Professor Paul MellarsMichael Derringer

Five Cambridge academics have received recognition in the Queen’s New Years Honours List, including a knighthood for a Fellow at Corpus Christi College.

Professor Paul Mellars, the Professor of Prehistory and Human Evolution at the Department of Archaeology, received a knighthood for his services to scholarship. Speaking to Varsity, Prof Mellars said: "It came as a total shock and surprise when I received the slightly ominous looking brown envelope from the Cabinet Office a couple of months ago.

"I attribute a lot of the work I've done to the 30 years of stimulating contacts with the astonishingly gifted and keen students we have in Cambridge - as well as the support of my academic colleagues." He continued: "Teaching is a two way process - you get out of it what you put into it."

Professor Mellars is an expert on the evolution and behaviour of early humans, and has published a wide variety of research papers and books on aspects of early human society. His recent research focuses on how Neanderthal populations were gradually replaced by modern Homo-sapiens.

After studying archaeology at Fitzwilliam College, Prof Mellars was appointed as a lecturer in Archaeology at Sheffield University before returning to the Department of Archaeology at Cambridge in 1981, becoming a Fellow at Corpus in the same year.  He is a Fellow of the British Academy, and won the Academy’s Grahame Clark Medal in 2008 for his work on early human history.

Other academics recognised in the Honours List include Professor Robert James Mair, the Master of Jesus College and Professor of Geotechnical Engineering, who is made a CBE for services to engineering.

Professor Mair’s research includes work on Underground Construction, and has led to his involvement on projects such as the Jubilee Line extension for London Underground and the Channel Tunnel rail link. He has also contributed to railway tunnel projects in cities across Europe.

Dr Andrew Herbert, Fellow of Wolfson College and the managing director of Microsoft Research in Cambridge, is awarded an OBE for services to computer science.

Dr Peter Clarkson, emeritus associate at the Scott Polar Research Institute (a sub-department of the Department of Geography at the University), and Mr David Duke, principal technician at the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, are each awarded MBEs for services to science.

Other recipients in Cambridgeshire include Michael Marshall CBE, the chairman of aviation and military vehicle engineering firm Marshall of Cambridge, who is knighted for services to business, charity and the community.  The Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire Police, Julie Spence OBE, receives the Queen’s Police Medal.