Met Office chief scientist becomes Dame in honours list

Prof Julia Slingo speaking at a conference (Image: WMO) Prof Slingo has been the chief scientist at the Met Office since 2009

The UK Met Office's chief scientist, Julia Slingo, has become a Dame in the New Year Honours List.

Prof Slingo was recognised for her services to weather and climate science.

Prof Greg Whyte, the sports scientist who has coached celebrities such as David Walliams and Eddie Izzard for Sport Relief, has become an OBE.

Other science awards include a knighthood for Adrian Bird, a geneticist at Edinburgh University.

Before becoming Met Office chief scientist in 2009, Prof Slingo was the director of climate research at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science based at the University of Reading, where she is still a visiting professor of meteorology.

Notable landmarks in her career of more than 30 years include becoming the UK's first female professor of meteorology and the first female president of the Royal Meteorological Society.

Prof Slingo said she was honoured, adding that it was also recognition of the "excellence of Met Office research and those we partner around the world".

She said: "The UK has been at the forefront of great advances in this field and, with continued investment, we can continue to lead the way."

The Met Office's chief executive, John Hirst, has also been recognised in the New Year Honours List and has been made a CBE.

Celebrity coach

Recognised as one of the country's leading sport scientists, Greg Whyte becomes an OBE.

Before embarking on his research career, Prof Whyte competed as a modern pentathlete at two Olympic Games.

Previous roles included being the director of research at the English Institute of Sport and for the British Olympic Association.

He became well known for coaching celebrities undertaking challenges for Sport or Comic Relief, including David Walliams swimming of the English Channel and Eddie Izzard running 43 marathons in 51 days.

Among the other scientists recognised in the New Year Honours is Adrian Bird, a professor of genetics at the University of Edinburgh, who has been knighted.

Prof Bird is group leader of the Bird Lab in the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, which has led research into the "biological mechanism" behind a rare type of autism known as Rett's syndrome.

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