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Peter Cochrane is to be the first holder of Bristol University's Collier Chair in the public understanding of science and technology. This is an annual professorship awarded to a leading figure in the scientific community who will be expected to raise public awareness of the benefits of science and technology within society. Professor Cochrane is head of BT laboratories and a weekly science columnist for the Daily Telegraph.

His successor will be Sally Duensing, assistant director of science and museum liaison at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. In 200102, the holder will be Sir Neil Cossons, director of the Science Museum.

Stephen Maddock has been appointed chief executive of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra from September, in time for the opening of the orchestra's 80th anniversary season. Born in 1968, Mr Maddock joined the music department of BBC Radio 3 in 1990 and since 1995 has been the administrator of the BBC Proms, where he has been responsible for the planning and execution of three Proms seasons. He succeeds Edward Smith, who has been the CBSO's chief executive for 21 years.

The title of professor is to be conferred on Brian Gates, head of religious studies and social ethics at St Martin's College, Lancaster. Dr Gates chaired the Religious Education Council from 1984 to 1990.

John Smith will take over as director of education of the Diocese of Rochester from Diane Greenwood, who retires in August. Mr Smith has been director of education of the Diocese of Peterborough since 1995.

Andrew Burton has become chairman of the Professional Young Engineers group, a joint venture between the Engineering Council and its partner institutions to raise the public profile of engineers aged under 35. He succeeds the PYE's inaugural chairman, Gary Travers.

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