Professor K K Phua, Director of Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS), Conferred Honorary Doctor of Science by University of Birmingham

Prof Phua Kok Khoo, Founding Director of IAS, was awarded an honorary doctoral degree by the University of Birmingham in recognition of his contribution to physics and scientific publishing.  The degree congregation ceremony was held at the Singapore Institute of Management on 8 November 2013.  Some of the Honorary Doctorate alumni include Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney (Literature, 1995), Rolf-Dieter Heuer (Director-General of CERN), Betty Boothroyd (British politician), Sir David Attenborough (British broadcaster and naturalist) and Benjamin Zephaniah (Poet and writer).

Congratulations, Prof Phua!


Acceptance Speech by Professor K K Phua
University of Birmingham
Honorary Graduation Ceremony
8 November 2013 (Friday)
SIM Headquarters (The Grand Hall)


Professor Edward Peck

Mr Patrick Fang


Graduates and Guests

It is my great honour and pleasure to be offered the honorary degree of the University of Birmingham.  I am most happy to accept it. 

I spent about 3 years in the Department of Mathematical Physics, University of Birmingham, for my PhD degree.  During that period, the Department of Mathematical Physics of the University of Birmingham was probably one of the best departments in Europe or in the world. 

I would like to pay tribute to 2 special persons.  I had the honour of knowing the late Professor Tony Skyrme who was the Head of Mathematical Physics in the mid 60’s to 80’s. He was an expert in nonlinear theory in nuclear physics, and his theory has become one of the most important theories in nuclear physics as well as  condensed matter and high energy physics.  Professor Tony Skryme definitely ranked as a Nobel class physicist due to his contributions.

The other professor that I would like to make special tribute to is Professor David Thouless, the inventor of the Thouless Phase Transition, which now forms one of the foundations of condensed matter physics.  Professor Thouless is currently based in US.  We hope Professor Thouless would be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in the forthcoming years.  Both of them spent more than 15 years and done their important work in University of Birmingham. 

These 2 professors are top physicists and they put University of Birmingham in the map of scientific research.  I am very fortunate and proud to be involved in late Professor Tony Skryme’s projects in a small way as a graduate student.  During that period, University of Birmingham made important contributions in physics because of the good environment, good team work and ample facilities for example, libraries and computer centre. 

You may be aware that University of Birmingham is heavily involved in the CERN-LHC Experiments and some of the members are playing a key role in the discovery of higgs boson which was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013. 

Once again, I would like to thank University of Birmingham for offering the honorary degree to me.  I will try my very best to contribute to the university.

Thank you !

Conferred University of Birmingham’s Honorary Doctoral DegreeAcceptance Speech by Professor K K Phua
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