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UT awards honorary doctorates to MythBusters, two leading scientists and a business pioneer University of Twente celebrates 50th Dies Natalis in November

At the celebration of its 50th Dies Natalis, the anniversary of its Foundation Day in late November of this year, the University of Twente will be awarding honorary doctorates to the leading scientists Prof. Wolfgang Knoll and Prof. Helga Nowotny as well as the inspirational entrepreneur Henri Termeer. For their role in popularising science and technology, a honorary doctorate will also be awarded to the creators of the Discovery Channel's MythBusters, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage.


Jamie Hyneman (1956) and Adam Savage (1967) have unique backgrounds in robotics, model-making and special effects - all of which have served them well since 2002, when they became the hosts of the television programme MythBusters on the Discovery Channel. On the show, they prove or debunk various theories, legends and myths by testing or spectacularly re-creating situations and seeing whether they are, in fact, possible. In the process, Jamie and Adam have made science, technology, and investigative principles both fun and cool to millions of viewers worldwide.

They both are honorary lifetime members of the California Science Teachers Association and also lecture at numerous universities. In April this year, they received the Harvard Humanism Award. The honorary supervisor is Prof. Stefano Stramigioli, UT Professor in Control Engineering/Advanced Robotics.


Prof. Helga Nowotny (1937) is President of the European Research Council (ERC) and Emeritus Professor in Social Studies of Science at the ETH in Zurich. She has researched widely on the shaping of the social, ethical and political aspects of science and technology. The 'Mode 2 Society' that she masterminded enables science to interact with wider society in new ways. She is therefore a close observer of the development of the University of Twente and its entrepreneurial profile. Prof. Nowotny also chaired the European Advisory Board of the European Commission (EURAB) from 2001 to 2005. She has published countless articles and books, including 'Insatiable Curiosity. Innovation in a fragile future.' Her most recent publication, together with Giuseppe Testa, is 'Naked Genes: Reinventing the human in the molecular age.' The honorary supervisor is Prof. Stefan Kuhlmann, UT Professor in Science, Technology and Society.


Prof.dr. Wolfgang Knoll (1949) has been the Scientific Executive Director of the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Vienna since 2008. This independent research institute has more than 900 staff. Knoll is one of the world's foremost multidisciplinary physicists and a leading expert on materials science, biointerfaces and bionanotechnology. Before his appointment at the AIT, he was Scientific Director of the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany. Prof. Knoll has close alliances with the University of Twente, the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology and the MIRA Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine. He has written or co-authored more than 850 articles and is frequently cited. His honorary supervisor is Prof. Julius Vancso, UT Professor in Materials Science and Technology of Polymers.


Henri Termeer MBA (1947), originally from the Netherlands, spent almost 30 years as the CEO of one of the world's most successful biotechnology companies, Genzyme in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which has an annual turnover of more than $4 billion. The company enjoyed impressive growth under his leadership. Termeer is a pioneer in the development of medicines and therapies for patients with rare genetic diseases, known as orphan drugs. Genzyme invests in innovative research like gene therapy and regenerative medicine, which is also a major research area at the MIRA Institute of the UT. In 2005, Genzyme was awarded the National Medal of Technology, the American President's highest distinction for leaders in innovation. Termeer himself has also received the Master Entrepreneur Award from Ernst & Young and was elected as an Honorary Fellow of the British Royal College of Physicians. In 2009, he also received the Frost and Sullivan Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology Lifetime Achievement Award. His honorary supervisor is Prof. Clemens van Blitterswijk, UT Professor in Tissue Regeneration.