Sir David Attenborough given SfAM Fellowship

03 Nov 2018

Sir David Attenborough given SfAM Fellowship

The Executive Committee of the Society for Applied Microbiology is delighted to present Sir David Attenborough with Fellowship of the Society. This is in recognition of the role he has played in raising the profile of the importance of microorganisms in the environment, as well as his invaluable contribution towards highlighting the urgent need to protect our oceans. Sir David will be formally awarded SfAM fellowship later in November.

The pressing issue of sustainable seas and the role microbes play in these ecosystems, has become a priority for SfAM and we continue to inform on this topic. The SfAM team have interviewed several principal investigators from Universities across the UK, including Warwick, Birmingham, Oxford, Leicester, Cambridge, Kingston, Dundee and Coventry. All those we spoke to have encountered ebullient PhD students who have been motivated by the work of Sir David. In two cases, his work inspired the formation of new research project ideas.

Sir David Attenborough is arguably the United Kingdom’s best-loved naturalist and natural history broadcaster. Over the past 60 years, Sir David has expertly educated audiences across the globe about the astonishingly diverse microbial life forms that inhabit our world. The innovative and ground-breaking episode Arrival, from the First Life with David Attenborough series (BBC 2010), gives us a perfect example: through wonderful storytelling and astonishing photography, Sir David explains the origins of life, reminding us all that we are merely inhabitants of what is in fact a microbial world.

In 1980, Sir David was honoured by the Open University with whom he has maintained a close association throughout his career. By January 2013, Sir Attenborough had collected 32 honorary degrees from British universities, more than any other individual. Looking beyond academia, in 1974 Sir David was honoured with a CBE (Commander of the British Empire), which was followed by a knighthood in 1985. He is also the only person to have won a BAFTA for works in black and white, colour, HD and 3D; a truly astounding achievement! The Society is honoured on this occasion to officially recognise Sir David’s many contributions to microbiology and the wider scientific community.