A FORMER BBC presenter is one of six eminent figures to be awarded an honorary degree from Durham University next week.
Judith Hann, who presented the popular science programme Tomorrow’s World for 20 years, graduated from Durham in 1964 with an honours degree in zoology.
Editor of the student newspaper Palatinate during her time at university, Judith went on to train as a journalist and began a science column.
Her success has made her one of the UK’s leading science writers and broadcasters.
As well as presenting Tomorrow’s World and Watchdog Healthcheck, Judith has written and presented a number of radio programmes including BBC Radio 4’s Two’s A Crowd, about the science of personality, and a BBC2 series on the science of ageing.
Alongside her broadcasting success, Judith has a prolific writing career, selling more than a million copies of her latest book, How science works.
Recognised nationally and internationally, Judith has chaired conferences for the European Union and the government, and was a member of a government-appointed body offering policy advice on issues such as GM crops and animal cloning.
Her remarkable achievements in science and broadcasting are to be recognised next week, as she receives the honorary title of Doctor of Civil Law.
Judith said: “I spent some of the happiest years of my life in the North East and met some of my very best friends at university.
“Durham has always been the special place for me – the birthplace of my first son, Jake, and the home of my father and his family.
“Durham was a beautiful spot to study and Durham Cathedral is still my favourite building in the world.
“By editing the university newspaper I was introduced to the world of journalism – and science journalism has been the perfect career for me, writing and broadcasting.”
She receives the accolade alongside other Durham alumni, Reverend Ronald Lancaster, consultant to the Royal Household on pyrotechnics and speaker for the UK Fireworks industry; Mr Richard Monk OBE, the current United Nations Commissioner of Police for Kosovo; and acclaimed novelist, Lady Mary Stewart.
Also receiving awards are individuals with longstanding links to Durham University; Paul Ormerod, one of the founding directors of the scientific business consultancy service, Volterra, and Bishop Timothy Dudley-Smith, former president of the Evangelical Alliance.
The degree ceremonies, held in Durham Cathedral, will run from June 30 to July 3. Each honorary degree, to be conferred by Chancellor Bill Bryson, will be awarded as part of a student graduation ceremony.
Mr Bryson, who authored his own award-winning science book, A short history of nearly everything, added: “It’s a real joy for me to confer honorary degrees on such an impressive group of people.
“Each of these individuals is truly inspirational, their extraordinary achievements demonstrating just how wonderfully dedicated and passionate they are about their work.”