5 Nottingham University students who changed the world

There’s been some incredibly famous people study at the University of Nottingham. 

But, while these five former Nottingham students may not make the front pages of OK magazine, they have — in their own way — changed the world.

From pharmaceutical titans to war heroes, check out these history-altering Nottingham alumni.

Dr Stewart Adams OBE

Studied: Pharmacy
Famous for: Creating Ibuprofen

About: What’s the first thing you do after a big night out? For many, the answer would be head to the medicine cabinet and pop an Ibruprofen or two. And the next time you do that, remember to give thanks to former University of Nottingham student Dr Steward Adams. The 95-year-old was a major part of the team behind developing the miracle drug which helps reduce pain, inflammation and swelling.

Johnnie Johnson

Studied: Civil engineering
Famous for: Being a flying ace in World War II

About: Nicknamed the ‘Last Of The Great Fighter Pilots‘ by The Telegraph, Air Vice-Marshal Johnnie Johnson was a prodigious RAF flyer with 38 confirmed kills who flew during the Battle Of Britain and over the Normandy Landings. AVM Johnson was said to have engaged in more than 1,000 battles throughout his time in the RAF and was hit just once, when he was surprised by six Messerschmitts. He retired from the RAF in 1966 and died in January 2001.

Sir Ian Wilmut

Studied: Agriculture
Famous for: Cloning a sheep

About: What was once resigned to the pages of science fiction novels is now very much a possibility, thanks to the work of Sir Ian Wilmut and the team he lead. Together the research group created a clone of a sheep, which they named Dolly (after Dolly Parton), using the technique of somatic cell nuclear transfer. Dolly, who was the world’s first mammalian clone, died in 2003 and is now stuffed and on display at the Royal Museum of Scotland, but the benefits of Sir Ian’s work continue to influence the scientific world.

Sir Andre Geim

Studied: Post-doctoral fellow
Famous for: His work on graphene

About: You may have heard about the incredible things wonder-material graphene could have in store for us, but if you haven’t, here’s a quick rundown. It could help detect cancer cells, it could be used as a paint that warns us when a structure is damaged, it could filter most of the salt from sea water or it could create body armour that is ultra-lightweight but could stop a bullet. And that’s just a glimpse at its potential. We have Sir Andre Geim to thank for the miracle material after he found a very simple method for extracting it.

D.H. Lawrence

Studied: Teaching
Famous for: Writer and poet

About: Lawrence is one of England’s greatest and most influential writers, penning works such as The Rainbow, Women in Love and Lady Chatterley’s Lover. The latter was one of the most controversial novels of its time, banned in the UK until 1960. It shook the literary world with its graphic descriptions of sex. While many were deeply offended, the book itself quickly sold three million copies.

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