sussex).
The eight recipients were nominated and selected by a committee consisting of academics, alumni and the University’s governing body.
The final recipient, Professor Anthony Leggett, who works at the University of Illinois and was unable to be at the dinner, will receive his medal at a later date.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Farthing, said: “We are extremely proud to be associated with this group of individuals, whose remarkable achievements are recognised the world over, and to be able to bestow this honour upon them.”
A Vice-Chancellor’s Gold Medal for Philanthropy, which is given to individuals who have made a sizable gift to the University, was presented at Tuesday’s dinner to Dame Theresa Sackler.
Dame Theresa and her late husband, Dr Mortimer Sackler, founded and supported the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science at the University through their family foundation.