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Two Bristol academics receive Wolfson Research Merit Awards

Professor Stephan Lewandowsky

Professor Stephan Lewandowsky

Professor Fred Manby

Professor Fred Manby

26 April 2013

Two Bristol academics are among the 27 new Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award holders.

Two Bristol academics are among the 27 new Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award holders.

Professors Stephan Lewandowsky, Chair in Cognitive Psychology in the School of Experimental Psychology, and Fred Manby, Professor of Theoretical Chemistry in the Centre for Computational Chemistry, have both been successful in securing this prestigious award from the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science.

Jointly funded by the Wolfson Foundation and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the scheme aims to provide universities with additional support to enable them to attract science talent from overseas and retain respected UK scientists of outstanding achievement and potential.

Professor Lewandowsky receives the award for his project entitled ‘The (mis)information revolution: information seeking and knowledge transmission’, which addresses how people navigate the blizzard of information with which we are faced on a daily basis, not all of which is accurate or truthful. The project emphasises how people update their memories and under what conditions they are able to discount information that turns out to be false. The project also examines how people interact with, and influence, each other to understand how information spreads through a society.

Professor Manby’s award is for his work on quantum chemistry, which uses the theory of quantum mechanics to explain molecular structure, the nature of the chemical bond, and chemical reactivity. His group adapts quantum theory equations to create software that can be used by chemists to make predictions and understand experiments. His research focuses on three main areas: theoretical advances in quantum chemistry; development of concrete methods for predicting properties of molecules; and development of methods for predicting how molecules will pack into crystalline structures.