Your Majesty, Fellows of the Royal Society
To be standing here as the Royal Society’s most junior Fellow, on the 350th Anniversary of the founding of this, the World’s most illustrious scientific body is, quite simply, the most extraordinary honour for me.
I have to say that, if I look at the names of some of the Society’s great Fellows – Boyle, Newton , Banks, Darwin and our current President, Lord Rees – butterflies do flutter in my stomach a little.
It’s not just a great honour. It’s also incredibly exciting, as I am acutely aware of how vital science is to the life of this nation, and to the world. My generation will have to engage with science more fully, perhaps, than any that has preceded it. It will be through science, after all, that the world will meet and overcome the challenges of climate change, food security, water scarcity, and pandemic disease.
Science on its own, though, is not the whole answer. Its practice must be in partnership with this total engagement of my own and future generations. It is through the genius and example of the great scientists gathered here today, and those, like the University Research Fellows, who will join our Fellowship over the coming decades, that ultimate success will, I’m sure, be achieved.
It means a great deal to me to be following in the footsteps of not only the Patron, my grandmother, but also my grandfather and father who, incidentally, were both 29 years old when they were admitted to the Society. I am 28 – which just shows what a Geography degree can do!
I am so proud of my family's long and close association with the Society, and I am equally proud to have been given the opportunity to carry on that great tradition.
Thank you, Fellows, for this great privilege.