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New Fellows of The Royal Society

Press release issued: 20 April 2012

Four University of Bristol academics have achieved the rare distinction of being elected Fellows of the world's most eminent and oldest scientific academy in continuous existence, The Royal Society.

Professors Varinder Aggarwal, Alasdair Houston, Richard Kerswell and John McNamara from the Faculty of Science have been elected Fellows of the Royal Society, a Fellowship of 1,400 outstanding individuals representing science, engineering and medicine - a global scientific network of the highest calibre.

Varinder Aggarwal, Professor in the School of Chemistry, is distinguished for his outstanding contributions to the field of asymmetric synthesis, particularly applications of ylide chemistry where he is the world leader. 

Alasdair Houston, Professor of Theoretical Biology in the School of Biological Sciences, together with John McNamara, pioneered, developed and formalized the dynamic optimization approach to behavioural ecology, and has applied it widely, generating fundamental insights. 

Richard Kerswell, Professor of Applied Mathematics in the School of Mathematics is distinguished for his contributions to four areas of theoretical fluid mechanics.

John McNamara, Professor of Mathematics and Biology in the School of Mathematics, has developed fundamental approaches, methods and modelling tools for the functional analysis of behaviour.  His work provides a consistent logic and mathematical rigour for the theoretical and conceptual basis of the field of behavioural ecology. 

Professor Jon Keating, Dean of the Faculty of Science, said: "It is a great accolade to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.  I am truly delighted for Bristol's newly elected Fellows, who are all outstanding researchers.  They join a growing list of nearly 40 FRS's at the University, whose work in the fields of science, engineering, technology and medicine has been honoured in this way.

"Election to the Royal Society not only reflects the scientific excellence of these individuals, but also of their Schools, the Faculty and the University.  To have so many colleagues elected in one year is a quite exceptional achievement."

The Royal Society is the world's oldest scientific academy and has been at the forefront of enquiry and discovery since its foundation in 1660.  Past and present members include Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Dorothy Hodgkin, Isaac Newton, Christopher Wren and Stephen Hawking.

Fellows of the Royal Society are elected for life and designate themselves through the use of the letters FRS after their names.  Only 44 new members are elected each year.

Full Royal Society citations: Professor Aggarwal; Professor Houston; Professor Kerswell; Professor McNamara.

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