The Adams-Sweeting Lecture: Professor Usha Goswami

Distinguished guests, our honoured speaker Professor Usha Goswami, colleagues, and ladies and gentlemen:  

Good evening and welcome to the University of Surrey’s Adams-Sweeting Lecture.   

We are delighted to host Professor Goswami as our distinguished speaker this evening.  

The power of words and the impact of language are often under-valued in our society and I am certain you’ll find tonight’s lecture compelling and thought-provoking.  

This lecture series has a proud tradition of hearing from eminent speakers at the frontiers of science and technology.  

It is, of course, named in honour of Professor Alf Adams and Sir Martin Sweeting – two Surrey pioneers who I’m delighted to say both join us tonight.  

Although they need no introduction to this audience, it would be remiss of me not to pay tribute to their extraordinary achievements in science and technology.   

To Professor Alf Adams, for inventing the strained-layer quantum-well laser.  

And to Professor Sir Martin Sweeting, for pioneering modern small satellites.  The impact of their world-changing discoveries and inventions is simply huge.   

Science continues to push the boundaries of knowledge through language and education, translating ideas, self-belief and focus into impactful actions.  

Tonight, we are privileged to hear a distinguished leader of neuroscience, technology and education: Professor Usha Goswami, on the topic of: ‘Dyslexia, Rhythm, Language and the Developing Brain’.  

Her ongoing studies into identifying how the neural processes of typically-developing children differ from those of children with dyslexia and children with Developmental Language Disorder are an inspiration.  

Usha is the Director for the Centre for Neuroscience in Education at the University of Cambridge. In 2019 she received education’s equivalent of ‘The Noble Prize’ – the Yidan Prize for Educational Research – for her work in educational neuroscience, language and literacy.

The Royal Society elected her as a Fellow last May, citing “her fundamental contributions to understanding how individual differences in children’s ‘phonological awareness’ (of word sound structure) underpin reading development and dyslexia across languages”.   Last year she was awarded a CBE for her services to educational research. 

Usha’s lecture tonight is also very timely at Surrey, given our recent strategic moves in the School of Psychology, particularly our plans to develop innovative science-and evidence-based solutions,  through multidisciplinary research for optimizing and accelerating learning across the lifespan .

Communication and collaboration remain integral to our future.  I would like to salute Usha, for her dedicated and pioneering research on phonology to benefit all children, for opening our eyes and ears to the gift of language, on which our cultures, societies and communities are built.  

Ladies and gentlemen, it is now my pleasure to hand over to Professor Khan, who as our Pro-Chancellor Academic to formally introduce Usha.  

Over to you, Osama.