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Alec M. Broers received a first degree in physics from Melbourne University in 1959. He received a degree in electrical sciences from the University of Cambridge after arriving initially as a choral scholar, and completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge in 1965.
Lord Broers spent nearly 20 years of his career in research with IBM in the USA, working at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center in New York, the East Fishkill Development Laboratory and at Corporate Headquarters.
When he arrived back in Cambridge, Lord Broers set up a nanofabrication laboratory to extend the technology of miniaturization to the atomic scale. He also developed his research on using electrons, X-rays and ultra-violet light in microscopy and on making microelectronic components.
Lord Broers has served on numerous national and international committees, including the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Foresight Panel on Information Technology and the NATO Special Panel on Nanoscience and was a member of the government’s Council for Science and Technology. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1986, to The Royal Academy of Engineering in 1985 and became a Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Engineering in 1994.
In 1996 he became Vice Chancellor, University of Cambridge (until 2003). In 1998 He was knighted for services to higher education.
He is on the Board of Directors of Vodafone and of RJ Mears LLC. On 21 June 2004, Her Majesty the Queen made him a life Peer in recognition of his contribution to engineering and higher education. He was appointed Chairman of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee. In 2005 he presented the Reith Lectures for the BBC. In 2008 he became chairman of Diamond Light Source Ltd., the UK’s largest new experimental scientific facility. In 2009 he became Chairman of Bio Nano Consulting and in 2010, the Chairman of the Technology Strategy Board Knowledge Transfer Network for Transport. In 2012 he became Chairman of the Judging Panel of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.