The Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Helsinki will confer honorary doctorates on 13 prominent figures from academia, culture and various sectors of society.

Stanley D. Brunn (b. 1939) of the University of Kentucky, USA, is a professor of human geography with diverse and wide-ranging expertise. He is a scientist of exceptional international renown who has studied the regional structure of the information society, time-space geography, cyberspace and innovative cartographies. In addition to having served as the editor-in-chief of two leading geographical journals, Professor Brunn has written and edited several works of importance in the field.

Wah Chiu (b. 1947) is a professor at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, USA. His speciality is the use of electron cryomicroscopy to determine the structures of biological nanomachines in order to determine the structure of biological macromolecular components, such as viruses, at near-atomic resolutions. Thus far, such precision can be achieved only with symmetric (icosahedral) particles. Recently, Professor Chiu has focused on imaging asymmetric particles, a speciality in which he is considered the world’s leading expert. Chiu is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) and is engaged in successful cooperation with scientists at the University of Helsinki specialising in prokaryotic viruses.

Maxime Crochemore (b. 1947) is a specialist in the design and analysis of algorithms and the leading international pioneer in the development of combinatorial pattern matching and its applications in bioinformatics. He has written a number of textbooks in his field. In addition, Crochemore has held professorships at several universities in Paris and is presently professor of computer science at King's College in London. The University of Helsinki and Professor Crochemore have collaborated since the 1980s.

Linda Darling-Hammond (b. 1951) has been named as one of the ten most influential figures in American educational policy. She is a respected, award-winning professor of education at Stanford University and is among the most notable scholars in the field world-wide. She has founded and directed several respected research communities. In her research, Darling-Hammond focuses on the restructuring and leadership of the school system and teacher education as well as the enhancement of educational equity. She also served as an advisor on education policy during Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.

Geoffrey G. Jones (b. 1952) is the Isidor Straus Professor of Business History at Harvard Business School, USA. He is an internationally acclaimed business historian of broad expertise. Jones has focused on the history of the beauty industry and green entrepreneurship as well as on the role of business enterprises in the history of globalisation. Professor Jones’ pioneering research has been an important source of inspiration for the research on business history undertaken at the University of Helsinki, which has also risen to international fame.

Jindrich Henry Kopecek (b. 1940) is a professor of pharmaceutics and pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of Utah. He is an international forerunner in research focusing on bioconjugate chemistry, and drug delivery systems, as well as self-assembled and genetically engineered materials. In his research, Kopecek creatively combines methods used in polymer chemistry, pharmacy, materials science and molecular biology. Professor Kopecek is an internationally respected top scholar in pharmacy and polymer chemistry whose activities as a scientist and educator of scientists has had a significant and lasting impact on the development of the above fields.

Per Linell (b. 1944) is an influential scholar and reformer of dialogical communication and the grammar of conversational language. He headed the innovative Tema Kommunikation unit at Linköping University from 1981 to 2005 and then took up a professorship at the Department of Culture and Communication at the same university. From 1996 to 1999, he held the position of visiting professor of conversation analysis at the University of Helsinki. Linell is an internationally- connected researcher of language and culture with a broad range of expertise. In recent years, he has concentrated on exploring institutional communicative activities and the resulting communicative culture.

Mauri Antero Numminen (b. 1940) is a diversifying influence and inimitable ambassador of Finnish culture who has made a career as a singer, composer, writer and maker of short films. He is known for his unique style of singing. His musical career sprung from the student world of the University of Helsinki during the 1960s. Numminen studied a variety of subjects ranging from economics, political science and philosophy to linguistics and sociology. Multidisciplinarity has always been second nature to this multitalented figure, whose art reflects his broad knowledge of the humanities and social sciences. Numminen enjoys intelligent debate and maintains continuous contact with the University of Helsinki.

Per-Edvin Persson (b. 1949) is a doctor and docent of science in agriculture and forestry. His life’s work has been to direct Heureka, the Finnish Science Centre (1991–2013), and to develop it into a respected international institution that enjoys wide recognition around the world. Heureka has played a significant role in promoting science education and in inspiring future academic researchers. In addition to serving as the director of Heureka, Persson held a number of elected positions within the sphere of science policy. In 2011, he was awarded the title of professor.

Friedemann Pulvermüller (b. 1960) is a professor at Freie Universität Berlin as well the director of its Brain Language Laboratory. He has conducted pioneering research on language processing in the human brain by combining biology, linguistics and neuroscience. Pulvermüller has investigated the mechanisms of linguistic structures and use at the level of nerve cell circuits. He has also applied his research results to language therapy techniques.

Janelle Reinelt (b. 1947) is professor of theatre research at the University of Warwick and one of the most important international academics in theatre and performance studies. Her key research interests include intercultural issues, political and feminist performance theory as well as documentary performances. Reinelt has held several notable elected positions, such as the presidency of the International Federation for Theatre Research from 2003 to 2007. She has collaborated with theatre researchers from the University of Helsinki for more than 20 years.

Chris D. Thomas (b. 1959) of the University of York has studied the impacts of habitat fragmentation and climate change on the subsistence and distribution of species. His approach combines empirical methods and models with basic and applied research. Professor Thomas’ predictions about the extinction of certain species due to climate change have influenced the decisions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Jürgen Troe (b. 1940) is the former professor of physical chemistry at the University of Göttingen and director at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry. He is one of the world’s most respected researchers of chemical reactions and has maintained close links with the Department of Chemistry, University of Helsinki since 1974. Professor Troe is a member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters. He is also interested in science policy and has served as a scientific advisor to the chancellor of Germany.