Academy Alumnus Professor Stephen Smartt CBE FRS has been appointed the Philip Wetton Chair of Astrophysics at Christ Church College, Oxford. The Philip Wetton Chair was created in 2002 to attract a world-class experimental astrophysicist. Professor Smartt, is currently at Queen’s University Belfast and is a world-leading authority on exploding stars and unusual transients in the Universe and runs large sky survey projects. He is a pioneer in the field of digital time domain sky surveys and has led several international projects to uncover an unexpected diversity in the physics of stellar death. He discovered some of the Universe’s most luminous supernovae and played a leading role in the discovery and physical understanding of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave source.
He was awarded the Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal in the Physical and Mathematical Sciences in 2018 as well as the Royal Astronomical Society’s George Darwin lectureship. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2020.
Professor Geoff Beattie has recently been appointed as a visiting Scholar at the University of Oxford’s Centre of Life Writing. Geoff is a Professor of psychology at Edge Hill University and is the author of 26 books in addition to being a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, the Royal Society of Medicine and the Royal Society of Arts. He has also presented a number of psychology-related TV series on BBC1, ITV and Channel 4. He attended BRA in the late sixties and early seventies before undertaking a PhD at Trinity College, Cambridge.
Academy alumna, Professor Janice Carruthers has recently been made a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French Ambassador to the UK. Janice is Professor of French Linguistics and Dean of Research within the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Queen’s University Belfast. Her research focuses on the structure and evolution of the French language and on language and identity in France. This international honour is fitting recognition of Professor Carruther’s dedication to developing French culture, and French language education over many years. Her exceptional and innovative vision and leadership have not only made Queen's a leader in the field, but have also paved the way for new and exciting research collaborations
Former pupil Dr. Patricia D. Jackson OBE., FRCPCH has recently been honoured with her election as President of the Scottish Paediatric Society in this, its Centenary Year. After leaving BRA, Patricia qualified in Medicine from the University of Edinburgh, and then trained in Paediatrics specialising in neuro-developmental disorders. She was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in June 2017 for services to children with additional support needs and charity. Dr Jackson continues teaching and researching and works with several children’s organisations on a voluntary basis. She is proud to have been a founder member of CHAS (Children’s Hospices Across Scotland), is a Board member of ‘The Yard’ an adventure playground for children with special needs, Vice Chair of Down Syndrome Scotland, and past Vice Convener of Children in Scotland. Patricia would be delighted to hear from any alumni living and working in Scotland particularly those with a shared interest in children and young people’s health.
We would like to congratulate former pupil, Miss Amanda McCabe, FRCS (paeds), on her recent appointment to the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh. Amanda left Belfast Royal Academy in 1987 to study Medicine at Nottingham University and has been a consultant paediatric surgeon for 13 years, based at Ninewells Hospital Dundee and the Royal Hospital for Children and Young Adults in Edinburgh.
In November 2020 Stephen Bailie, Principal of Parkhall Primary School, Antrim, was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to education and the community during the Covid pandemic. Stephen led the creation of a local hub which supported 11 schools within the Antrim and Randalstown area and, in so doing, provided a lifeline in supporting families with key workers.
If you would like to host a reunion for your class, please get in touch with the Alumni Office who can provide guidance and support when setting up the event.