|13 November 2015|

A true pioneer in optical design for cinematography has received an honorary degree from the University of Strathclyde.

Professor Iain Neil returned to his old stamping ground yesterday to be recognised for the groundbreaking work that has made him winner of more Academy Awards than anyone else alive today; only Walt Disney has won more throughout history.

Multi-award winning doesn’t even begin to explain the truly astounding nature of his achievements. He was won a staggering 12 technical Oscars – known as Sci-Tech awards, two Emmys – the US television awards – and has more than 150 patents issued worldwide for his design systems.

He said: “I was completely surprised to receive a letter from the Principal, Professor Sir Jim McDonald, informing me of this award and I consider it a tremendous privilege to have been considered for this honorary degree.

“An important part of my career has been to make use of a broad range of knowledge, with my academic training at Strathclyde having formed a firm foundation to work from.”

Professor Dimitris Drikakis, executive dean of Strathclyde’s Faculty of Engineering, presented Professor Neil for the honorary degree. He said: “Professor Neil has the unique distinction of winning 12 Academy Awards in recognition of his film camera lens designs. This achievement might excite the envy of even Nicole Kidman or Stephen Spielberg.

“Yet he is spared the media frenzy of Oscar night, because his contribution to cinema is neither behind nor before the camera; it is in the camera itself. In Iain’s work, outstanding science enables great art in a fusion of the ‘two cultures.’”

In 1986, Professor Neil joined Panavision and became involved in cinema taking on the role of executive vice-president of Research and Development and chief technical officer. He is a fellow of the International Society for Optics and Photonics and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts & Sciences.