Higher Education


Sir Michael Atiyah »   Dr William Plowden »   Tony Tanner »   Prof Robert Cassen »   Baroness Patricia Hollis »   Professor David Lodge »   Sir Colin Blakemore »   Edgar Anderson »   Sir David Wallace »   David Broadhurst »   Sir Graeme Catto »   Professor Aldwyn Cooper »  

 

Sir Michael Atiyah (CFF 1955-56) OM, FRS, FRSE, FMedsci, FAA, FREng studied at Princeton, Institute of Advanced Study, for his fellowship to which he later returned as Professor for three years (69-72). His academic career started in Cambridge (student and early academia), transferring to Oxford for more senior and leadership roles. In 1990 Michael returned to Cambridge to create and direct the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences (90-96) and is now at the University of Edinburgh, where he has been Honorary Professor since 1997. Collaboration with others, many of whom he met in his fellowship year at Princeton, has been key to his work; with Hirzebruch he laid the foundation of topological K-theory and the Atiyah-Singer index theorem is widely used in counting the number of independent solutions to differential equations. Later work was inspired by theoretical physics leading to improvements in quantum field theory. Used to travel from an early age, born in London to Lebanese and Scottish parents, educated in Sudan, Cairo, Alexandria, and Manchester, he has travelled extensively. He has been elected to Royal Society equivalent organisations in many countries including America, Sweden, Ireland, Australia, India and Russia. Awarded over 30 Honorary degrees, Michael has also won numerous awards for his work, including the Fields medal in 1966 (for his work in developing K theory) and the Abel prize, jointly with Singer in 2004. Michael held leadership roles in many organisations, including being President of the London Mathematical Society (74-76), President of the Royal Society (90-95), Master of Trinity College (90-97) and Chancellor of the University of Leicester (95-05). An impressive educator Michael is responsible for inspiring generations of young mathematicians, many becoming prize winners in their own right. Michael was destined to be a mathematician and quotes “I started out by changing local currency into foreign currency everywhere I travelled as a child and ended up making money. That’s when my father realised that I would be a mathematician some day.” Michael’s wife Lily, from Edinburgh, was with him from his CFF until she passed away at the age of 90 in March 2018. They had 3 sons.
Published on: 30th May 2018

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Dr William Plowden (CFF 1958-59) (d. 2010) saw his Commonwealth Fund Fellowship as liberating and transformative in the same way as reading history at Cambridge after two years National Service, or even more so. He spent it at the University of California Berkeley Institute of Political Science and Government, with Nelson Polsby. He shared a room, and indeed a car which meant they had the use of it for most of the year, with Tony Tanner (d.1998). Returning from his fellowship, William spent a year at The Economist before joining the Board of Trade where he was private secretary to Edward Heath. He left Whitehall to become a lecturer in the Government Department at LSE. While there he wrote his first book The Motor Car and Politics (1970). Invited by his former boss, now the PM, William became a founder member of the Central Policy Review Staff, CPRS, known as the Think Tank (1971 to 1977). After a brief spell as Under Secretary at the Department of Industry he headed the Royal Institute for Public Administration for 10 years from 1978. He was a visiting professor at LSE in the 1980s and again from 2002, a governor from 1992 and a member of the Council for several years. He was a member of the Harkness selection committee in the 1980s, and visited current fellows in their US placements, and as Director of the UK Harkness Fellowships in New York (1988-91) he led the redesign of the programme for the Commonwealth Fund, continuing to lead the programme back in the UK until 1998. He was a founder member of the HFA. For the rest of his working life, as a consultant to developing countries’ governments, William went on developing and disseminating his ideas about effective government originating in his Harkness Fellowship, as well as his life-long love of America.
Published on: 24th May 2018

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Tony Tanner (CFF 1958–60) (d 1998) had a career as an eminent scholar of American literature which was born during his time as a Harkness fellow. Having studied English at Jesus College Cambridge, in 1958 he won a Commonwealth Fund Fellowship to Berkeley, California where he first encountered post-war American literature and culture. In 1960, he returned with a passion for American Literature, unusual in the UK at the time, especially in academia. His doctoral dissertation on wonder and naiveté in American literature, later published as a book, became the first on an American subject to be accepted by the Cambridge English faculty. He was appointed a fellow of King’s College, Cambridge, where he taught and studied for 38 years until his untimely death from cancer in 1998. Professor Tanner’s teachings on the topic helped persuade Cambridge university to offer a master’s degree in American literature, and in 1989, he was appointed to its first chair in American literature. He wrote a comprehensive study of contemporary American fiction from the period 1950-1970 in City of Words, published in 1971. Tanner briefly took up a position at Johns Hopkins University, but returned to Kings, preferring life at Cambridge. Tanner did not abandon UK and European literature, publishing about the work of literary figures such as Goethe, Flaubert, Rousseau, Henry James, Jane Austen, Byron, Thomas Mann, John Ruskin and Marcel Proust. His final work was to write prefaces to each of Shakespeare’s plays for the new Everyman library. (Sources)
Published on: 24th May 2018

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Prof Robert Cassen (CFF 1959-61) OBE studied classics and philosophy at Oxford, and wanted to convert to economics – Harkness allowed him to do it. With a year in Berkeley and one in Harvard, he had the qualifications to start teaching development economics at the London School of Economics, simultaneously writing his thesis and getting his PhD from Harvard a little later. He taught at LSE, Sussex, and Oxford, and had years off working with the British aid programme on and in India; with the World Bank; and the staff of the Brandt Commission, the ‘Independent Commission on International Development Issues’. His academic best-seller was Does Aid Work?, written with a team of fellow economists. It was translated into several languages, and led to work with various development agencies. Years later he switched to education research. His last book, co-authored with two other researchers, was published in 2015, a research review mainly about England – Making a Difference in Education: What the evidence says. It taught him how small a part evidence plays in the making of English educational policy. Most recently he moved sideways again, working with a young choirmaster to produce a website about Renaissance Sacred Music, www.golden-age-music.com – launched in the summer of 2018. He says he owes so much to Harkness: his Fellowship opened the door to a life combining academe and practical involvement in the developing world. If there is anyone still around from the era of the Foundation that changed his life, he’d like to say a big Thank you.  
Published on: 18th November 2018

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Baroness Patricia Hollis (HF 1963-64 ) (1941 to 2018) found that the Harkness Fellowship turned her life around. As her parents had both left school aged 12, she applied to Cambridge (UK) because she had heard of it, along with Oxford and LSE (as a trade unionist, her Dad had heard of Harold Laski!). Patricia got a First in history in 1962, and then a Harkness Fellowship to Berkeley, California to study sociology. Her newly acquired American boyfriend was active in the civil rights movement. They rode buses, picketed segregated restaurants (George Wallace, Alabama, “Turkey dinners 99c and guaranteed no n—–rs.”), and worked on voter registration in Mississippi. She heard Martin Luther King have a dream. After a second year at Columbia, New York, she came back to Nuffield College, Oxford to complete a D.Phil; which (along with her Harkness Fellow late husband, Martin) took them on to jobs at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, in 1967. In 1968 Patricia was elected to the local Council. She went on to become Dean of the School of English and American Studies as well as leader of Norwich City Council in the 1980s. She also served on the Regional health Authority, on English Heritage, the Press Council and as Chair of a local housing association. She is renowned as a successful campaigning politician who did her home work, used statistics to support her case and spoke common sense powerfully.  In 1990 she was appointed to the Lords, and from 1997-2005 was Blair’s Lord’s Minister for DSS/DWP. Patricia is survived by two sons, a radio producer for Radio 4 (ex Fulbright); and the current Faber Poetry editor. (Story initially written by Patricia and later updated)  
Published on: 25th May 2018

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Professor David Lodge (HF 1964-65) CBE, author and literary critic, graduated from University College London with a BA in 1955, followed (after National Service in the Army) by an MA in 1959. Awarded a Harkness Fellowship in 1964, he went with his family to the United States where he attended Brown University to study American Literature and then travelled across America to California. He described the experience in his memoir Quite A Good Time To be Born (2015) as “an annus mirabilis”. David Lodge is Emeritus Professor of English Literature at the University of Birmingham where he taught from 1960 to 1987, and still lives in that city. He was a Visiting Associate Professor at the University of California, Berkeley in 1969 and Henfield Creative Writing Fellow at the University of East Anglia in 1977. His time in academia gave him a rich source of inspiration for a series of novels which satirize university life, two of which, Small World (1984) and Nice Work (1988) were shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Another major theme in his fiction is Roman Catholicism. How Far Can You Go?(1980) published in the USA as Souls & Bodies, follows the lives of a group of English Catholics through a period of upheaval in the Church. He has also written television screenplays and stage plays and a number of distinguished books of criticism, including The Modes of Modern Writing (1977) and Consciousness and the Novel (2002). David holds several honorary degrees and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts and des Letters. He was appointed CBE in 1998 for services to literature.
Published on: 25th May 2018

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Sir Colin Blakemore (HF 1965-67) , after studying medical sciences at Cambridge, won a Harkness Fellowship to go to the University of California at Berkeley, where he worked with Horace Barlow, a leading British neurophysiologist. What was meant to be a single year turned into just over 2 years and a PhD; and it changed the direction of Colin’s career. He gave up clinical medicine and returned to teach at Cambridge. He has worked on many aspects of vision and brain development, and was one of the first to demonstrate the importance of ‘plasticity’ in the brain. In 1979, he moved to the Waynflete Chair of Physiology in Oxford, where he also directed the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience. From 2003-7 he was Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council, and in 2012 he moved to a personal Professorship in the School of Advanced Study, University of London, where he collaborates with art historians and artists, including David Hockney and Patrick Hughes, in research on visual perception. He has 10 honorary degrees and is a member of 12 academies, including the Royal Society, the Academy of Medical Sciences and Academia Europaea. In 2014 he was knighted for service to scientific research, policy and outreach. He was the youngest person to give the BBC Reith Lectures. He has given the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, he has made nearly 1,000 broadcasts (including a 13-part series for BBC television), and he writes for national and international media. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Blakemore
Published on: 25th May 2018

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Edgar Anderson (HF 1966-68) is a Scot (B.Sc., Ph.D., D.Sc., Glasgow University) who was a Salters’ Fellow at the University of Strasbourg when he applied for a Harkness Fellowship. He worked at the Gates and Crellin Laboratories of Chemistry at California Institute of Technology, ‘CalTech’, Pasadena, Southern California on ‘The Conformational Dynamics of Simple Organic Molecules using NMR Spectroscopy’. He continued in this same broad field on his return to Britain as successively, a Ramsay Fellow, a Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader and finally Professor of Organic Chemistry at University College London. He retired in 2005 having published over 120 papers in leading Chemical Journals, and has a Hirsch Index of 32. He was the Crabtree Orator in 2007 and President of the Crabtree Foundation in 2017-8. He met Eleanor Colwell, a Canadian on a short visit to Caltech, towards the end of his time there. They were married in 1970 and have lived in the same house in Rickmansworth since that time. They have two daughters and three grandchildren.
Published on: 25th May 2018

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Sir David Wallace (HF 1970-72) CBE FRS FREng FRSE Following undergraduate and postgraduate study at the University of Edinburgh, David continued his research in theoretical physics at Princeton University. In 1972 he was appointed lecturer in the Physics Department at the University of Southampton. In 1979 he returned to the University of Edinburgh as Tait Professor of Mathematical Physics, and Director of Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre. He was Vice-Chancellor at Loughborough University for 12 years, from 1994, and moved to Cambridge in 2006, as NM Rothschild & Sons Professor of Mathematical Sciences & Director of the Isaac Newton Institute to 2011, and as Master of Churchill College to 2014, retiring then to Scotland. He has held many honorary positions in Academies and Learned Societies, and on Trusts and Foundations, and served as a non-executive director in a number of companies. He is currently a member of Court (the Governing Body) of the University of St Andrews, a trustee of the Bill McLaren Foundation and chairs the Board of the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences. He was awarded a CBE for services to parallel computing in 1996, and knighted in 2004 for services to UK science, technology and engineering. In 1995 he ran the London Marathon, raising £8000 for Sports Aid Foundation and Loughborough Sports Scholarships. His time of just under four hours is surely the slowest ​ever in a Loughborough vest. He retired to Scotland in 2014 with his wife Elizabeth. They have one daughter, Sara. https://www.chu.cam.ac.uk/people/view/david-wallace/
Published on: 25th May 2018

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David Broadhurst (HF 1971-73) had the great fortune to be a Harkness fellow at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center when physicists were discovering the fundamental theories of the strong and weak interactions of quarks and leptons. This was followed by a Royal Society fellowship at CERN in Geneva and a fellowship at Balliol College, Oxford. David’s Harkness fellowship provided the opportunity to visit more than 40 of the United States and three quarters of its national parks. He met Margaret in Fern Canyon, Humboldt County, California and they wed in Coventry in 1975, by which time David was intensively engaged in teaching physics and mathematics to students of the Open University. He continued to combine research and teaching until his retirement from a readership in 2013, since when he has enjoyed frequent invitations to conferences and workshops on quantum field theory and the exquisite mathematics that it entails. He continues to be amazed by “the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences” and lives in hope of seeing an eventual proof of the Broadhurst-Kreimer conjecture on multiple zeta values. A formula discovered by David was inscribed on the bronze statue awarded to Andrew Wiles by the Clay Mathematical Institute to celebrate the proof of Fermat’s last theorem. David served for more than 30 years as a governor of a primary school that seeks to combine sound education with human values. When in need of solace he turns to Bach and to his grandchildren.
Published on: 25th October 2018

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Sir Graeme Catto (HF 1975-77) was a lecturer in medicine at the University of Aberdeen, had acquired membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians (UK) and was completing an MD thesis when he was awarded the fellowship to study medicine and transplant immunology in Boston, Massachusetts, based at Harvard University and Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. After two years, Graeme, his wife and two young children, returned to Aberdeen where he was promoted to Senior Lecturer and appointed honorary consultant physician/ nephrologist to the local health board. His clinical and research work went well and promotion to reader, professor, dean and vice-principal ensued. He became medical director of the teaching hospital, a member of an MRC grants committee and chairman of a large independent school. As a member of the General Medical Council, he chaired the Education Committee before becoming President at a time of some turbulence for the organisation and the medical profession. At the turn of the millennium, Graeme Catto was appointed Vice-Principal at King’s College London, Dean of the Guy’s, King’s College and St Thomas’ Hospitals Medical and Dental Schools and Pro Vice-Chancellor, University of London. He was a founder member and Treasurer of the Academy of Medical Sciences, a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Qatar Science & Technology Park, Caribbean Accreditation Authority and Qatar Council for Healthcare Professionals. Knighted in 2002 for services to medicine and medical education, Graeme Catto has been awarded a number of honorary degrees and fellowships. Retired from practice, he continues to support medical education initiatives in the UK and abroad.
Published on: 25th May 2018

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Professor Aldwyn Cooper (HF 1975-76) was the demonstrator in experimental Psychology at Bristol University completing his PhD in December 1974. He applied for the fellowship to continue his research with the world leaders in his field in order to pursue a research career in human memory. His fellowship was at Stanford University, California, for psychology, and the University of California at Berkeley for the study of statistics. The academic experience at Stanford led Aldwyn to abandon his chosen research field and he almost resigned the fellowship to return to the UK. A three day visit from one of the Harkness committee persuaded him to remain and to learn more about technical and social developments in the United States. Taking this advice, he remained for his full term. This period gave him the phenomenal opportunity to meet and work with leaders in the developing field of micro computer technology and its application to education. On his return, Aldwyn was a leader of the team developing computer based education at the Open University. As Managing Director of Henley Distance learning, he initiated the first distance learning MBA in the UK, at Henley, then a world top ten business school. He ran a successful television production company for ten years. He moved to be PVC at the University of Glamorgan and led a substantial eLearning scheme. In 2007, he moved to Regent’s College in London where he led the acquisition of Degree Awarding Powers and University title and where he is currently Vice Chancellor. Professor Cooper sits on several national committees in Higher Education, has been a Governor of a large Further Education College and a large comprehensive school, and is now a commissioner of the Crown Estates Paving Commission.
Published on: 25th May 2018

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