18 Jun 2007

Open University staff receive honours

Professor Nigel Mason

Professor Nigel Mason

Two Open University Professors have been honoured by Her Majesty The Queen in the birthday honours list announced at the weekend.

Professor Jane Aldgate

Professor Jane Aldgate

Nigel Mason, Professor of Physics was awarded an OBE for his services to science and Jane Aldgate, adviser on Child Welfare and Professor of Social Care was awarded an OBE for service to Children and Families.

Nigel said: "The award came as a complete surprise – particularly since it is only 20 years since I was awarded my PhD.

"Such awards are a testament not only to the individual but the colleagues with whom they work. Science is a collaborative enterprise and I have been extremely fortunate in having worked with a wonderful set of people over the years, not least at the OU and the Department of Physics and Astronomy. I hope we can all share in the merit".

Jane said: "It is very exciting news. It feels like recognition of 30 years of work.

"The research I do contributes to developments in policy and improving practice for children in need and in care and their families. It is an area where there is still a great deal to do. I hope this honour will help me to continue to make a difference in the lives of children and their families.

"The OU’s Faculty of Health and Social Care specialises in research about users of health and social care services so in a way, this honour reflects the work of the whole faculty."

Nigel joined The Open University from University College London in September 2002 as Professor of Molecular Physics. His research investigates the manipulation and control of the reactivity of molecules using electrons and photons with applications to atmospheric physics; astro-chemistry, plasma physics and radiation chemistry.

He is a leader of several international research networks involving more than 100 research groups in Europe, Australia and India. He has a long-term commitment to engaging the general public with science, through for example the British Association for the Advancement of Science and the Institute of Physics (where he is currently a Council member) and he is the inaugural Director of the Milton Keynes Science Festival, which will take place in July this year.

Jane has been with the OU since 1999 when she joined from Leicester University.

Her main area of research is Children in the Care System and in Foster and Kinship care. Since 2004, she has acted as an advisor to the Department of Health and the Scottish Executive on policy in these areas. Jane has also designed the conceptual framework for the post-qualifying Award in Child Care for social workers in England.

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