As well as being a renowned microbiologist, Hugh Somerville is also - and perhaps best - known for his work on aviation, the environment and sustainable transport, subjects on which he is a recognized world authority.
Born in 1939 in Castle Douglas, Scotland, he gained a degree in Chemistry from Edinburgh University, followed by a PhD in Microbiology from Sheffield University. He subsequently took up research and teaching posts at the University of California and Berkeley before joining Shell where he lead the company's research groups in biotechnology and microbiology.
In 1989 he moved to British Airways as head of the Sustainable Business Unit. His team won a number of awards for its environmental, community and conservation programmes, and he was also responsible for taking BA into the UK Emissions Trading Scheme. While with the company he also served as chair of the environmental groups of both the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Association of European Airlines (AEA).
He retired from BA in October 2002 but remains active in the fields of travel and sustainable transport. Among other positions he serves as a Trustee of the Travel Foundation; an Executive of Greener by Design - a British body devoted to promoting environmental sustainability in the aviation industry - and on the UK Aerospace Innovation and Growth Team and the Camelot Corporate Responsibility Panel. He also does consultancy work for groups such as Eurocontrol, the Qatar Tourist Authority and the International Civil Aviation Organization.
He is visiting Professor in the University of Surrey's School of Management, and has authored numerous articles and papers on aviation and sustainable transport, including most recently a 40-page report - 'Sustainable Aviation' - in his role as co-ordinator of the British aviation industry's Sustainable Aviation Strategy.
He is married with two children.