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Peter Wildy Prize Past Winners

2020

Professor Graham Hatfull

The 2020 Peter Wildy Prize Lecture was awarded to Professor Graham Hatfull from the University of Pittsburgh, USA. 

"I am so delighted to receive the Peter Wildy Prize. It is a wonderful recognition of innovations in science education. Early-career undergraduates not only can but should engage in authentic research, advancing a key research area, enhancing student persistence in science, and promoting an inclusive scientific community. Much thanks to all of my colleagues who have successfully advanced these efforts."
 

2019

Professor Laura Bowater

Microbes, medicines and me

The 2019 Peter Wildy Prize Lecture was awarded to Professor Laura Bowater from the University of East Anglia, UK. 

“When you are a scientist and you receive an award like this it is important to recognize that it is not just you that has managed to get you to where you are, it’s other people.”

2018

Dr Tansy Hammarton

Explorations in microbiology: inspiring the next generation

The 2018 Peter Wildy Prize was awarded to Dr Tansy Hammarton from the University of Glasgow, UK. 

"I'm absolutely delighted and I feel very honoured that my work has been recognized and awarded in this way, especially considering that I have had so much fun doing it over the years."

 

 

2016

Professor Wendy Barclay

Influenza – a world of discoveries, outbreaks and controversy

The 2016 Peter Wildy Prize was awarded to Professor Wendy Barclay from Imperial College London, UK.

"I’m completely flattered; there are lots of people who do wonderful science communication. I’m lucky enough to have been picked, but there are so many others so I’m delighted."

2015

Dr Simon Park

Exploring The Invisible: adventures in art and microbiology

The 2015 Peter Wildy Prize was awarded to Dr Simon Park from the University of Surrey, UK.

“As a scientist dabbling in art, I’ve always felt slightly uncomfortable, as I’m bridging two disciplines. The award recognises that what I’m doing is making a difference and for that I am delighted.”

2014

Professor Stephen Curry

Science communication: a communicable disease?

The 2014 Peter Wildy Prize winner was Professor Stephen Curry from Imperial College London, UK. 

“I see it as a duty for scientifically literate citizens. As a publicly funded researcher, it’s important to show what we do with the money and give a good account of ourselves. I think it also opens science up to question from a different audience – the public is a lot more literate than many researchers would assume and a lot more interested too. For instance, I remember being very struck when I was doing the I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here! competition by the interest of the students and their enormous optimism for what science can do for the world.”

2013

Professor David Bhella

Beautiful and a little bit scary... viruses and science communication

The 2013 Peter Wildy Prize winner was Professor David Bhella from the University of Glasgow, UK.

"Thank you for this wonderful honour and opportunity to talk about the outreach programme that I have developed in Glasgow over the last decade."

2012

Professor Vincent Racaniello

Educating the World about Microbes

The 2012 Peter Wildy Prize winner was Professor Vincent Racaniello, Columbia University, USA.

2011

Professor Anthony Hilton

…But is it as Dirty as a Toilet Seat?

The 2011 Peter Wildy Prize winner was Professor Anthony Hilton, Aston University, UK.

2010

Dr Sue Assinder

How the Mushroom Got its Spots and Other Stories

The 2010 Peter Wildy Prize winner was Professor Dr Sue Assinder, London School of Tropical Medicine, UK.

2008

Dr Chris Smith

Stripping Down Science: The Naked Scientists

The 2008 Peter Wildy Prize winner was Dr Chris Smith, University of Cambridge, UK

2007

Dr Simon Cutting

Ten Years in Vietnam

The 2007 Peter Wildy Prize winner was Dr Simon Cutting, Royal Holloway University of London, UK.

2006

Professor Liz Sockett FRS

Not Just Germs - Bringing Bacteria to Life

The 2006 Peter Wildy Prize winner was Professor Liz Sockett, University of Nottingham, UK.

2005

Professor Jo Verran

Yes, but is it Microbiology? (Using Links Between Microbiology and Art in Undergraduate Programmes)

The 2005 Peter Wildy Prize winner was Professor Jo Verran, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.

2004

Professor Nick Thomson

Taking an Educated Guess: the ART of Whole Genome Analysis

The 2004 Peter Wildy Prize winner was Nick Thomson, Professor of Bacterial Genomics and Evolution at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK.

2003

Professor Richard Killington

Walking with the Viruses

The 2003 Peter Wildy Prize winner was Professor Richard Killington, University of Leeds, UK.

2002

Dr John Grainger

Heeding the Unseen: a Necessary Life Skill

The 2002 Peter Wildy Prize winner was Dr John Grainger, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK.

2001

Dr Alan Cann

Microbiology and the Web: a Nerd's Eye View

The 2001 Peter Wildy Prize winner was Dr Alan Cann, University of Leicester, UK.

 

The Early Days

The Microbiology Society was formally inaugurated on 16 February 1945 at a meeting in London. Sir Alexander Fleming was elected as the first President. The Society had its origins in the (then) Society of Agricultural Bacteriologists (founded in 1931): a number of members of that Society had wished to see a broadening of its interests and scope beyond agriculture, to embrace virology, medical and agricultural bacteriology, protozoology and mycology. Originally, the Society had just 241 members. The Society of Agricultural Bacteriologists later became Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM).

The first scientific meeting of the Society took place in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Cambridge on 5 July 1945, and included talks on malaria, flagellates, butanol fermentation and nitrogen fixation in clover root nodules. In 1946, the first of the continuing series of spring symposia was held. That first symposium was on the topic of ‘Virulence’, and in 1949, the symposium on ‘The nature of the bacterial surface’ became the first to be published in book form, a tradition which continued until 2006.

The Society’s first journal, Journal of General Microbiology, later renamed as Microbiology, first appeared in January 1947, and rapidly established an international reputation for the publication of high-quality fundamental research. The founding editors were A.A. (later Sir Ashley) Miles and B.C.J.G. Knight.

Peter Wildy: a short history

Early years

Peter Wildy (1920-1987) was first educated at Eastbourne College and went on to study medicine at the University of Cambridge and St Thomas's Hospital Medical School in London. He qualified with a Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons and Licentiate diploma (MRCS LRCP) in 1944 and Bachelor of Medicine, Standard Clinical Course (MB BChir) in 1948.

His earlier work was on bacteriology, but he quickly developed an interest in virology and after spending some time at the Institute for Medical Research in Melbourne, he carried out some pioneering genetic experiments with viruses.

Education

By 1959 he had set up a new Institute of Virology at the University of Glasgow, UK and acted as Senior Lecturer. As well as founding the institute he is also one of the original members of the country’s first major schools of research on herpes viruses. At this point he had established himself as a distinguished virologist and a charismatic teacher.

In 1963, Peter became Professor of Virology and Bacteriology at the University of Birmingham, where he put together an excellent herpes virology team. Clearly, the housekeeping chores of a university department occupied a lot of his time, but he still had the vision to introduce an MSc course in virology which was copied by several other universities.

A new journal

In 1963, Peter became Professor of Virology and Bacteriology at the University of Birmingham, where he put together an excellent herpes virology team. Clearly, the housekeeping chores of a university department occupied a lot of his time, but he still had the vision to introduce an MSc course in virology which was copied by several other universities.

At this time, he also started with Colin Kaplan a new journal, Journal of General Virology, which from its humble beginnings in 1967 became a well-established and well-regarded addition to the virology scene. As though that was not enough, together with Joseph Melnick of the USA he initiated the International Congresses of Virology.

 

 

Legacy

Due to his many contributions to microbiology, Peter was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1962. He served on the board of the Public Health Laboratory Service, as well as being an adviser to the World Health Organisation and a member of several governing bodies of research council institutes. His wide knowledge and equable personality led to his chairing many (perhaps too many) committees involved in rationalising British microbiology. 

In May 2000, the Society announced the launch of the Peter Wildy Prize Lecture, which would recognize individuals that had provided an outstanding contribution to microbiology education and communication in order to stimulate interest and understanding in the subject. 

Image credit: Wellcome Collection

 

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