On Tuesday 5th March 2019, the Lord-Lieutenant of Ayrshire, Sheriff Iona McDonald presented Professor Danny Gorman with his insignia as an officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).  The ceremony took place at Grange Academy, Kilmarnock as part of an evening with the Kilmarnock Engineering and Science Society (KESS).

Professor Gorman was awarded the OBE as part of the New Year’s Honours List.  In presenting the medal, the Lord-Lieutenant highlighted Danny’s work in Kilmarnock and East Ayrshire promoting education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in local schools and the community.  The award recognises, in particular, that as a result of his energy many children in disadvantaged communities and remote rural areas have benefitted from access to additional resources with Danny securing them additional funding.  Through his leadership of KESS, many world class speakers from the worlds of science and engineering have come to Kilmarnock to describe the latest developments in their field. 

In receiving the honour, Professor Gorman said, “I am really thrilled about this recognition which is shared by the members of KESS who have given their unstinting support to our work with young people.  It would not have been possible without the support of my wife, Dr June Neilson, and my family.”

The picture below shows, left to right, Professor Danny Gorman OBE, The Lord-Lieutenant of Ayrshire Sheriff Iona McDonald, and Professor Gorman’s wife Dr June Neilson.


Some other pictures taken at the meeting

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Willowbank Pupil Prize 2018


The Society has enjoyed a long and beneficial association with Willowbank School. Over the past four years we have organised many science fairs and special events. In 2018 we decided to, each year, award a special prize to a pupil whom the School judged to have excelled in science.

This year the prize was awarded to Valo Douglas for enthusiasm and participation in science activities. The prize took the form of a framed certificate and gift voucher.

The Society congratulates Valo on his achievement and we wish him every success for the future.



Society Elects New President

CBKessAt the recent Annual General Meeting of the Kilmarnock Engineering and Science Society (KESS) , the Reverend Colin Brockie was elected as its new President to hold office from 2018 to2020. Colin is probably best known to local people as the long standing Minister of Grange Church from 1978 until his retirement in 2007. However there are other aspects to Colin which make him an appropriate President of such as Society. Before entering the Ministry, Colin graduated in Electrical Engineering from Aberdeen University in 1964 and since 2013 he has been a Member and Administrative Secretary of the Society of Ordained Scientists. He is also an active STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Ambassador thus involving himself in the various Society Outreach and Community events. He has been a member of the Society since its formation in 2012 and member of its Council since 2015. As Council member, Colin has played a significant role in fund raising and securing of grants for its Outreach and Community events.

 Upon accepting the role of President until 2020, Colin said “I am honoured and not a little surprised to have been elected President. Sir James Dyson, who has set up his own institute to train engineers, says that we need another million engineers skilled in software, hardware and electronics by 2020 so I am delighted to help our Society play its part in promoting STEM subjects and encouraging young people to discover the joy and satisfaction that an engineering career brings”


Honorary Life Membership awarded to Dr Carol Marsh, Firmware and Digital Technical Manager, Leonardo.
At our meeting on the 6th of March 2018, after her lecture entitled “The Future of  Electronics”, Honorary Life Membership of the Society (KESS) was awarded to Dr Carol Marsh for her achievements in her field and outstanding support for the Society since its founding in 2012. She is the fourth  person to be awarded such an honour, the others being Professors Colin McInnes, Martin Hendry and Liz Tanner all of Glasgow University. Carol is the manager for a team of approximately 100 Firmware, Digital and PCB layout engineers. She is responsible for setting the strategy, managing resources, developing the engineers, managing tools and for ensuring that all complex electronic designs follow a Civil Aviation compliant process.

In 2011 Carol was awarded the degree of Doctor of Engineering in System Level Integration (EngD) from the Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt and Strathclyde. She is the winner of 3 technical awards: Elektra Student Engineer of the Year, IET Innovation and NMI Emerging Technology and 4 awards for her work inspiring women in engineering: FDM Everywoman Inspiration Award, WES Gillian Skinner Award, WES Isabel Hardwich Medal and the International Women Leadership Achievement Award.

Carol is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Past President of the Women’s Engineering Society, a Professional Registration Advisor and Interviewer and a STEM Ambassador.

The photo shows Carol being awarded her certificate by the President Graham Short MBE and Secretary Dr June Neilson.

KESS Member judging at the Big Bang Fair

KESS Member and STEM Ambassador  Ken Mollison was caught by the BBC and appeared in the 6 o’clock news on Wedneday 15th March 2018 supporting The Big Bang Competition as a judge. The Big Bang Fair is held annually and presently is at the NEC Birmingham. It is a 4 day event which celebrates future engineers, scientists and technologists by giving them a platform to display their knowledge and understanding and compete for various awards. The teams have progressed through regional heats and on line competition. The Big Bang Fair also provides a number of inspirational events and many leading UK technology businesses provide educational stands.   Around 20000 attendees were present over the 4 day event.


Society Award to Top Advanced Higher Physics Student 2017

At the meeting on the 9th of January 2018, the Society Awarded its 2017 Advance Higher Physics Award and Prize to Adam Frew. Adam is a former pupil of Grange Academy and is now studying Electrical Engineering at Glasgow University. In the 2017 Advance Higher Physics examination, Adam attained the highest mark of all the candidates in East Ayrshire.

Our congratulations go to Adam and we wish him the best for the future.


The photograph shows Adam with his award certificate and flanked by President Graham Short, Margaret Harper, Robert Johnston and Chris Smith (all Grange Academy) and Professor Adam McBride (University of Strathclyde).


Society celebrates retirement of head teacher

At our first lecture of 2017-18, the Society took the opportunity to acknowledge the retirement of Mrs Sally Whittet as Head Teacher of Muirkirk Primary School which was our first adopted school in 2013-14. That adoption was a tremendous success due, in large, to the outstanding efforts and enthusiasm shown by Sally and teacher Karen Gail. Also present at this lecture was the head teachers of our two adopted schools for 2017-18; Mrs Shona Murphy of Galston Primary School and Mrs Elizabeth Heron of St Sophia’s Primary School. The Society wishes Sally a long, happy and healthy retirement.

 The photograph shows from left to right Shona Murphy, President Graham Short, Professor Sheila Rowan - Chief Science Advisor for Scotland (the speaker on the night), Elizabeth Heron, Karen Gail and Sally Whittet.



Society honours eminent engineer

At a recent meeting of the Kilmarnock Engineering and Science Society (KESS) Professor Liz Tanner was awarded Honorary Life Membership for outstanding support for, and services to, the Society. Professor Tanner has been Professor of Biomedical Materials at the University of Glasgow since August 2007. Previously she was Professor of Biomedical Materials at Queen Mary University of London. She did her undergraduate and DPhil degrees in Engineering Science in Oxford, at the same college where her grandmother had gone from Edinburgh to do medicine 80 years earlier. She was Secretary of the European Society for Biomaterials 2005-2009 and was involved in the founding of the UK Society for Biomaterials and was their first President in 2000. She was elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2006 and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2015. She is a Trustee of the Royal Academy of Engineering. She started the Biomedical Engineering degrees at the University of Glasgow in 2010 with now 2 cohorts graduated and working around the world. Liz was awarded an OBE in the New Year List of January 2016 and will collect an Honorary PhD in Medicine from Lund University in Sweden at the beginning of June this year. Her research interests are biomaterials for bone augmentation and replacement and the biomechanics of such devices. She has developed materials that have been used in ¼ million patients.

In receiving her award, Professor Tanner said that societies like KESS had a leading role to play in attracting more able young people to pursue careers in engineering. She congratulated the Society on what it has achieved since its founding in 2012.


KESS celebrates Jim Richmond’s 100th Birthday
At a recent meeting of the Kilmarnock Engineering and Science Society (KESS) the speaker was Dr Mark Wiggins of the University of Strathclyde who gave a most interesting talk on the application of high power lasers. After his lecturer, the Society celebrated one of its founder members, Jim Richmond, who that day (21st February 2017) was 100 years old and presented him with a birthday cake specially decorated for the event by Mary Montgomerie of Stewarton. The President of KESS, Graham Short MBE, delivered a congratulatory speech on behalf of all the members. Graham highlighted that Jim had been a great servant to the local community as a dentist and during World War 2 he was a member of the Army Dental Corp. Graham went on to point out that in his life, Jim had seen 4 Monarchs, 9 Popes, 24 Prime Ministers, 18 Presidents of the USA and 7 First Ministers of Scotland.


Jim Richmond presented with his Special Birthday Cake by Dr June Neilson (Secretary of KESS). Also in photo are left to right Suzanne Flynn (Past President of KESS), Dr Mark Wiggins (University of Strathclyde), Dr Mike Timmons (KESS Council Member) and Graham Short MBE (President of KESS)


Jim Richmond with his Special Birthday Cake presented to him by KESS