VUB awards honorary doctorate to Patrick Stewart of Star Trek fame
The Free University of Brussels (VUB) is awarding an honorary doctorate to the man who played captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation
Stewart was recommended by the faculty of engineers sciences and the consulting body of the exact sciences department. They said that the series, and especially Stewart, have provided major inspiration to future engineers, scientists and researchers. Star Trek had an immense impact on the fascination among youngsters worldwide, they said, with STEM studies (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
The American series, which aired from 1987 to 1994, was a follow-up to the original Star Trek series from the 1960s. “Many of the applications shown in the series, which were at the time considered pure fantasy, are now reality,” said professor Hugo Thienpont of the VUB’s photonics research group.
Thienpont went on to mention tablet computers, mobile phones, 3D printers, lasers in medical diagnostics and optical chips. “These developments were possible through the efforts of the generation of engineers and scientists inspired by this scientifically founded fictional series,” he said. The statement also points out that the series dealt with global problems like environmental issues, the ageing population, gender inequality and euthanasia.
VUB will also award seven other honorary doctorates, including to British historian Peter Burke and Luigi Naldini, an Italian pioneer in gene and cell therapy.
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