Century of learning

Since the mid-19th century to the Millennium, the University has made world-changing breakthroughs in medicine, science and engineering; it has championed excellence in the arts, impacted on government policy and made significant investments in campus facilities. Birmingham's global profile expanded greatly during this era, launching it into the arena of the top-100 universities in the world. 

Here are some of the key moments in the years 1951 to 2000, which included the addition of three more Nobel Prize winners.  



1951 The Shakespeare Institute is established in Stratford-upon-Avon, a centre of excellence for the study of Shakespeare's work and life.
1960 Sir Peter Medawar is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his pioneering work in transplant surgery.
1960 After groundbreaking research at Birmingham, the first heart pacemaker is fitted by surgeons at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
1962 Professor Maurice Wilkins was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his contribution to the discovery of DNA.
1968 Professor Charlotte Anderson demonstrates the role of gluten fraction of wheat in Coeliac Disease, leading to the introduction of gluten-free diets.
1972 The University begins construction of the Raymond Priestly Centre, for outdoor pursuits and field studies, on Coniston Water in the Lake District.
1973 The University railway station was opened: Birmingham is the only university in Great Britain to have it's own railway station named 'University'. 
1973 The University spin out company, Alta Biosciences was founded; today it is recognised as being a leading manufacturing laboratory.
1982 Sir John Vane is awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work with aspirin and related painkillers.
1982 The Birmingham ElectroAcoustic Sound theatre (BEAST) is founded by Professor Jonty Harrison.
1982 The Ironbridge Institute offers postgraduate courses in Industrial Archaeology and later in Heritage Management.
1985 The Astrophysics and Space Research Group develop and manufacture the X-ray telescope used on board the space shuttle Challenger.
1990 The University offers Britain’s first ever course in Playwriting.
1997 Birmingham becomes a member of Universitas 21 (U21): in 2002, Birmingham is home to the new, centralised U21 Secretariat. U21 is an organisation of global research intensive universities.
1998 The University becomes one of the first universities in Europe to be awarded the prestigious Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence title; this was reaffirmed in 2006.
2000 Birmingham celebrates its centenary and prominent modern artist Eduardo Paolozzi donates his sculpture 'Faraday' to the University as a gift.