Nine academics from Imperial have been recognized with prizes in the annual Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) awards.
The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Prizes and Awards are awarded in recognition of originality and impact of research, or for each winner’s contribution to the chemical sciences industry or education. They also acknowledge the importance of teamwork across the chemical sciences, as well as the abilities of individuals to develop successful collaborations.
From research on chemical probes for disease to new materials for solar cells, plus entrepreneurship efforts and cataloging to the history of the discipline, this year’s winners illustrate the breadth of Imperial’s contributions to chemical sciences.
Professor Richard Craster, Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, said: "I am delighted to see the strengths of Imperial as a whole, and the Department of Chemistry in particular, reflected in the range, and number, of the prestigious prizes and awards from the RSC this year. Congratulations to all the winners!"
Professor Nigel Brandon, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, said: "Many congratulations to Camille, Daryl, and Vernon, for this well-deserved recognition from the Royal Society of Chemistry. Their work addresses issues ranging from the development of materials for a more sustainable society through policy advice to entrepreneurial success – they are outstanding colleagues and we benefit tremendously from all their hard work."
Dr Mark Crimmin – Department of Chemistry – Chemistry of Transition Metals Award
Dr Mark Crimmin won his award for the discovery of an unprecedented transition metal complex with a hexagonal planar geometry. The molecule has six atoms each connected to a central transition metal but only weakly connected to each other.
He said: “I think it is important that despite the circumstances we continue to recognise science and the scientific process, which ultimately will play a vital role in our recovery. So, in that spirit, I am delighted to receive this award on behalf of my research group. I am lucky enough to work with some brilliant young scientists who are a real pleasure to collaborate with. The award is a recognition of their creativity and hard work and I look forward to celebrating with them, remotely and in person as time allows.”
In recognition of his achievements, he also received £2,000 and a medal.
Professor Vernon Gibson – Department of Materials – Lord Lewis Prize
Professor Vernon Gibson won his award for seminal contributions to fundamental and applied inorganic chemistry, and for critical work in policy setting at the interface of academia with industry and government.
He said: “I am deeply humbled and honoured to be chosen to receive the Lord Lewis Prize, and do so on behalf of the many talented students, postdocs and colleagues with whom I’ve been privileged to share a wonderful scientific journey.”
Professor Gibson has, along with his academic work, worked closely with industry, becoming Chief Scientist at BP and Chief Scientific Adviser at the Ministry of Defence. In recognition of his achievements, he also received a £5,000 cash prize and a medal.
Professor William Griffith – Department of Chemistry – Award for Exceptional Service
Professor William Griffith was nominated by his peers for an outstanding contribution to proactively and inclusively supporting colleagues and the wider scientific community, by advising on activities celebrating the history of the chemical sciences.
He co-wrote a The Chemistry Department at Imperial College London: A History, 1845 – 2000, a history of chemistry at Imperial, including explosions, Nobel Prizewinners and poems.
Professor Griffith, who also serves as Membership Secretary of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Historical Group said: “I was delighted, of course, to receive this award, and very pleased. I was surprised too, because I have always thought of myself as a practical inorganic chemist, with chemical-historical interests as a sort of professional hobby.”
In recognition of his achievements, he also received a medal.
Professor Martin Heeney – Department of Chemistry – Peter Day Award
Professor Martin Heeney won his award for pioneering contributions to solution processed organic semiconductors, particularly heavy main group containing polymers, and their device applications.
Professor Heeney’s work focuses on the development of new classes of conjugated polymers which can be used in applications from flexible, rollable displays to transparent solar cells for smart windows, to integrated sensors.
He said: “I am extremely honoured to receive the Peter Day Award. This is really an award for my fantastic research group and collaborators, both past and present, and I’d like to thank them for all their hard work and excellent contributions over the years.”
In recognition of his achievements, he also received a £2,000 cash prize and a medal.
Professor Nick Long – Department of Chemistry – Frankland Award
Professor Nick Long won his award for outstanding synthetic inorganic and organometallic chemistry and subsequent applications in catalysis, functional materials and biomedical imaging.
He said: “I am absolutely delighted to win this prestigious award from the Royal Society of Chemistry. I would like to say a big thank you to all the current and past members of my research group, alongside my many collaborators who have all helped in my research endeavours over the past 25 years.
“I am particularly pleased to win the Frankland Award, as I hold the Sir Edward Frankland Chair at Imperial College, and in recent years have begun to appreciate the remarkable career of Frankland and his range of achievements in inorganic and organometallic chemistry. I am very honoured to win this award named after him, and to join the impressive list of previous winners of the award.”
In recognition of his achievements, he also received a £2,000 cash prize and a medal.
Professor Iain McCulloch – Department of Chemistry – Interdisciplinary Prize
Professor Iain McCulloch’s work has focused on using chemical molecular design and synthesis to create new organic materials capable for use in optics, electronics and sensors. These materials have specific functionality which can facilitate light absorption to enable new flexible solar cells, for example.
He won this award for advances in the design, synthesis and innovative application of functional materials in optics, electronics and energy.
Professor McCulloch said: “It is a huge honour to be awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry Interdisciplinary Prize. My research relies on having excellent, and patient, collaborators, as well as having group members who are comfortable to extend their expertise into areas beyond their educational background and comfort zones. At these murky boundaries, most of the interesting discoveries are made.”
In recognition of his achievements, he also received a medal and a cheque for £5,000.
Dr Camille Petit – Department of Chemical Engineering – Barrer Award
Dr Camille Petit works on developing porous materials that can act as filters for pollutants, including greenhouse gases, and help convert carbon dioxide or other compounds into valuable fuels and chemicals using sunlight, a renewable form of energy.
She won her award for innovative work on porous nanostructures for applications in the energy and sustainability sectors.
Dr Petit said: “This award is truly special to me since porous materials are the common denominator to everything we do in my group, and to all of my research since I completed my MSc. The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Barrer Award is certainly a nice nod to the Barrer Centre at Imperial, of which I am a member, making this a particularly significant award for me.”
In recognition of her achievements, Dr Petit also received £500 prize money.
Professor Ed Tate – Department of Chemistry – Corday-Morgan Prize
Professor Ed Tate’s work focuses on the chemistry of how cells modify or ‘upgrade’ proteins. He and his team have developed new technologies to understand how these upgrades work across whole cells or organisms, with an interest in identifying ways to disable or enhance protein modification to target diseases.
He won his award for contributions to the discovery of novel chemical probes, and their application in opening up new understandings of protein modification in living systems, leading to the validation of novel drug targets in cancer and infectious disease.
Professor Tate said: “I am very grateful to receive this prize, which recognises the many people who have mentored and inspired me, from my research group and colleagues to my many collaborators and friends in academia and industry, and particularly the constant support of my wife and family.”
In recognition of his achievements, he also received a £5,000 prize and a medal.
Professor Daryl Williams – Department of Chemical Engineering – Chemistry World Entrepreneur of the Year
Professor Daryl Williams won the award for the pioneering invention of the Dynamic Vapour Sorption (DVS) instrument, which has transformed research laboratory practice worldwide.
He said: “It is an honour that the Royal Society of Chemistry should acknowledge the commercial success achieved by my staff and I at Surface Measurement Systems over the past 20 years.
“I am especially thankful that the quiet achievement of the chemists, scientists, engineers and other professionals at Surface Measurement Systems, who have provided world-leading innovation and science, is being celebrated by the RSC, while at the same time shining a light on the importance of entrepreneurial efforts of chemists and engineers which make our world a better place.”
In recognition of his achievements, he also received a trophy.
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