Jesuan awarded New Year Honours
Former Jesus Fellow Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe has been awarded an MBE in the 2022 New Year's Honours for his contributions to Science, Astronomy and Astrobiology.
The New Year Honours List recognises those who have made achievements in public life or committed themselves to serving and helping Britain.
Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe, a former Fellow of Jesus College and a Founder Member of the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge (1963-1973) is a pioneer of the theory that life originated in space. He was awarded an MBE in the 2022 UK New Year’s Honours list for his contributions to Science, Astronomy and Astrobiology.
Sri Lankan-born Professor Wickramasinghe has been an Honorary Professor at the University of Buckingham since 2011 and is a world-renowned astrophysicist and a pioneer of astrobiology. In 1992 he was conferred the national Sri Lankan titular honour of Vidya Jyothi.
Professor Wickramasinghe was a Professor at Cardiff University from 1973 to 2010 and continues to live with his family in Cardiff. He has a steady output of research journal publications as well as books, actively collaborating with scientists around the world. He has published over 350 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals and over 30 books. He is currently an Honorary Professor both at Ruhuna University in Sri Lanka as well as at the National Institute of Fundamental Studies in Sri Lanka.
In the 1970s, together with the late Sir Fred Hoyle, Chandra Wickramasinghe first proposed the theory of cometary panspermia - the theory that comets carry the seeds of life (bacteria and viruses) and that life is distributed throughout the Universe. Life on Earth began with the introduction of bacteria from comets 4200 million years ago and its subsequent evolution was spurred on with the continuing arrival of new microbiota from space. This theory which was considered controversial in the beginning is now moving fast into the mainstream of science. Discoveries in astronomy, geology and biology continue to provide evidence in support this theory.