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Archive of wonderful things

The invention of a game-changing laser

In 1986, Alf Adams invented the strained quantum well laser – considered to be one of the top ten greatest UK scientific breakthroughs of all time.

Surrey’s Distinguished Professor of Physics

In recognition of this pioneering work, Alf Adams was awarded the Duddell Medal and Prize in 1995, elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1996 and received the Rank Prize in 2014.

“Adams essentially made the digital world we live in possible. His discovery is the ‘strained quantum well laser’ – or the lasers that power the internet, CDs, DVDs, computer mice and supermarket checkouts, to name but a few.”
Stephen Sweeney, The Guardian, February 2012

Alf Adams Lecture Series

The Alf Adams Lecture Series was established in 2012 to showcase the University of Surrey’s groundbreaking research.

Professor Adams gave the inaugural lecture, Semiconductor Lasers Take The Strain, held at The Royal Society.

Learn more about Professor Adams and our Department of Physics, and read our press release about the top ten greatest UK scientific breakthroughs of all time.

Home of the E.H. Shepard Archive

In 1974, E.H. Shepard, illustrator of Winnie-the-Pooh and Wind in the Willows, donated his personal collection to the University of Surrey archives.

Born on 10 December 1879 Ernest Howard Shepard, MC, OBE was to become one of the 20th century’s most well-known black-and-white illustrators in the Victorian tradition. His iconic drawings of Pooh bear, Tigger, Mole, Ratty, Toad and Badger, through collaboration with two of the greats of children’s literature – A.A Milne and Kenneth Graham – are recognised and loved worldwide.

The Surrey connection

E.H. Shepard lived in Guildford and the surrounding area for much of his adult life and the University of Surrey is now the guardian of a captivating collection of personal correspondence; business papers; family photographs; and original artwork. This includes precious childhood drawings on the back of school homework which show evidence of his early talent as an artist and memorabilia from his time as an officer in the First World War.

Learn more about E.H. Shepard.

Visit the Archives

Anyone is welcome to visit the University's Archives & Special Collections.

For opening times and further information, visit the University of Surrey archives website.

Support for sporting excellence

In 2012, Surrey alumna Margaret Adeoye made her Olympic debut in the 200m sprint at London 2012.

Margaret, a Business Management graduate, won the 200m at the Olympic trials before stepping out onto the Olympic Stadium track in front of a fervent crowd of 80,000 people. Her semi-final time of 23.28 seconds only narrowly kept her out of the Olympic final.

Inspired, she went on to compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Home to Olympic talent and facilities

Although her athletics career has taken her onto the biggest stage of all, it was while at the University of Surrey that Margaret began to hone her sporting talent. She graduated in 2010, the year our £34 million Surrey Sports Park opened.

Equipped with world-class sports facilities, Surrey Sports Park supported the training of Margaret and 17 Olympic and Paralympic nations ahead of London 2012. It has hosted Harlequins Rugby Union, the England Men’s and Women’s Rugby squads, England Cricket, Great Britain Women’s Basketball, England Netball, Swansea City FC as well as athletes including Chemmy Alcott, Ben Ainslie, Denise Lewis, Louis Smith, Ellie Simmonds, and Alistair and Jonny Brownlee.

“The facilities at Surrey now are just amazing and it’s good to see that they are being used by young kids. Having access to [a facility] like Surrey Sports Park is definitely going to inspire the next generation.”
Margaret Adeoye, Olympic runner

Sport at Surrey

Offering a range of Olympic-standard facilities, a gym and a wide range of team sports and classes, Surrey Sports Park is open to all. Learn more.

Watch the video to see the facilities and find out more about Team Surrey, the sporting arm of the University Students’ Union.

The car created from a crisis

In 1957, distinguished alumnus, Sir Alec Issigonis designed the Mini.

Nearly 60 years after it first launched, the Mini has become a cultural symbol synonymous with Britain, as loved as a cup of tea or a red phone box. More than a car, it became a fashion icon that owners could personalise - it was even a film star in its own right thanks to the Beatle’s Magical Mystery Tour and The Italian Job.

Student engineer

A student of engineering at Battersea Polytechnic (the University of Surrey’s predecessor) Sir Alec was, surprisingly, not adept at mathematics. He once stated that, ‘Pure mathematics was the enemy of every truly creative man’.

Radical design

In 1957, in response to the Suez Oil Crisis, Issigonis’ employer – the British Motor Corp – set him a challenge to design a small, fuel-efficient car.

His radical design used a transverse engine to power the vehicle’s front wheels and could comfortably seat four passengers in a remarkably small 10 feet (3 metre) long chassis.

Launched in 1959, the affordable Mini became instantly popular. Over five million Minis were sold before Sir Alec Issigonis’ death in 1988.

Read Sir Alec’s profile in the Automotive Hall of Fame.

Mechanical engineering at Surrey

Surrey has a long history of mechanical engineering teaching and offers a range of degrees with specialisms including aerospace, automotive and medical engineering.

Learn more about our mechanical engineering degrees and research within the Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences.

Setting new standards to tackle vitamin D deficiency

In 2016, Surrey’s research into the vitamin D needs of ethnic communities in the UK - and our discovery that animal-based sources are the most effective forms of the nutrient - informed Public Health England’s new national guidelines on vitamin D.

Vitamin D guidelines

The guidelines recommend an intake of 10 micrograms daily and that supplements are taken during winter months when we are unable to synthesise vitamin D ourselves from sun exposure.

They were based on recommendations from a large-scale review of research, including that conducted by Surrey, and a full risk assessment undertaken by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), of which Surrey’s Professor Susan-Lanham New is a member.

Read the full Vitamin D report by the Government’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition.

Levels of vitamin D deficiency in Britain are now recognised as being the highest they’ve been in 50 years. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone pain, muscle ache and lethargy, and more seriously, osteoporosis in adults and poor bone growth or rickets in children.

The impact of deficiency

“What we have now shown is you don’t make enough (vitamin D) in summer to last you through the winter. Vitamin D does not last as long in the body as was once thought and lifestyles now mean we don’t get the same amount of sunlight exposure – we don’t go outside as much, when we do we tend to cover up, and sun cream blocks vitamin D manufacture.”
Professor Susan Lanham-New, Researcher and Head of the Department of Nutritional Science

Nutrition research with real world impact

Learn more about our research in the field of biosciences and medicine - including our study that revealed that timing your exercise and meals can lead to weight loss.

Explore our courses in the field of food, nutrition and dietetics.

The appointment of the UK's first female professor of physics

In 1971, Daphne Jackson became the first female professor of physics in the UK.

Daphne Jackson’s career at the University of Surrey began when she moved to Battersea College of Technology to begin her research in theoretical nuclear physics.

She was appointed the University of Surrey’s first professor of physics in 1971, and later became the Dean of the Faculty of Science.

A campaigner for women in science

Professor Jackson’s academic contributions were eclipsed by her fervent campaigning for the careers of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

She often met talented women who were forced to take on low-level jobs when returning to the workplace after a career break as they could not return to research at the right level without retraining and publications.

This inspired her to develop a fellowship scheme to address this issue and a pilot programme designed to help them return to their chosen careers.

“Daphne Jackson was an amazing lady, and quite an inspiration and mentor to me in my career, so the fact that I have come full circle from my degree and PhD at Surrey to now running the Daphne Jackson Trust makes it very personal for me, and something I am passionate about. I think Daphne would be very proud of what her Fellowships have accomplished.”
Dr Katie Perry, Chief Executive, Daphne Jackson Trust and University of Surrey alumna

The Daphne Jackson Trust

The Daphne Jackson Trust, established in 1992 after her death, continues Professor Jackson’s work.

It has now helped over 300 female and male STEM researchers successfully return to their careers through fellowships.

Learn more about the Daphne Jackson Trust and meet more of our inspiring women.

Going for gold at the Invictus Games

In 2016, Surrey’s own Andy Kelsey, a technician within the School of English and Languages won gold in cycling at the Invictus Games.

The Invictus Games bring together competitors from 13 nations to help inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and promote understanding for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women.

A Surrey sporting hero

Andy served in the RAF as aircrew and was injured while on duty, resulting in damage to his spinal cord and brain.

While a member of British Cycling’s world class performance programme, he was invited to attend trials for the first Invictus Games in 2014 in London.

Andy won two silver medals at these inaugural games so was delighted when he went one better by winning gold at the 2016 event in Orlando, Florida.

Sport at Surrey

The University’s Surrey Sports park offers world-leading sporting opportunities for students, staff and the public.

A regular host to Harlequins Rugby Union, the Sports Park was selected as an official London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Training Base, which saw it host 17 nations for training camps.

Watch the video to see our amazing facilities and find out what it's like to be part of the Students’ Union’s Team Surrey.

Learn more about Sport at Surrey.

The supersonic legacy of Surrey’s first Pro-Chancellor

In 1966, Sir George Edwards, leader of the British design team for the Concorde, was appointed the University’s first Pro-Chancellor...

Sir George Edward’s outstanding 40-year contribution to aviation cannot be overstated.

A world-class engineer and industrial leader, his career spanned the design and development of biplanes and the Vickers Wellington Bomber (a mainstay for the RAF in disarming magnetic mines in home waters during the Second World War), to passenger aircraft and, finally, the supersonic Concorde.

The creator of Concorde

Edwards was knighted in 1957 and elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1968. His contribution to British aviation, particularly his participation in the development of the Concorde, was acknowledged by appointment to the Order of Merit in 1971.

“My Father was very proud of his association with Surrey University. From its birth from Battersea College of Advanced Technology his mission was to produce excellent engineers and scientists.  In his own words: ‘The university was not simply a factory for turning out technologists, but citizens capable of making a contribution to the nation's welfare’. 

He remained close to the University right up until his death in 2003.”
Angela Newton, Daughter of Sir George Edwards

Mechanical Engineering at Surrey

Surrey has a long history of mechanical engineering teaching and offers a range of degrees with specialisms including aerospace, automotive and medical engineering.

Learn more about our mechanical engineering degrees and research within the Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences.

Saving a forgotten language

In 2007, Surrey’s linguists created a modern dictionary and online resource for Archi, an endangered language spoken by about 1,200 people in the remote highlands of Dagestan, Russia.

This permanent record is not just of day-to-day language, but of cultural artefacts, giving pride and strength to a community's cultural identity.

Explore the Archi dictionary and learn more about the research.

Preserving language diversity

Language is probably our most uniquely human attribute, and the study of language offers insight into both the way the mind works and the way people interact with each other and their environment. Preserving language diversity is a crucial step in maintaining cultural diversity and heritage, and to keeping open important channels of scientific enquiry.

Language research at Surrey

It is estimated that 50% of the world's languages will die out in the next 100 years, a loss which will impoverish us all.

The Surrey Morphology Group, led by Professor Greville Corbett – a world expert in the subject, concentrates on some of the most complex and interesting languages in the world.

Besides Archi, group members have recently worked with speakers of languages spoken in Mexico, Nepal, Senegal, South Sudan, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Belarus and Finland, as well as engaging in large-scale typology research embracing hundreds of other languages.

Interested in learning a language?

We offer a range of evening language classes taught on our Campus in Guildford.

Languages offered include Chinese, French, German, Italian and Russian. You can also learn British Sign Language.

Find out more.

The 5G revolution

In 2015, we opened the £70 million 5G Innovation Centre, Europe’s the largest academic research hub dedicated to the development of the next generation of mobile and wireless communications.

What is 5G?

Capable of handling our ever-increasing demand for mobile data, 5G will provide 'Internet of Things' connectivity and control for billions of devices and trillions of applications.

It is yet to be seen exactly how 5G will change our lives.

Our vision is that cars will act like smartphones on wheels that can park themselves and collect you at the end of the day. Data about our health and well-being will be collected constantly so that we can predict disease before we get sick. And while you ride on a digitally controlled rail network, you can play chess with a friend in Edinburgh on a holographic board.

It’s not science fiction – it’s happening today as we speak. All we need to think about are the realms of possibility.

5G at Surrey

Bringing together leading academic expertise and an unrivalled number of industry partners, the 5GIC will help to define and develop the 5G infrastructure that will define how we interact with our digital world.

It’s the only centre in the world with a large scale, campus-wide testbed capability for research and innovation.

“The development of 5G presents a significant economic opportunity and this world-leading centre will position the UK at the forefront of research into the next generation of communications technology. The Government wants Britain to be the best place in Europe to innovate and we are committed to supporting collaborations like this one to ensure pioneering research continues to improve people’s lives.”Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities and Science

Discover more about 5G at Surrey.

Award winning architecture

The iconic Duke of Kent building was officially opened by its namesake, HRH The Duke of Kent, Chancellor of the University, in 2000.

A hub for healthcare training

Providing the ideal learning environment for those at the forefront of healthcare, the completion of the building – named one of the top 100 buildings in the world by Concrete Society and winner of the Guildford Heritage Award and the Guildford Society Award - drew local and national attention to the wider campus renaissance.

Speaking at the launch, former Vice-Chancellor, Professor Patrick Dowling, said: “It is one of the best-equipped centres for health research and education in England.”

Iconic design

The 7,500sqm building was designed by architects Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners and looms over the lake like the prow off a ship, its shape reminiscent of a giant ocean liner. Visible across the town, the Duke of Kent stands on the edge of campus on the pedestrian route between Guildford town, the University and the Cathedral as a linking point for the three areas.

Today the building is equipped with the latest facilities responding to the fast changing pace of health care needs to deliver safe patient care in the practice setting.

Healthcare courses at Surrey

Did you know? Over 9,400 nurses, midwives, paramedics and operating department practitioners have been trained at Surrey?

Read about a typical week in the life of a student nurse at Surrey and explore all of our degrees in the field of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Sciences.

Visit the University

Our self-guided campus tour will enable you to take yourself around campus and see our distinctive buildings and art.

You can download the self-guided tour or get a printed copy of the brochure from Reception on the ground floor of Senate House, Monday to Friday between 8:30am and 5:30pm.

It is advisable to follow the tour between 9am and 5pm when most University facilities will be open for you to see.

We also run weekly guided campus tours for prospective students.

The fingerprint drug detection test

In 2015, mass spectrometry techniques developed at Surrey resulted in a new technique that can detect if someone has used cocaine from a single fingerprint.

This research is now paving the way for simple, and potentially portable, drug testing methods that will have far-reaching impacts for law enforcement agencies and the billion-pound, global drug testing market.

How the test works

Someone who has taken cocaine will excrete traces of benzoylecgoine and methylecgonine from their skin. The test works by spraying a beam of solvent onto the fingerprint slide (a technique known as Desorption Electrospray Ionisation, or DESI) to determine if these substances were present. DESI has been used for a number of forensic applications, but no other studies have shown it to demonstrate drug use.

“The beauty of this method is that, not only is it non-invasive and more hygienic than testing blood or saliva, it can’t be faked. By the very nature of the test, the identity of the subject is captured within the fingerprint ridge detail itself.” Dr Melanie Bailey, Lead researcher and Lecturer in Analytical and Forensic Science

Successful trials

Dr Melanie Bailey and her colleagues are now working with a company to develop the test further for practical application outside the lab, with recent trials showing a 100 per cent success rate in confirming positive samples.

Tests for other drugs

Research is taking place to widen its use to other drugs such as heroin.

The technique has also received ethical approval for further development as a non-invasive test to help health authorities ensure that patients are compliant when taking medication for infectious diseases such as tuberculosis.

Watch the Sky News report into the research.

Home of The Supervet

Professor Noel Fitzpatrick is the director of Fitzpatrick Referrals, the UK’s premier small animal surgery referral centre, and was a key member of the team who conceived and founded the University’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

The Supervet

Noel, Professor of Orthopaedics at the School of Veterinary Medicine, is well known as Channel 4’s The Supervet for his pioneering surgical techniques, including the most advanced bionic limb prostheses in the world today.

He said: “When a small group of people discussed a possible new Vet School, we felt there was only one reason big enough to do it – to light an unquenchable fire for the greater good of society and the planet. That’s what it’s about for me – making the world a better place for one animal and one human who loves that animal – and inspiring others to do the same.

“Animals have given me way more than I have ever given them. I strongly believe that drugs and implants should be studied in the same way as diseases in animals and man so that all win, rather than just the conventional model of animals as a model for human disease. “My mission is convergence of purpose such that ‘one medicine’ is a two-way street. This has underpinned my clinical practice, The Humanimal Trust charity I founded and the University Vet School.”

Learn more about Noel Fitzpatrick and the School of Veterinary Medicine.

Noel Fitzpatrick interview

Watch our ‘Jim meets… Noel Fitzpatrick’ film to learn more about The Supervet and his work at Surrey.

Regius Professorship for electronic engineering

In 2013, the University of Surrey’s Electronic Engineering Department received the prestigious Regius Professorship.

The Regius title, a rare privilege, was bestowed on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, marking 60 years since her ascension to the throne.

Twelve outstanding universities were presented with this internationally recognised hallmark, which honours the exceptional high quality of teaching and research in different disciplines.

Awarded by The Queen

A Regius Professorship can only be awarded by the British Monarch, and just two were created in the previous hundred years.

The University of Surrey is the only university in the country to be awarded the title for Electronic Engineering, a clear recognition of the Department’s stature and outstanding achievements.

Learn more about the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and discover our electrical and electronic engineering degrees.

The UK’s first tourism degree

Rik Medlik - the UK’s first Professor of Hotel and Catering Administration - had a vision. As early as the 1950s and 1960s he saw that the future of Britain lay in the service industry, rather than manufacturing.

The University of Surrey embraced this vision, appointing him as Professor in this field. Our first tourism short course commenced in 1967, with the first tourism degree launching in 1972.

Surrey tourism graduates

Rik Medlik’s foresight was well realised; the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management is ranked number one in the UK by the Guardian University Guide 2017 and 2017, and has been in the world’s top four schools since 1980.

Our 8,000 graduates can be found in the best hotels, restaurants and tourist destinations across the globe.

Learn more about the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and discover our degrees in tourism, events, hospitality and transport.

Cracking the code of love

In 1996, Surrey mathematician Dr Philip Aston, deciphered an old diary written in numerical code.

It revealed the experiences of RAF Squadron Leader Donald Hill while he was held as a prisoner of the Japanese during the battle for Hong Kong in WWII, helping his wife understand a time in his life he refused to speak of.

Forbidden record

Donald had written his diary in code as he was forbidden to keep such a record, and titled it Russels Mathematical Tables so that he could smuggle it home. The diary was brought to Dr Aston by Donald’s wife, Pamela, who had waited ten years after his death to have the diary decoded so that she should finally learn her husband’s story.

Dr Aston was not a cryptologist, so through research into old coding styles, and with the help of a computer, he spent eight months deciphering the twelve-page document, slowly revealing a story of a terrible time in history.

Discover how Dr Aston decoded the diary.

Book and film

The story of the diary, and Pamela’s quest to understand it, were translated into a book: The Code of Love by Andro Linklater, and later a musical written by a Surrey Mathematics student.

Learn more about our maths degrees and the Department of Mathematics.

Adding £1.7 billion to the economy

In 2016, A BiGGAR Economics report revealed that the University of Surrey and its Research Park generated £1.7 billion Gross Value Added (GVA) and supported 17,312 jobs across the UK during the 2014/15 academic year.

Local benefits

When looked at in detail, this equates to £943.3 million GVA and 10,644 jobs in the Borough of Guildford; and £1.1 billion GVA and 12,998 jobs in the County of Surrey.

Measurable impact

The measurable economic impact of the University and Research Park comes from nine main areas of activity: daily operations, medical research, learning impacts, Surrey Sports Park, student impacts, tourism, business engagement, commercialisation and innovation and enterprise.

However, the economic impacts of the University of Surrey go beyond these areas and include supporting the development of innovation through our approach to research and business engagement, contributing to the health and wellbeing of Surrey residents through the Surrey Sports Park, and the creation of the new School of Veterinary Medicine which is integrating the local animal health sector into developing our research and future graduates.

Learn more about our impact and work with the local community.

An alumna who became President

In 2015, Surrey graduate Ameenah Gurib-Fakim became the first female President, Head of State and Commander in Chief of Mauritius.

Chemistry graduate

After completing her chemistry degree and PhD at Surrey, Ameenah returned to Mauritius as a researcher. She was subsequently appointed Professor, Dean and Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Mauritius.

There was no support structure in place to enable her to continue her work in organic chemistry on the island so in 2010 she set up her own company, CIDP Research & Innovation, dedicated to researching the medical and nutritive qualities of the indigenous plants of Mauritius.

A pioneer for women in science

Ameenah has received many awards including the L’Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science, the African Union Award for Women in Science, the Legion d’honneur from the French Government and the Vice Chancellor’s Alumni Award for 2015 from the University of Surrey.

However, for Ameenah the true measure of her success will be overcoming the educational barriers girls still face.

A champion for equality

This passion for education was instilled in Ameenah by her parents, who believed girls should be treated no differently to boys at a time when this was not common practice.

Ameenah said: “When I was a child, education was not free and so parents who were not well-off made the choice to educate the boys – socially it was the thing to do. For my father it was completely out of the question that only my brother would be educated at that level. The support of my family to say ‘yes you have choices’ has been pivotal to my career.”

As a researcher, entrepreneur and passionate education advocate, Ameenah is using her role to make a real difference to the education of girls and the prosperity of the region.

“This position is a game-changer, not for me because I am beyond that, but for girls out there to see a role model who says you can achieve.”

Surrey alumni

Did you know Surrey has a worldwide community of over 100,000 former students?

Visit our dedicated Alumni website to learn more about our network and other notable alumni.

Share your story

If you’re a Surrey alumni, we’d love to hear about your time with us.

Share your memories.

Foresight that challenged the language and thinking of economists around the world

In 2001, alumnus Lord Jim O'Neill of Gatley coined ‘BRIC’. The acronym refers to the countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China, four rapidly growing economies that Lord O’Neill predicted would have an increasing influence on the global economy over the following decade

The term BRIC has since become an accepted part of the global economic vernacular and symbolises the shift in economic power away from developed G7 countries towards developing nations.

Economic forecast

The acronym was first used in a paper published by Lord O’Neill while in his role as Head of Global Economics Research at Goldman Sachs. In a 2016 article for CNBC in the US, Lord O’Neill confirmed that China and India were performing as well, or even better, than he had initially 25 forecast, while Brazil and Russia were suffering from a ‘commodities crisis’.

Surrey student

Lord O’Neill gained his PhD from the University of Surrey in 1982 before beginning his career in finance and economics at the Bank of America.

After rising to the position of Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and becoming a leading economics commentator, he served in the House of Lords as Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (from 2015-2016).

Learn more about our Economics degrees and research in the School of Economics.

Changing the face of UK University leadership

In 2016, Professor G Q Max Lu took up post as the fifth President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey and became the first China-born academic to lead a western university in modern times.

Max Lu biography

Professor Lu previously served as Provost and Senior Vice-President at the University of Queensland, Australia, where he was named one of the country’s Top 100 Most Influential Engineers, a Queensland Great and won the inaugural Australia-China Achievement Award (Education) in 2014.

He is a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher in both Materials Science and Chemistry (with over 40,000 citations and h-index of 103); and has over 500 publications in high impact journals.

Professor x Lu succeeded Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, who was President and Vice-Chancellor at the University from 2005 to 2015.

Professor Lu said: “I am honoured to have the opportunity to lead such an exceptional organisation. The momentum behind Surrey is palpable, so I am looking forward to working with staff and students to grow the University’s reputation as a truly international institution.”

Learn more about Professor Lu.

Research that transformed meningitis testing

In 2016, Professor Johnjoe McFadden and his team developed a rapid blood-based diagnostic test for meningococcal meningitis.

This led to World Health Organisation (WHO) endorsed diagnostic tests, which have helped halve the adult mortality rate associated with the disease through quicker and more accurate diagnosis, treatment and infection control.

Improving traditional tests

Traditional methods of diagnosis using cerebrospinal fluid were often inaccurate as patients suspected of having the disease were given antibiotics immediately as a precautionary measure, making their samples sterile.

Isolating a meningitis gene

In the early 1990s, Professor McFadden, Professor of Molecular Genetics, and his team isolated a unique gene associated with the disease. They were then able to develop a test to accurately detect its presence, and therefore confirm a diagnosis in cerebrospinal fluid, even if antibiotics had been administered.

This work was then adapted for use with blood tests, by way of a new blood purification technique, thus eliminating the need to subject patients to dangerous lumbar punctures and reducing the length of time for diagnosis to one hour.

This test, adapted by laboratories for clinical use, has been adopted as a standard tool for meningococcal diagnosis around the world.

Learn more about Professor McFadden and research within the School of Biosciences and Medicine.

Surrey named University of the Year 2016

In September 2015, Surrey was awarded two University of the Year titles by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016, elevating our institution into the top spot in the UK, both overall and for Student Experience.

The University of Surrey was one of just two universities in the UK to break the 90 per cent mark for student experience in The Times and Sunday Times’ analysis of the 2015 National Student Survey.

Vice-Chancellor’s vision

Former President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, joined the University in August 2005 with a vision to transform the University’s strategy and rankings.

Under Professor Sir Christopher Snowden’s leadership, the University rose up the rankings to fourth in the Guardian Guide league table. It was fitting that in the final weeks of his tenure, the University was named University of the Year by The Times and The Sunday Times.

Learn more about Surrey in the league tables and life as a Surrey student.

Developing new treatments for cancer

In 2016, a University of Surrey team completed a landmark study which successfully demonstrated a new type of immunotherapy for cancer.

Cancer-killing virus

The treatment consists of a live cancer-killing or ‘ocnolytic’ virus (Coxsackie A21) injected into the bladder for the treatment of superficial bladder cancer before surgery.

This is the first time any virus has been used in this way and Surrey is the only centre worldwide to achieve this in a patient trial.

The end of chemo?

Traditionally, treatments for bladder cancer are administered after surgery to remove stray cells that the operation has failed to remove.

Surrey’s researchers have reversed the process and pioneered a new technique to analyse the effect the virus has had on the cancer before it is removed. This will eventually allow doctors to optimise treatment doses and possibly replace the need for chemotherapy or radiotherapy post-surgery.

The first clinical trial has been successful and Surrey’s leadership continues with a next phase study combining intravenous Coxsackie A21 virus with another agent (Pembrolizumab) to jointly boost immune responses.

Learn more about Surrey’s cancer research and other areas of expertise the field of Health Sciences.

Home of the International Guitar Research Centre

In 2014, internationally celebrated guitarist John Williams joined forces with Surrey experts Professor Steve Goss and Dr Milton Mermikes to establish the International Guitar Research Centre (IGRC).

The Centre has become an international hub for guitar-centred research in all styles of music and renowned musicians, such as John Williams, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Xuefei Yang and Miloš Karadaglić utilise the methods developed at Surrey.

International collaboration

The IGRC has has over 200 affiliated higher education institutions worldwide and compositions written at the IGRC are being researched and performed in many of the most prestigious universities and conservatoires in the world including Yale University (CT), The Manhattan School of Music (NY), Robert Schumann Hochschule (Germany), Melbourne Conservatorium (Australia), and the Royal Academy of Music (London).

New guitar techniques

A key element of the work undertaken at the IGRC explores innovative approaches to the use of acoustic resonance in writing for guitar. The music that has so far emerged from this ongoing research project is beginning to become part of the established canon of modern guitar repertoire. Recordings of these works have sold in excess of 200,000 copies.

“The establishment of the International Guitar Research Centre formalises an interest in an activity which all guitarists naturally have in common. To have a structure whereby that can be celebrated I think is a great thing.” John Williams, international guitarist and Honorary President of the IGRC

Learn more about the IGRC and watch a video of the 2016 International Guitar Research Centre conference.

Pioneers of iconic design

Surry academics have contributed to the design of some of the world’s most impressive constructions.

Space structures

In 1963, Professor Z S Makowski founded the Space Structures Research Centre within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, leading the way for teaching and research in this area.

A few days after the University gained its Royal Charter, in 1966, the Centre held its first Space Structures International Conference. The Centre’s prestigious International Journal of Space Structures, initially published in 1985, is now in its 31st volume.

Did you know? The University’s iconic triodetic aluminium dome was presented in 1964 by the British Aluminium Company on the occasion of the third Space Structures Conference.

To learn more about the dome, take a look at our campus architecture and public art brochure.

A pioneer for women in science

Ameenah has received many awards including the L’Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science, the African Union Award for Women in Science, the Legion d’honneur from the French Government and the Vice Chancellor’s Alumni Award for 2015 from the University of Surrey.

However, for Ameenah the true measure of her success will be overcoming the educational barriers girls still face.

Home for a jumbo jet

In 1967, Surrey academics researched and designed the first jumbo jet hangars in the world.

Built at Heathrow Airport, they were analysed using a computer and are one of the earliest examples of a computer used for a major structural composition.

The design of the hangars received the special prize of the Institution of Structural Engineers in 1972. Another prize was awarded by the British Steel Corporation in 1974. The judges described the hangars as a ‘superb piece of engineering design’.

Jim Al Khalili - passion for science communication

In 2016, Surrey’s Professor Jim Al-Khalili OBE was awarded the first Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication, recognising nearly 20 years of bringing science to life for millions of people.

Speaking about the award, Jim said: ““It is a huge honour to have received the very first Stephen Hawking Science Communication Medal. Bringing cutting-edge research findings to life has always drawn me to science communication. To me, doing the research is only half the job – you also need to tell people about it. That’s what I try to do as both a lecturer and a broadcaster.”

Spearheading public engagement in science

Beginning at Surrey as an undergraduate in the early 1980s, and progressing through to his PhD in Theoretical Nuclear Physics, Professor Al-Khalili was appointed the University’s first Professor of Public Engagement in 2005.

Since then, Professor Al-Khalili has devoted half his time at the University to promoting public engagement not just in physics, but in all scientific disciplines.

Books and TV shows

While Jim’s passion is writing – he has published almost a dozen popular science books since 1999, between them translated into 26 languages, with more scheduled soon – he has also presented many television programmes, such as the BAFTA nominated Chemistry: A Volatile History, The Secret Life of Chaos and Hawking’s Universe; speaks to two million listeners each week on BBC Radio 4’s The Life Scientific.

His work and recognition are leading the way for other science communicators at Surrey, including Professor Paddy Regan, Professor Johnjoe McFadden, Dr Radu Sporea and Dr Suze Kundu.

Jim Meets...

Professor Al Khalili is the host of the University’s Jim Meets... events, a series of lectures with some of the most popular and high profile public figures in science.

Watch the Jim Meets… series, including Jim meets Brian Cox on our Youtube channel.

Discover who inspired Professor Al-Khalili to pursue his passion for physics and the mysterious world of quantum mechanics.

Home to the Morag Morris Poetry Lecture

In 1974, the first annual Morag Morris Poetry Lecture took place at the University of Surrey.

The lecture was initiated by poetry inspiration and former wartime Enigma codebreaker Morag Morris, who started working for the University in the early sixties.

Morag’s commitment to promoting modern poetry has influenced poets and students from Surrey to Soviet Russia.

It was her belief in the centrality of poetry to Higher Education that drove the study of humanities at Surrey. In 1966, she boldly suggested to the University’s first Vice-Chancellor, Peter Leggett, that the University ‘would not last very long if it had no soul’, and was swiftly appointed Poetry Tutor in the General Studies Department.

Enigma codebreaker

During WWII Morag worked in Hut 6 at Bletchley Park with a team of code-breakers led by Alan Turing on Enigma machines.

The messages she helped to decode would have been sent by the Luftwaffe, and were therefore of great significance for the defence of the United Kingdom, and for the formulation of Allied plans to invade Nazi-occupied Europe.

Later, in her role as Literature Coordinator for the Arts Committee she established an exchange program with the universities of Moscow and Leningrad in Soviet Russia. At the very height of the Cold War, in order to keep lines of communication open, Morag would travel beyond the Iron Curtain to Leningrad to tell Russian students about modern poetry in English. Professors and poets from Russia would then come to Guildford to deliver lectures and readings, cultivating an ethos or exchange and cooperation in international poetry.

A lasting legacy

Morag died in 2013, however, her influence can still be felt through the syllabus and teaching style of poetry at Surrey, and through her bequest to fund poetry activities.

Dr Stephen Mooney, Lecturer in Creative Writing, said: “Morag’s legacy lives on every day at Surrey and we in the English Department, and I personally as a poet, are continually inspired by the spirit and dedication that she initiated.”

Learn more about the Annual Morag Morris Poetry Lecture and our degrees in the field of English Literature and Creative Writing.

Using expertise in fundamental physics to improve cancer treatment

In 2013, Professor Paddy Regan and a team at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) corrected a previously inaccurate measurement of radium-223, the active ingredient in a drug used to extend the life of patients with metastasized bone cancer.

The new measurement has been implemented in over 3,000 clinics world-wide in a £60 million project, to ensure accurate doses are being given to patients with the aim of better health outcomes.

The impact of inaccuracy

It is vital to measure the radium isotope’s radioactivity accurately in order to create the right does - too little leaves the tumour unaffected, but too much could kill the patient.

Using NPL’s sophisticated gamma-ray sensors, members of Professor Regan’s group discovered that the existing literature values were inaccurate by about 10 per cent

Professor Regan, NPL Professor of Radionuclide Metrology, said: “10 per cent maybe doesn’t sound very much, but if you’re treating hundreds of thousands of patients, you’ve got to get your dose right.”

Surrey and the NPL

As the UK’s National Measurement Institute, NPL has developed and maintained the nation’s primary measurement standards in radioactivity for more than a century, and is considered among the top three measurement institutes in world.

The University has a longstanding relationship with the NPL, stretching back to Professor Daphne Jackson in the 1960s.

In March 2015, the University signed a Partnering Agreement with the NPL, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and the University of Strathclyde to set and support a new strategic direction for NPL.

Surrey are considered world experts in understanding isotopes and measuring radioactivity. We bring this to our partnership with NPL where we are involved in the standardisation of radio pharmaceutical measurement. The doses of every radioactive drug used in UK can be traced back to measurements defined at the NPL.

Learn more about the National Physical Laboratory partnership, including our studentship opportunities.

Three Oscars, seven Grammys and twelve BAFTAs

Our world-renowned Tonmeister undergraduate programme was launched in 1976. During its long history it has produced hundreds of highly successful alumni - the honours list includes winners of three Oscars, seven Grammys and twelve BAFTAs.

Founded by Professor Reginald Smith Brindle, Surrey’s first Professor of Music, the Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) undergraduate programme was developed to introduce music into what was initially a science-based university.

Unique Surrey course

The prestigious Tonmeister is unique to the UK. It is a challenging programme that blends three areas: musical study, advanced audio engineering and sound-recording operation and practice.

Learn more about the Tonmeister course.

Award-winning graduates

Graduates from the Tonmeister programme include:

  • Jim Abbiss, famed as producer of the Arctic Monkeys’ Mercury Prize winning debut album, Whatever People Say I Am and Adele’s 19 and 21
  • Emmy Award winning composer Michael Price
  • Charlie Andrews, MPG producer of the year
  • James Bellamy, BAFTA winning sound editor from the 2013 blockbuster feature film of Les Misérables

Learn more about Tonmeister graduate awards and nominations and the School of Arts.

Winner of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for water research

In 2011, the University of Surrey – including its designated World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre – was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for extensive, global work to improve access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

Research to provide safe water for billions

The University has been working towards the provision of safe water for over 30 years, amassing unique and priceless experience and a reputation for excellence in this field.

Working through the WHO, our expertise and research contributes to the provision of safe drinking water for billions of people across the world. Much of our work supports those in developing countries, who are most at need.

Water testing kit

In 1985, the first DelAgua portable water testing kit was invented by Professor of Environmental Health Engineering, Barry Lloyd, in conjunction with Oxfam. The kit is used in 130 countries by organisations such as UNICEF, Water Aid, the Red Cross and Save The Children. It is frequently used in natural disaster zones by water and sanitation teams to test water for field hospitals, refugee camps, towns and cities. In 2006, DelAgua was spun out of the University into a Limited Company.

Centre for Osmosis Research

Adel Sharif, Professor of Water Engineering and Process Innovation, founded the Centre for Osmosis Research and Applications (CORA) in 2003. The Centre’s research activities have led to many inventions, the most notable is the development of Manipulated Osmosis Desalination which significantly improves access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

Waste water disposal

Surrey spin-out company, Modern Water PLS, was formed in 2006 to address the global problems of fresh water availability and treatment and disposal of wastewater. Research is having direct impact via the operating desalination plants in Gibraltar and Oman. The technique has the potential to make clean water accessible and affordable to millions of people in the future.

Learn more about the Centre for Osmosis Research and the Department for Chemical and Process Engineering.

Lighting up the West End

Guildford School of Acting (GSA) graduates create moments of magic on stage, on television and in film for audiences across the world.

GSA joined the University of Surrey in 2009. Established in 1935, GSA is internationally recognised as one of the top drama schools specialising in theatre, cinema and television training.

From Surrey to centre stage

GSA graduates can be found in nearly every West End musical, on Broadway and in the Royal Shakespeare Company. Others are on tour, both in the UK and abroad, and many appear on television and in films.

Did you know, a quarter of the current (2016) cast from Les Miserables attended GSA?

Award-winning alumni

Along with a host of well-known names throughout the entertainment industry, past students include the international musical theatre star Michael Ball, twice Oscar-nominated actress Brenda Blethyn OBE, BAFTA award-winner Bill Nighy and actress Celia Imrie.

Find out more about GSA alumni.

Study at GSA

As well as a range of degree programmes, GSA offers a range of summer and saturday schools for budding actors, dancers and producers.

Discover the full range of GSA courses.

Come and watch a show

The University of Surrey has its own theatre and we regularly host concerts, workshops and events.

Take a look at our arts events calendar.

Surrey’s royal Chancellor

His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent was installed as Chancellor of the University of Surrey in 1977.

Now approaching his 40th year in office, he is one of the longest serving Chancellors of a British university.

Industry links

The Duke, who was inaugurated after Lord Roben’s retirement, has a strong interest in promoting British exports, which chimed well with the University’s ambitions to expand links with industry.

Over the past four decades he has officiated at some of the University’s most prestigious events including over 150 graduation ceremonies, conferring degrees on tens of thousands of Surrey students.

Learn more about the Duke of Kent and when The Queen opened the School of Veterinary Medicine.

Research that revealed the risk of iodine deficiency in pregnancy

In 2013, education campaigns were sparked when Surrey research showed that iodine deficiency during pregnancy adversely affects children’s mentaldevelopment later in life.

Impact of iodine deficiency

It’s a vital nutrient, essential for producing the hormones made by the thyroid gland and the development of babies’ brains during early life, yet most people are unaware of the importance of iodine – and the impact deficiency could have on future generations.

Conducted in collaboration with Bristol University and the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, our research was the first large-scale study globally to look at the association between maternal iodine status in pregnancy and cognitive outcomes in school-aged children, an area of mild-to-moderate iodine deficiency.

Dr Sarah Bath, Lecturer in Public Health Nutrition, who conducted the research alongside Professor Margaret Rayman, said: “The recommendation for iodine is much higher during pregnancy, so it can be hard to meet this from diet. Iodine is vital during pregnancy for the correct development of the baby’s brain. Therefore, it is important that pregnant women – and in fact women who might become pregnant – avoid deficiency and ensure adequate iodine intake.”

Iodine advice

As a result of these findings, Dr Bath has worked with various organisations, including The Dairy Council (UK) and the British Dietetic Association (BDA) to produce fact sheets on the importance of consuming adequate amounts of iodine in pregnancy.

Read the BDA iodine factsheet.

Learn more about Surrey’s research in the field of public health and food safety and our courses in the field of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.

Ion Beam Centre wins The Queen’s Anniversary Prize

In 2002, Surrey’s Ion Beam Centre (IBC) received The Queen’s Anniversary Prize for research and development of ion beams and optoelectronic devices.

What can ion beams do?

We’ve pioneered the use of ion beams to analyse materials as diverse as gunshot residue, material received from the Hubble Space Telescope, paint from a Leonardo da Vinci painting, and timber from the Cutty Sark.

This involves directing an energetic ion beam at a sample to probe the surface of the material to reveal its elemental and structural details, and create maps and 3D images.

Did you know? Surrey scientists used an ion beam to make the world’s smallest snowman!

Ion beam therapy for cancer

In 2004, the IBC spearheaded the case for using proton beam therapy for the treatment of cancer in the UK, resulting in the proposed establishment of three treatment centres in the UK.

Proton beam therapy uses lower doses of radiation than traditional therapies, and can target single cells. The world’s first scanning focussed vertical nanobeam, funded by a grant from the Wolfson Foundation, was installed at the University in 2008.

Industry partners

The IBC works actively with industry partners, particularly the photonics industry, to develop bespoke testing and ion implantation services and processes, ultimately generating millions of pounds for the UK economy.

An example partnership is the IBC’s work with Twin Creeks Technologies (USA) to manufacture a new material for solar-cell applications using a technology devised by IBC. This method can produce solar cells for about 40 cents per watt, half the cost of even the most cheaply produced cells.

Learn more about the Ion Beam Centre and Surrey’s Queen’s Anniversary prizes.

Pioneering sleep research

From shaping treatments for sleep disorders to informing light design to help workers feel more alert, Surrey’s sleep research is making a real impact on the world.

Using melatonin to treat sleep disorders

In 1986, Emeritus Professor Josephine Arendt’s research revealed that jet-lag can be alleviated by taking melatonin.

These discoveries led to widespread use of melatonin in sleep disorders in children and adults. It has also led to the development of a new drug that targets the melatonin receptor, that is now on the market to treat non-24-hour sleep disorders in the blind.

Increasing alertness with blue light

In 2001, Professor Debra Skene and her team demonstrated, for the first time, that blue light at a certain wavelength (469 - 480 nanometers) is more effective in suppressing melatonin, the hormone that promotes drowsiness and sleep.

The Professor of Neuroendocrinology said: “The discovery of a novel ocular photoreceptor system and its activation by blue light has led to the development of novel lighting systems to affect health.”

The impact of sleep deficiency on genes

In 2013, Professor Derk-Jan Dijk, Director of the Sleep Research Centre and his team, discover that a lack of sleep (5.7 hours compared to 8.5 hours) affects the activity of more than 700 of our genes, including those that govern the immune system, the body’s response to stress and our natural body clock.

Professor Derk-Jan Dijk said: “Now that we have identified these effects we can use this information to further investigate the links between insufficient sleep, mistimed sleep, gene expression and overall health.”

Surrey sleep research centre

The Surrey Sleep Research Centre (SSRC) was established in 2003, dedicated to multidisciplinary approaches to sleep research and education.

Learn more about The Surrey Sleep Research Centre and our programmes in the field of biosciences and medicine.

Try our sleep quiz

Discover whether your sleep preferences mean you’re a morning lark or a night owl – or somewhere in between. Take the sleep quiz.

Cleaning up space junk

The Surrey Space Centre is leading RemoveDEBRIS, the world’s first technology demonstration mission to test space litter-picking technologies.

Ths mission involves using technology inspired by fishing to remove the 7,000 tonnes of junk in space, including used rockets and dead satellites - debris that could damage active satellites vital for the internet, mobile phones, satellite navigation and Earth observation.

Fishing for litter

The RemoveDEBRIS team has designed a set of five engineering systems, some of which have never been used for these purposes before, including a net (like a fishing net) and harpoon to capture space junk, and a ‘dragsail’ to de-orbit space junk quickly.

The £13 million project is truly an international collaboration with partners including Airbus DS France, Airbus DS Germany, Airbus DS UK and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL).

The mission will launch to the International Space Station in June 2017 from the United States.

Read the press release about the mission to learn more.

Watch a video about the project, created by The Royal Society for it’s Summer Science Exhibition 2016.

Using technology to support people with dementia

There will be one million people with dementia in the UK by 2025.

The University’s advanced research into 5G and networked devices has resulted in a new digital common language being used to connect an Internet of Things test bed that aims to help dementia patients live healthily and safely in their homes.

Data-driven insight

Working in collaboration with Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and several other industry partners, the project, called TIHM (Technology Integrated Health Management) for Dementia, is based on an ecosystem of unobtrusive devices that monitor a person’s physical state and cues in their environment as they go about their daily life.

Alerts will be sent to clinicians to inform them if the person with dementia is ill or in distress and requires assistance.

The University is also leading a rigorous evaluation of TIHM involving 1,400 participants. We’re working towards a moment where technology will give significant support to people with dementia.<

Supporting the person behind the illness

In 2016, Surrey embarked on Time for Dementia, a programme involving 800 students together with 400 people with dementia and their carers, representing a scale of longitudinal face-to-face dementia education that has not been attempted anywhere in the world before.

The programme aims to personalise healthcare. Nursing, paramedic and medical students visit people with dementia and their carers on a regular basis over a two or three-year period.

Students do not wear uniforms to keep the environment relaxed, and focus on developing a relationship with the person behind the illness.

This project is funded by Health Education Kent, Surrey and Sussex with Brighton and Sussex Medical School and the Alzheimer’s Society.

Research at Surrey

Learn more about dementia research and discover our University-wide research Grand Challenges.