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University campus Blue Plaque Trail

The influence and achievements of 24 historical figures closely connected to the University of Birmingham and the lasting impact their work has had on the world are to be celebrated thanks to a new campus Blue Plaque Trail.

Details of who the individuals are, where they are being remembered, and why, are outlined below:

David Lodge (Arts Building): author of satirical 'campus novels', taught English 1960-1987 (PhD English, 1967)

Sir Nikolaus Pevsner (Arts Building): architectural historian, researched English industrial design 1934-1935.

Louis MacNeice (Arts Building): poet, author and playwright, taught Classics 1930 – 1936

Marie Corelli (Shakespeare Institute): novelist and protector of local heritage, lived and died here 1901 – 1924.

Sir Granville Bantock (Bramall Building): composer and conductor, Professor of Music 1908-34, co-founded City of Birmingham Orchestra 1920.

Sir Edward Elgar (Bramall Building): composer, became the University’s first Professor of Music in 1905 (MA Combined Arts, 1907).

The Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (Muirhead): the focus for British cultural studies, founded here in 1964.

John Sinclair (Linguistics – Westmere): set up the COBUILD project, pioneering a dictionary using “real-world” text in 1987.

John Randall and Harry Boot (Nuffield Building): first operated a Cavity Magnetron to produce radar waves here on 21 Feb 1940.
Otto Frisch and Rudolf Peierls (Nuffield Building): showed the feasibility of an airborne atomic weapon here in 1940.

Sir Mark Oliphant (Nuffield Building): pioneer of particle physics with the Proton Synchrotron built here 1946-1953.

John Henry Poynting (Poynting Building): first Professor of Physics, determined the mass of Earth in Birmingham in 1890 (MSc Pure Science, 1901)

Sir Norman Haworth (Haworth Building): Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, for work on Carbohydrates and Vitamin C 1937.

George Neville Watson (Watson Building): mathematician, published pioneering work on Bessel Functions in 1922 (MSc Pure Science, 1919).

Frederick Shotton (Aston Webb Building): furthered understanding of climate change 1949 – 1974

Charles Lapworth (Aston Webb Building): undertook pioneering work into the formation of mountain belts 1882-1883.

Sir Peter Medawar (School of Biosciences): won a Nobel Prize for his work on graft rejection & acquired immune tolerance in 1960 (DSc Honorary Degree, 1961).

Dame Hilda Lloyd (College of Medical and Dental Sciences): Professor of Obstetrics, saved many through her midwife ‘flying squads’ set up in 1936 (Interc BSc Pure Science, 1914, MBChB Medicine, 1916).

Leon Abrams and Ray Lightwood (College of Medical and Dental Sciences): developed and implanted the first variable rate pacemaker in 1960. Leon Abrams (MBChB Medicine, 1945) and Ray Lightwood (BSc Pure Science, 1974).

Francois Lafitte (Muirhead Tower): pioneering social policy analyst, worked to widen access to family planning during the 1960s.

Sir William Ashley (Birmingham Business School): founded Britain’s first faculty of Commerce here in 1902 (MCom Social Science, 1902).

Margery Fry (University House): influential prison reformer and one of the first female magistrates. Warden here 1908-1914.

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