Internationally respected physicist receives Honorary Degree



An internationally respected scientist who helped develop cutting-edge technology to protect fighter aircraft from heat seeking missiles has received an Honorary Degree from Heriot-Watt University.

Dr Peter Gerard Schunemann is a world-leader in photonics and author of more than 400 publications.

Born in Massachusetts, he received a Bachelor and Master of Science Degree in Materials Science and Engineering in 1984 and 1987, before joining a large US defence contractor bought by Lockheed Martin and later BAE Systems.

He actively collaborates with researchers from across the world to enable new laser sources for scientific and commercial applications.

The renowned scientist was nominated in recognition of his significant contributions to his field and his dedication to high quality science in an industrial setting.

Dr Peter Gerard Schunemann said: “I was surprised and delighted to be the recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Engineering Degree from Heriot-Watt University.

“It is rare that a researcher in industry should receive such a high academic honor for his contributions, especially from such an esteemed institution. I am very fortunate for the opportunity to collaborate with world-class researchers like Professor Derryck Reid who use the exotic crystals I develop to achieve ground-breaking advances in science and technology.”

Professor Richard A. Williams, Principal and Vice-Chancellor added: “I would like to congratulate Peter on his great achievement and his dedication to the science community.

“He is certainly an expert in his field and inspires the next generation of young academics.

“Here at Heriot-Watt we have an excellent record in photonics, engineering and physics – one which is truly global and Peter is a respected expert in his field, inspiring the next generation of young academics.

“Wherever we are in the world, Heriot-Watt is known for delivering educational excellence and ground-breaking research that impacts the communities around us. Only last year, we were honored to receive the first ever Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide International University of the Year Award 2018, an accolade that recognises the commitment of our passion, our expertise and our global connections across our staff, students, and alumni.”

Graduations took place at Heriot-Watt University between 15 and 22 June.