Queen Elizabeth II led a low-tech life—but knighted plenty of sci-tech figures

Enlarge / Queen Elizabeth II of England reigned for a record 70 years. She died Thursday at the age of 96. (credit: Chris Jackson – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest-serving monarch, signals the end of an era not just for Great Britain but for the world at large. That includes the global scientific and technological community. Over the course of her long reign, the queen bestowed various honors on several leaders in science and technology—her very own knights of the sci-tech table. We mark her passing with a select list of some of the most prominent scientists and technologists thus honored.

The technologists

Jony Ive

Jony Ive has had a massive influence on the design of Apple products, most notably the distinctive looks of the iMac, Power Mac G4 Cube, iPod, iPhone, iPad, and MacBook. You can also blame his obsession with thinness for the problematic butterfly keyboard and the removal of the MagSafe power connector, HDMI port, and SD card readers from the MacBook. Nobody’s perfect.

Ive started his career at a London design firm called Tangerine, where he was charged with designing common household products like microwave ovens, toilets, drills, and toothbrushes. But he found the work frustrating, given that clients often didn’t share his streamlined modern tastes. After one such client rejected his design for a toilet and bidet, he decided to accept an offer to join Apple, even though it meant moving his family to the US. He had a rocky start and purportedly nearly quit. Steve Jobs convinced him to stay when Jobs returned to the company after his infamous 1985 ouster.

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