Pivotal role in UK space science recognised by award

Posted by ap507 at Jan 08, 2016 03:35 PM |
RAS honours Professor Alan Wells from the University of Leicester

Issued by the University of Leicester Press Office on 8 January

University of Leicester space researcher Professor Alan Wells has been honoured by the Royal Astronomical Society.

The RAS has announced the 2016 winners of its awards, medals and prizes. Each year the RAS recognises significant achievement in the fields of astronomy and geophysics through these awards.

The announcements were made at the Ordinary Meeting of the society held on Friday 8 January 2016. The winners will be invited to collect their awards at the Society's 2016 National Astronomy Meeting in June.

Professor Wells is recipient of the 2016 Service Award for Astronomy.

Professor Wells has played a pivotal role in UK Space Science for over 40 years. Since joining the University of Leicester in 1973, he has been Space Projects Manager and then Founding Director of the University’s Space Research Centre. He has played a crucial role in the proposal, development, design, test, launch and operations of many iconic space science mission instruments and without him, the UK and wider international community would have been far less likely to see the fruits of these remarkably successful projects. In addition to his crucial role in many successful space missions, he has been one of the prime movers in the establishment and continued operation of the Millennium Commission-funded National Space Centre. Furthermore, since retiring, he has worked tirelessly for the East Midlands and City of Leicester in establishing a Space Technology Cluster in the region.

Professor Wells said: "The Royal Astronomical Society's Service Award is unique in recognising contributions of people who have helped to enable new discoveries in space science and exploration, through the development and operation of new telescopes, instruments and space missions. It takes a lot of time and effort to place new world class facilities like these in the hands of the wider astronomical community. Our great team of space scientists and engineers at Leicester's Space Research Centre have been very successful at doing this and I am proud to accept the RAS Service Award for 2016 in recognition of their contributions as well as my own."

Professor Martin Barstow, President of the Royal Astronomical Society and Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Leicester, offered his congratulations to all award winners:

“The UK and indeed the whole world have a wealth of extraordinarily talented women and men working in astronomy and geophysics. Each year the Society marks their achievements with our awards and medals, something it gives me huge pleasure to announce. I am delighted to congratulate all the winners and wish them continued success in their scientific careers.”

Link to RAS press release: http://www.ras.org.uk/news-and-press/news-archive/264-news-2016/2760-ras-honours-leading-astronomers-and-geophysicists

Notes for editors:

The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS, www.ras.org.uk), founded in 1820, encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science. The RAS organizes scientific meetings, publishes international research and review journals, recognizes outstanding achievements by the award of medals and prizes, maintains an extensive library, supports education through grants and outreach activities and represents UK astronomy nationally and internationally. Its more than 3900 members (Fellows), a third based overseas, include scientific researchers in universities, observatories and laboratories as well as historians of astronomy and others.

Follow the RAS on Twitter via @royalastrosoc

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