Ex-Salt River inventor to receive MBE
DAWOOD PARKER moved from Salt River to the UK more than 50 years ago – and is now being awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in recognition of his services to science and international development.
“It was quite a surprise, but it was nice to be recognised,” he said in an e-mail to the Cape Times yesterday.
Parker, 74, said he wasn’t sure when he would receive the award.
“I have yet to be informed about the date of the investiture, when either the Queen or Prince Charles will make the award at Buckingham Palace.”
Parker went to Trafalgar High and graduated from UCT with a BSc in 1959 and BSc honours in physics in 1960. He arrived in the UK in April 1961 after receiving a scholarship to do a PhD in physics at Southampton University.
The award was given to Parker in recognition of his inventions which had contributed to improved survival rates in premature babies.
He was also responsible for a number of other inventions in patient monitoring.
Parker said after completing his PhD he worked as a medical physicist at University College London and became director of the biomedical sensors unit.
“During that time I invented a catheter-tip oxygen sensor, which was used to continuously measure the oxygen level in pre-term infants. This led to further instrumentation developments in oxygen monitoring in newborn intensive care, which ultimately saw the survival rates increase very significantly.”
Parker is now managing director of Melys Diagnostics, a medical instrumentation business in Wales.
He also worked with the Institute of Physics in the UK in organising entrepreneur workshops for scientists interested in creating businesses out of their inventions.
The Cape Times reported last week that another Capetonian, Clarence October of Bonteheuwel, was awarded an MBE in recognition for his services to the people of Tristan da Cunha, the world’s most remote inhabited island and home to 273 Britons.
October, who works for fishing company Ovenstone Agencies, and his crew were instrumental in saving the crew of the ill-fated Maltese cargo carrier Oliva, which ran aground at Nightingale in March 2011. They also ferried hundreds of oil-drenched penguins to Tristan for rehabilitation.