Scientists the toast of Society

By Marcus Dysch, December 4, 2008

Two world-renowned scientists have received prestigious awards from the Royal Society.

Sir Alan Fersht and Sir Philip Cohen were presented with the Royal Medals at a ceremony on Monday which marked the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society.

Only three of the silver gilt medals, also known as the Queen’s Medals, are awarded each year to those working within the Commonwealth.

Sir Alan, a Cambridge University professor, was given the accolade for his work in protein engineering.

The 65-year-old, who is also treasurer of Chabad of Cambridge, said: “I was absolutely delighted to get the medal. It is the third I have been given by the society and the highest so far.

“My work spans chemistry and biology. I do biomedical research on proteins and I’m currently working on new drugs to treat cancer.

“Phil and I go back a long way. We used to play chess against each other at university.”

He was knighted in 2003 for his services to protein science.
Sir Philip Cohen, who was born in Edgware, was recognised for his contribution to work on the understanding of cell functioning.

A biochemistry expert, the 63-year-old is a professor at Dundee University’s College of Life Sciences and was knighted in 1998 for his studies on cells and their effect on diabetes and cancer.

His wife, Lady Cohen, a professor in her own right, and their daughter, Dr Suzanne Cohen, were present at the ceremony.

Last updated: 2:12pm, December 4 2008