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Published on:
Monday 29 April 2024
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Royal Society Honours Wolfson Fellows

Each year, the Royal Society recognises exceptional research achievements by awarding a series of prestigious medals and prizes. Of the 25 awards for 2022-23, announced today, three honour Fellows of Wolfson College for their outstanding contributions to science and medicine: Professor Sir Antony Hoare FREng FRS, Professor Sir Christopher Whitty KCB FMedSci FRS and Professor Artur Ekert FRS.

Sir Antony Hoare and Sir Christopher Whitty each received a Royal Medal, the Society’s highest honour. Only three such medals are awarded each year, having been instituted in 1825 by King George IV. Sir Antony received the Royal Medal (Physical) for his many ground-breaking contributions to the field of computer programming, which include the development of one of the world’s most popular sorting algorithms, Quicksort; introducing ‘Hoare logic’, which allows software engineers to check that a program behaves as intended; and creating the formal language communicating sequential processes (CSP) to specify the interactions of concurrent processes. Sir Antony joined Wolfson in 1977 as a Governing Body Fellow, and has been an Emeritus Fellow since 1999.

Sir Christopher received the Royal Medal (Applied) jointly with Sir Patrick Vallance KCB FMedSci FRS for their pivotal role in ensuring that the UK’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has benefitted from the very best science and evidence. He is the current Chief Medical Officer for England, and his epidemiological research has focused on infectious diseases and their prevention and treatment in several countries in Africa and Asia, particularly malaria. Sir Christopher studied for his BM BCh at Wolfson from 1988 to 1991 and in 2022 was elected an Honorary Fellow of the College.

Professor Artur Ekert was awarded the Milner Award and Lecture 2024 for his pioneering contributions to quantum communication and computation, which transformed the field of quantum information science into a vibrant interdisciplinary field of industrial relevance. Professor Ekert is largely responsible for realising the relevance of quantum phenomena for secure communication: his invention of entanglement-based quantum cryptography forged the first connections between the foundations of quantum physics and encryption, and he is responsible for the celebrated discovery that Bell’s inequalities can be used for eavesdropping detection. Professor Ekert studied for his DPhil at Wolfson between 1987 and 1991, and returned in 2016 as an Honorary Fellow. He will be given the award at the Prize Lecture which will be organised for late 2024.