Sir Paul Nurse receives honorary doctorate and offers words of wisdom to graduates

24-Jul-2018

The Nobel Prize winner told an audience of new graduates of the University of Huddersfield how science was of particular importance in today's world because it has the power to cross boundaries

Sir Paul Nurse

Sir Paul Nurse has been conferred an Honorary Doctorate of the University of Huddersfield.

Sir Paul is a leading microbiologist who shared the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for identifying the proteins that control the division of cells in the cell cycle. His many other distinctions include the Presidency of the Royal Society. He is currently chief executive and Director of the Francis Crick Institute, which is dedicated to understanding the fundamental biology of health and disease.

Now he has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of the University of Huddersfield, bestowed when he attended one of its July graduation ceremonies.

An oration that outlined Sir Paul's career and achievements in science was delivered by the University's Emeritus Professor Mike Page, who also told how Sir Paul had strong political views.

"He does not hesitate to criticise political dogma and readily speaks out for what he believes is right. He is against those who oppose the teaching of natural selection, stem cell research on cell lines from human embryos, and climate change. Like science, he believes political decision-making should be evidence based," said Professor Page, who added that Sir Paul is a critic of Brexit, believing it will harm UK research and damage universities' European collaboration.

Science has the power to understand the world and to change the world. It can improve the quality of life and health, creates new wealth and helps to solve the great problems of humankind

After receiving his Honorary Doctorate, Sir Paul congratulated the University of Huddersfield on winning a string of awards. He then told graduates of the University's School of Applied Sciences that they should always keep with the importance of science as "a reliable way to gain knowledge about the natural world and about ourselves".

Sir Paul listed the attributes of science, including a respect for accurate and reproducible data, observation and evidence, and recognition of the importance of scepticism and doubt.

Science flourishes in environments that pool intelligence, that minimise boundaries and are tolerant of others and the diversity of their ideas, said Sir Paul.

"And these last attributes are of course particularly pertinent in today’s political situation," he added.

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"Science has the power to understand the world and to change the world", he continued. "It can improve the quality of life and health, creates new wealth and helps to solve the great problems of humankind. And increasingly science will play a greater role in all society’s democratic decisions. You as scientists are well placed to help science benefit humanity," said Sir Paul.

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