Professor David MacKay, knighted for his services to scientific advice and outreachArchived DECC, Flickr

Three Cambridge-based academics are among the recipients listed in the 2016 New Year Honours, published last night.

Professors David MacKay and Alastair Compston of the University of Cambridge received a knighthood and a CBE respectively, while there was also an OBE for Professor Helen Odell-Miller of Anglia Ruskin University.

Professor MacKay - graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge - has held the Regius Professorship of Engineering at the Cambridge University Engineering Department since 2013 has been given a knighthood ‘for services to Scientific Advice in Government and Science Outreach.’

Serving as Chief Scientific Advisor to the fledgling Department of Energy and Climate Change between 2009 and 2014, MacKay rose to prominence following the publication of his 2008 book Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air, a self-proclaimed ‘straight talking book about the numbers’ of sustainable energy.

He dedicated it to ‘those who will not have the benefit of two billion years’ accumulated energy reserves.

The physicist recently weighed in on the Paris climate talks, co-penning an opinion piece in the international science journal Nature, which called for delegates to take heed of ‘the science of cooperation’ and advocated the introduction of ‘a global carbon-price commitment.’

The Department of Clinical Neurosciences’ Professor Emeritus of Neurology, Alastair Compston was rewarded for his ‘services to Multiple Sclerosis Treatment’ with a CBE.

Compston pioneered the use of the drug Alemtuzumab to treat MS, beginning his research in 1991. Twenty-two years later, in 2013, the drug was approved for use in treating the early stages of MS.

Elsewhere, Professor of Music Therapy and Director of the Music Therapy Research Centre at Anglia Ruskin University, Helen Odell-Miller was honoured for her work in music therapy, receiving an OBE.

Professor Odell-Miller has been active in researching, teaching and securing funding for therapies for adults with mental health issues such as dementia, depression and schizophrenia.

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