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Four new Fellows of the Royal Society at Imperial

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-Royal Society web site
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28 May 2004

Two Imperial physicists, a chemist and a microbiologist were among those elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society this year, it was announced today.

Donal Bradley and Ed Hinds, of the physics department, Vernon Gibson of the chemistry department, and David Holden of the division of investigative science were elected to the UK's national academy of science, and are permitted to place the letters FRS after their names.

The four new Fellows, all based at the South Kensington campus, take the total at the College to 57.

The four Imperial Fellows, of the 44 announced today, were recognised for 'their contributions to science, both in fundamental research resulting in greater understanding, and also in leading and directing scientific and technological progress in industry and research establishments.'

Gordon Conway, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, was also elected a Fellow. Professor Conway, elected a Fellow of Imperial College in 2003, is a former head of the College's Centre for Environmental Technology.

Physics stars

image: Donal Bradley Professor Donal Bradley, 42, studied physics at Imperial as an undergraduate, graduating in 1983 and rejoining in 2000 as Professor of Experimental Solid State Physics and Deputy Director of the Centre for Electronic Materials.

Professor Bradley was recognised for his work over 20 years in developing molecular electronic materials and devices, a field that has gone from strength to strength in the UK and is now providing the basis for a new generation of display devices, with many other applications in prospect.

He was a member of the European team awarded the 2003 Descartes Prize from the European Union, for work developing the potential of polymeric light-emitting diodes for light and image display screens.

"Naturally I am delighted to be honoured in this way," said Professor Bradley on hearing the news. "It is also great for me to be able to follow in the footsteps of my father, Dan Bradley, who was elected a Fellow in 1976, whilst also a Professor of Physics at Imperial College."

"I hope it will also be seen as recognition of the many contributions made over this time by my PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and academic colleagues."

image: Ed Hinds Professor Ed Hinds, 54, director of Imperial's Centre for Cold Matter, has established a reputation for his work using lasers to manipulate and control atoms and molecules.

"The earliest experiments used atomic beams flying close to metal surfaces to measure what are known as Casimir Polder forces," he explained. "Later we used laser cooling to collect clouds of very cold atoms in tiny traps and developed techniques for controlling the quantum states of the atoms."

"These things are all very basic physics but one can see how they will probably lead to a new kind of quantum technology," he said.

Professor Hinds said it was a great honour to be elected a Fellow. "The Royal Society is a very important institution that does an enormous amount of good in British science, and I will be proud to be a Fellow of it," he said.

Professor Peter Knight FRS, head of the department of physics, was delighted at the news that two research stars from the department had been recognised.

"This is the first time we in Physics have had two colleagues elected in the same year since Tom Kibble and the late Walter Welford were elected in together in 1980," he said.


image: Vernon Gibson Vernon Gibson, the Sir Edward Frankland BP Professor of Inorganic Chemistry joined Imperial College in 1995 and currently heads the Catalysis and Materials section within the Department of Chemistry. His main research interests are focused on the design of new catalyst systems for the controlled synthesis of a number of industrially important classes of polymer.

Professor Gibson said, on hearing the news: "It's a great thrill to receive this ultimate acknowledgement by one's peer group. Most of all, it recognises the contributions made over many years by a group of highly talented and motivated students and postdocs."


image: David Holden Professor David Holden of the division of investigative science in the Faculty of Medicine joined Imperial when it merged with the Royal Postgraduate Medical School in 1997. He is recognised by the Royal Society for his research on the genetics of infection, particularly in Salmonella.

Earlier this month, Microscience, a spin out company developed through work by Professor Holden and colleagues, announced that it intends to float on the Alternative Investment Market in London, raising £40m of new money and giving it a market capitalisation of between £120m and £140m.

Fellowship of the Royal Society citations

Donal Donat Conor Bradley (Professor of Experimental Solid State Physics and Deputy Director of Centre for Electronic Materials, Imperial College London): Professor Bradley has played a key role in developing the physics and application of molecular electronic materials over the past twenty years, advancing significantly the UKs excellent reputation in the field. He has worked extensively with chemists in academe and industry to establish the foundations of materials design, optimisation and processing, that have enabled this field to emerge as an exciting new branch of solid state science, and he is widely sought by industry as a consultant. His pioneering physics contributions in Cambridge, Sheffield and now at Imperial College have had a major impact on fundamental debates concerning the detailed nature of electronic states, their dependence on chemical and physical structure, and the resulting consequences for devices. Exploitation of the distinguishing attributes of molecular electronic materials has been an important theme and highly polarized LEDs and the generation of giant room temperature Rabi splitting are two examples of successful innovations. Furthermore, as one of the inventors of conjugated polymer electroluminescence and a cofounder of Cambridge Display Technology Ltd, Professor Bradley has made a major contribution to the commercial development of a new generation of display products. A second company, Molecular Vision Ltd, has been launched to develop novel, lab-on-chip, analysis systems for chemical and biological assay and photodiodes are being developed for retinomorphic imaging systems and solar cells, promising a growing range of commercial opportunities. Group web page:

Vernon Charles Gibson (Sir Edward Frankland BP Professor of Inorganic Chemistry, Imperial College London): Vernon Gibson is distinguished for his seminal synthetic, structural and bonding studies on metal complexes, and for designing novel initiators and catalysts for controlled polymer synthesis. Web page:

Edward Hinds (Professor of Physics, Imperial College London): He is distinguished for experimental investigation of fundamental atomic physics in three linked areas: the physics of ultra-cold atoms, precision measurements and fundamental symmetry tests and cavity QED and atom-surface interactions. His work on atom optics, particularly on the use of magnetic structures has been hugely influential. Centre web page:

David William Holden (Professor of Molecular Microbiology, Imperial College London): He is distinguished for genetic studies of microbial pathogenicity. He made a seminal breakthrough by inventing signature-tagged mutagenesis (STM), an in vivo genetic screen for indentifying virulence genes. Web page:

Fellow of Imperial College London

Gordon Richard Conway (President, Rockefeller Foundation): He has carried out important research on agricultural pests and their management in agroforestry and in integrated pest management for the reduction of pesticide use. He is well-known for his work on the application of mathematical models to pest control.