30 December 2017
The Chief Executive of STFC, Dr Brian Bowsher, has been made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the New Year’s Honours’ list for his contribution to national and international metrology.
Our modern world is defined by what we can measure - from the largest astronomical scales to the tiniest of sub-atomic distances, from National Grid-sized to Higgs Boson energies, from the wavelengths that enable stable wifi and timing behind GPS to the precise engineering at the heart of aircraft engines.
Metrology is the science of measurement, and by definition it has to be international so that our understanding of a kilogram, a litre or a pint is the same as that in Europe, Japan or Australia. These international standards rely on rigorous science, and are set by international agreement.
Dr Bowsher’s award recognises his personal leadership in this field, especially during his previous tenure as CEO of the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) from 2009 to 2015 which led to a “step change in national and international recognition of NPL and the UK in the International Metrology community worldwide”.
As the national arbiter of precise measures, NPL itself must always be at the forefront of precision but also innovation. As a result of Dr Bowsher’s leadsership, NPL’s status was secured as a world leading research institute. He personally led the development of new international partnerships, oversaw the transition of NPL’s management structure, and forged valuable economic links with British industry.
His personal effort, connections and scientific reputation, coupled with the stronger reputation of NPL arising from them, saw him elected to the global committee that oversees metrology worldwide where he played a major role in making the organisation fit for the demands of the 21st Century.
Dr Bowsher served with great distinction on STFC’s Council before accepting his fixed-term role as CEO where he has continued the exemplary work of forging international connections and strengthening UK science. Dr Bowsher retires on 31 March 2018.
STFC Chairman Professor Sir Michael Sterling said: “On behalf of STFC Council, and all our staff, I am absolutely delighted that Brian’s personal contribution to science and technology, especially metrology, has been recognised. It is a fitting tribute to a life time of achievement for which we should all be very thankful.”