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World-leading astrophysicist and interdisciplinary geographer are new honorary doctors of science

R. Michael Rich and Harriet Bulkeley. Photo: private / Henja Kooijman.

One is an American astronomer who has charted the innermost parts of the Milky Way using spectroscopy, the other a British professor of Geography who has made a name for herself through her interdisciplinary climate research. R. Michael Rich and Harriet Bulkeley have been appointed honorary doctors at the Faculty of Science at Lund University.

R. Michael Rich

Professor R. Michael Rich is based at the University of California Los Angeles. For almost 30 years, he has explored the innermost parts of our galaxy with the help of spectroscopy. Through his studies, he has succeeded in deepening understanding of the Milky Way and its evolution. In the last decade, Rich has had a close collaboration with astrophysicists at Lund University. As well as supporting early-career researchers, he has provided a series of young Lund astronomers with access to the USA’s largest telescope, Keck. Postdocs there have been able to develop their observational skills at a world-beating facility. Access to the groundbreaking ten-metre telescope in Hawaii has generated a number of studies in prestigious journals. R. Michael Rich has also arranged several international conferences and initiated astronomy research networks and projects.

“Michael Rich is a true scientist, who has made great efforts to spectroscopically characterise the centre of the Milky Way. Bringing him on board strengthens our important transatlantic ties,” says Sven Lidin, Dean of the Faculty of Science.

Harriet Bulkeley

The other honorary doctor is Harriet Bulkeley. She is professor of Geography at Durham University and at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University. Bulkeley’s research centres on problems and solutions relating to environmental management, with a particular focus on climate change, biodiversity, energy and nature-based solutions. Over the years, she has made a name for herself through her interdisciplinary work in both natural and social sciences. 

Harriet Bulkeley is a prolific and oft-cited researcher who has won a series of prizes and distinctions. She also works on implementing her research results in society and serves as an expert advisor to the UK Government, the European Commission, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank. In 2014, Harriet Bulkeley was awarded the King Carl XVI Gustaf Professorship in Environmental Science, and she arranged a series of seminars in Lund on the theme of climate change. 

That year in Lund also saw the start of a number of collaborations with researchers from other disciplines at the University. With her wide-ranging expertise, Bulkeley has made a significant contribution to research and the development of new research fields through her collaboration with Lund University.

“Harriet Bulkeley demonstrates the importance of working in an interdisciplinary way. She also contributes to creating collaborative interaction between faculties and researchers, and not least external engagement with wider society,” says Sven Lidin.

Text: Johan Joelsson.