Queen's Birthday Honours List Recognizes People in Optics and Photonics

Queen Elizabeth II awarded 1,076 people with honours, including five people working in optics and photonics.
12 June 2019
Royal Guard

On 8 June, the Queen's Birthday Honours List was announced in the United Kingdom. Awards will be given to 1,076 British nationals as part of the Queen Elizabeth II's Official Birthday celebrations in the month of June. Among the many people awarded for valuable service and contribution, several people from the optics and photonics community were recognized under the Order of the British Empire.

Dr. Christopher Dorman, Vice President Coherent, Scotland, received Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), for services to laser and photonic technology and to exports. The OBE is awarded for a major role in a business, public, or not-for-profit sector. Many awardees are known nationally for their expertise and achievements.

Two individuals working in optics and photonics were awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). Professor Harminder Singh Dua, professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the University of Nottingham was recognized for services to eye healthcare, to health education, and to ophthalmology. Professor David John Southwood, recently retired chair of the UK Space Agency, was recognized for services to space science and industry in the UK and Europe. The CBE is awarded for a prominent role at a regional level.

Andrew Richard Hanson, coordinator of science ambassadors at National Physical Laboratory, was awarded Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to STEM education. This award is given by the Queen to an individual in recognition of hands-on community service that has set an example for others.

Dr. Jessica Alice Feinmann Wade, a research physicist at Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College London, was awarded Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM), for services to gender diversity in science. The BEM is closely related to the MBE and is granted in recognition of meritorious civil or military service.

SPIE congratulates these individuals for their contributions to the advancement of light-based science!

History of Honours

Monarchs have rewarded subjects for loyalty and service for millennia. Historically, those rewards were in the form of land or gifts, and in more recent history, by awarding knighthoods and membership within orders of chivalry to members of the aristocracy and military. As times evolved, the awards given by the British monarch became available to civilians for a broader range of recognitions, and Cabinet Office became responsible for the process of selecting recipients.

In 1917, the current honour system was developed by George V when he created a new order of chivalry called the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Although this order was originally intended to reward men and women who had made an outstanding contribution during World War II, these honours have expanded to now include a wide range of recognitions, from arts to science to charity work.

According to the honours nominations guidelines, nominees should: contribute in a distinctive way to improving the lives of those less able to help themselves; devote themselves to sustained and selfless voluntary service; and show innovation or creativity with lasting results. Anyone in any country participating in recommending Imperial honours can nominate a British national for an award.

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