Swansea University has presented an honorary degree to Swansea University alumnus Professor Dewi Meirion Lewis, one of the world’s leading physicists.
Professor Lewis was presented with the honorary doctorate today (26 July) during the degree ceremony for the College of Science.
Dewi Meirion Lewis graduated with a first-class honours degree in Physics from Swansea University in 1969. As an undergraduate, he was one of a group of student volunteers selected to form the University of Wales relief team that went into the mining disaster valley of Aberfan. He became the first Swansea University PhD student to start physics research on positrons, the antimatter of electrons.
After University, he became a Science Fellow at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva, Switzerland. He was later appointed engineer-in-charge of CERN’s first hadron collider, which at that time was the world’s most powerful particle accelerator. He brought his ‘atom-smasher’ expertise back into UK industry with Amersham International plc to develop and manufacture radioisotopes for medical applications. He went on to become an internationally acknowledged expert in radioactive pharmaceuticals using cyclotron accelerators and nuclear research reactors.
Professor Lewis was one of the first Western scientists ever to enter the Soviet secret city of Chelyabinsk-65, eventually creating a radioisotope joint venture company with the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry.
He organised the Brussels-based Isotope and Reactor Committee for several years and was nominated Vice President of AIPES, the European Industry Medical Imaging Association.
In 2010 he returned to Geneva as the CERN Industry Advisor and now works with UK universities and Government agencies as well as international companies. He is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales and the Institute of Physics and has an honorary chair at Swansea University’s College of Science.
On receiving his honorary award, Professor Lewis said: “I feel deeply honoured to receive this award from my ‘alma mater’. It does seem a long time ago since I first walked onto the Swansea University Singleton Campus carrying my student rucksack. The Department of Physics looked after me exceedingly well during my university days and provided the platform for a lifetime career working in physics. I have always stayed in contact with the Department and I am particularly indebted to my former mentor - the late Professor Colyn Grey-Morgan. Thank you again – Diolch yn fawr.”