University of Glasgow: Physicist has been recognised in the New Year Honours for her services to science

Professor Sheila Rowan, director of the University’s Institute for Gravitational Research, was named Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). The CBE is her second honour, following her appointment as Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2011. Sheila Rowan

Professor Rowan played a leading role in the University’s contribution to the international Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) collaboration, which made the historic first detection of gravitational waves in September 2015.

She helped to develop the sophisticated mirror suspensions at the heart of the detectors which make the detections possible. She continues to lead the Glasgow team’s contributions to the fast-growing new field of gravitational wave astronomy.

Professor Rowan has also served as the Scottish Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland since June 2016.

Professor Rowan said: “I’m surprised but delighted to be included in the New Year Honours list for my work at the University of Glasgow’s Institute for Gravitational Research and as the Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland.

“During my career I’ve been lucky enough to work with hugely talented people, in the UK and from around the world, as part of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration which made the historic first detection of gravitational waves in September 2015 and established gravitational wave astronomy as a new way of understanding our universe. I’ve also been honoured to help support the Scottish Government on questions of science. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity, throughout my career, to work with great colleagues.”

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, said: “I’m pleased and proud that Professor Sheila Rowan has been appointed a CBE in the New Year Honours list.

“The first detection of gravitational waves, 100 years after Albert Einstein predicted their existence in his general theory of relativity, was a hugely significant scientific breakthrough. Professor Rowan’s leadership, drive and expertise played a big part in helping to make it happen, and on behalf of the entire University community I congratulate her on her well-deserved honour.”

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