Eight new honorary doctorates at UiB

Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, Docent Jostein Fet, Professor Han Dayuan, Professor Edvard Moser, Professor May-Britt Moser, designer Peter Opsvik, Professor Arthur L. Stinchcombe and Professor Katherine Jane Willis have been made honorary PhDs at the University of Bergen.

Æresdoktorar 2017
From the left: Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, Docent Jostein Fet, Professor Han Dayuan, Professor Edvard Moser, Professor May-Britt Moser, designer Peter Opsvik, Professor Arthur L. Stinchcombe and Professor Katherine Jane Willis.

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An honorary doctorate is the highest honour the university can confer upon a person who is not employed by the University of Bergen (UiB). This type of doctorate is awarded for significant contributions or outstanding work to the benefit of science.

At the doctoral awards ceremony May 5th 2017, the University of Bergen will confer eight new honorary doctorates upon Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, Docent Jostein Fet, Professor Han Dayuan, Professor Edvard Moser, Professor May-Britt Moser, Designer Peter Opsvik, Professor Arthur L. Stinchcombe and Professor Katherine Jane Willis.

One of the worlds finest pianists

Leif Ove Andsnes (1970) was sixteen years old when he moved to Bergen to study with Jiri Hlinka at the Bergen Conservatory of music, now the Grieg Academy, University of Bergen. Andsnes has been highly acclaimed worldwide, as a soloist, chamber musician, teacher and artistic director of chamber music festivals. He is recognized as one of the finest pianists in the world. Andsnes has brought Norwegian music to international attention. He has made a significant contribution to the arts in the city of Bergen, and is an influential and respected voice in wider debates on the arts and culture.

Andsnes has held the position of  adjunct Professor of piano at the Royal Danish Academy of Music and the Norwegian Acedemy of Music. In 2016 he received an honorary doctorate from Juilliard School in New York. Leif Ove Andsnes received Norway’s most distinguished honor, Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav in 2002.

Rewrote Norwegian cultural history

Jostein Fet (1924) is a researcher, author, cultural historian, folk musician, and former docent and head of studies at Volda University College. Fet has supplied new insights into Norwegian cultural history with his many literary sociological research projects and has, in relation to one important point, rewritten Norwegian history: Norwegian farmers in the 1700s and early 1800s owned books and were far more literate than Norwegian historians have previously portrayed them to be.

Several of his books have become important reference works for Norwegian and Scandinavian literary research. In addition to literary sociology, he has made contributions in other areas of Nordic philology such as terminology and place names, and within folk music history. He has always been a popular lecturer, not least because all of his lectures and publications consistently use language that interested people without an academic background can also easily understand.

A driving force in the Beijing - Bergen cooperation

Dayuan Han is dean and professor at Renmin University Law School, Beijing, China. He is a professor of Chinese Constitutional Law, Comparative Constitutional Law, and Constitutional History. He has published extensively within these fields, and has several national appointments and awards.

He is Honorary Doctor of Law at the University of Lapland, Finland, since 2012. Professor Han has been a visiting scholar at Kyoto University Law School, Japan (1990-1991) and at Harvard Law School, USA (2000-2001). Dean Han has since his first contact with the Faculty of Law in Bergen in 2010 been a driving force in the cooperation between the two faculties. This cooperation now encompasses student exchange, exchange of teachers, an annual round table conference with the two faculties' ph.d. students, as well as contact and cooperation between researchers.

Awarded the Nobel Prize

May-Britt Moser (1963) and Edvard Moser (1962) are two of the leading European neuroscientists. They both received their education as psychologist at the University of Oslo and completed their PhDs in the research group of Prof. emeritus Per Andersen.

A major breakthrough in their research was a discovery in 2005 of the “grid cells” in a brain structure closely related to the hippocampus. May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser were together with John O’Keefe awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2014 for this discovery. The faculty of Psychology and the Department of Biological and Medical Psychology have shared master students enrolled in the neuroscience program at NTNU over the years, and have also co-authored publications.

May-Britt Moser and Edvard Mosers groundbreaking achievements within the field of neuroscience are a major source of inspiration for researchers all over the world.

Breakthrough with the Tripp Trapp-chair

Furniture and industrial designer Peter Opsvik (1939) made his breakthrough with the Tripp Trapp- chair, which was launched in 1972. In its uncompromising, precise functionality the Tripp Trapp-chair is rather a seating device than a chair. The fact that the chair can be adapted to the users as they grow and give them a greater freedom of movement, is an expression of the humanistic approach in Opsvik´s design.

The innovative designer is regarded as one of the major furniture designers nationally and internationally. He is represented in several Norwegian and international museums, has had solo exhibitions at home and abroad and received numerous awards, such as the Jacob Prize in 2012 and The Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Prize in 2000. Opsvik studied at the Bergen School of Art and Handicraft from 1959 to 1963 and received a diploma from the Norwegian National College of Art and Design in Oslo in 1964.

Influential sociologist

Arthur L. Stinchcombe (1933) is one of the most influential sociologists in the 20th century. He has published in an unusually wide range of areas, presenting pathbreaking contributions within research on bureaucracies and organizations, political sociology, economic sociology, mathematical sociology, sociology of law, and research on technology. Furthermore, his research includes important contributions in historical and comparative research, for example in Social Structure and Organizations (1965). He is one of the few researchers who master both qualitative and quantitative approaches in studies of social phenomena.

Stinchcombe has been affiliated with several of the best universities in the world, including Berkeley, Johns Hopkins, Chicago, Arizona, Stanford, and Northwestern. He has been a visiting scholar and a visiting professor in a number of countries, such as Chile, France, England, the Netherlands, and Norway. In Norway he has been affiliated to the University of Bergen as well as the Institute of Industrial Economics in Bergen.

An outstanding communicator of science

Kathy Willis is a world leader in global biodiversity research. She studies the relationships between ecosystem dynamics and environmental change, ranging from decades to millennia and from a single lake to the entire planet. She is currently Director of Science at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and the Tasso Leventis Professor of Biodiversity at the University of Oxford. She has published 6 books and over 150 scientific papers in leading journals.

She is also an outstanding communicator of science and in 2015 was awarded The Michael Faraday Prize and Medal by the Royal Society of London for her “excellence in communicating science”. Between 2007 and 2015 she was Professor II in the University of Bergen’s Department of Biology and remains actively involved with research in Bergen as well as at Kew and in Oxford.