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The University of Southampton

Southampton people recognised in Debrett's 500 most influential people in the UK

Published: 26 January 2015

A number of people connected to the University of Southampton have been named in the prestigious Debrett's 500. Published in association with The Sunday Times, the Debrett's 500 recognises the most influential and inspiring people living and working in Britain today.

Professors Sir David Payne and Dame Wendy Hall were recognised in the Engineering and Technology category, along with visiting professor Liam Maxwell. Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee was recognised in the list’s Digital category.

Professor Dame Wendy Hall is one of the most respected computer science academics in the UK; last summer she was also named as the most influential woman in UK IT by Computer Weekly. A Professor of Computer Science within Electronics and Computer Science, Dame Wendy is a fellow of the Royal Society and is recognised in the list as “a leading light in the development of web services”.

Director of the Optoelectronics Research Centre,Professor Sir David Payne is described in the Debrett’s 500 list as “a colossus in the science behind internet development”. A world-class pioneer of optical technology, his work has had a great impact on telecommunications and laser technology over the last 40 years.

A Visiting Professor within Electronics and Computer Science, Liam Maxwell is HM Government’s Chief Technology Officer. He was recognised for his work in leading innovation in digital public services.

Inventor of the World Wide Web and President of the Open Data Institute, Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee is noted for his work as leading the Alliance for Affordable Internet, which aims to make it more accessible to the developing world.

“It is a tremendous recognition of the influence of Engineering at the University of Southampton that so many of our academics are included in this distinguished list,” said Professor Bashir Al-Hashimi, Dean of the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering. “Our success in the recent Research Excellence Framework system gave a clear indication of the industrial and societal impact of research in the faculty; the Debrett’s 500 list further indicates the influence our extraordinary team has in inspiring others.”

Also recognised in the Debrett’s 500 were alumna and structural engineer Jane Wernick, CBE, most renowned for her work on the Millennium Wheel, and honorary graduate Sir John Parker, Chairman of Anglo American. The Engineering and Technology category also featured Andrew Wolstenholme OBE, chief executive of Crossrail, who will deliver a Distinguished Lecture at the University in February entitled ‘Moving the Construction Industry Forward’.

Compiled in consultation with independent expert practitioners and commentators in each of the categories, The Debrett’s 500 is published in association with The Sunday Times to identify and celebrate the most influential people in British society. All the people in the Debrett’s 500 were scrutinised for their level of influence in shaping the lives, choices and ideas of others.

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