The University of Southampton

Debrett’s honours Southampton luminaries in Engineering and Technology

Published: 23 January 2017
Professor Dame Wendy Hall and Professor Sir David Payne

The prestigious 2017 Debrett’s 500 of the most influential and inspiring people living and working in Britain today features a number of luminaries from the University of Southampton’s Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, which includes Electronics & Computer Science and the Optoelectronics Research Centre.

Professor Dame Wendy Hall and Professor Sir David Payne are joined by Visiting Professor Liam Maxwell on Debrett’s list of leaders in Engineering and Technology alongside Andrew Wolstenholme, OBE, who is Chief Executive of Crossrail and a Southampton graduate.

Compiled in consultation with independent expert practitioners and commentators in each of the categories, The Debrett’s 500 was launched in 2014 to identify and celebrate the most influential people in British society. All the people in the Debrett’s 500 are scrutinised for their level of influence in shaping the lives, choices and ideas of others. Dame Wendy has featured in every Debrett’s 500 list since its launch; 2017 marks the third year running for Sir David and Maxwell on the list.

Described as ‘a leading light in the development of web services’, Dame Wendy is recognised by Debrett’s for her pioneering role as one of the first computer scientists to embark on serious research into multi- and hyper-media technologies before the existence of the World Wide Web. A Professor of Computer Science within Electronics & Computer Science, Dame Wendy also draws praise as a founding director of the Web Science Research Initiative (now the Web Science Trust) with web pioneer Sir Tim Berners-Lee, an Honorary Professor at the University of Southampton.

Sir David, Director of the University’s Optoelectronics Research Centre and Zepler Institute, features in Debrett’s for the far-reaching impact of his invention, the erbium-doped fibre amplifier – “widely regarded as one of the most important developments in modern communications” which “facilitated the internet’s rapid growth through fast transmission and amplification of large amounts of data.”

A Visiting Professor within Electronics and Computer Science, Liam Maxwell became the UK’s first national technology adviser in 2016 after serving as the government’s Chief Technology Officer. He is credited with the digital transformation of the UK government.

Baroness Martha Lane-Fox of Soho, Chair of the digital skills charity Go ON UK and recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Southampton, features on Debrett’s list of the UK’s Digital & Social leaders. Baroness Lane-Fox, co-founder of the successful website, has worked for many years to help make the UK the most digitally-skilled nation in the world.

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