Sir John Meurig Thomas Receives Honorary Doctorate

  • Author: ChemViews
  • Published Date: 03 June 2012
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
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On the occasion of its 600th Anniversary, the University of St Andrews, Scotland, has announced that it is to award an honorary doctorate of science to Professor Sir John Meurig Thomas, University of Cambridge, UK, for his distinguished contributions to solid-state science, heterogeneous catalysis, and the popularisation of science. St Andrews is Scotland's first university and the third oldest in the English-speaking world.

As 600th Anniversary Distinguished Lecturer at St Andrews, Thomas will give a public lecture in June on “The Genius of Michael Faraday”.

Sir John Meurig Thomas is known for his work on catalysis [1, 2], the chemical applications of electron microscopy [3], and giving popular lectures to lay folk and young people, such as the talk based on his article “Sir Humphry Davy: Boundless Chemist, Physicist, Poet, Man of Action” [4].

John Meurig Thomas studied chemistry at the University of Wales, Swansea, UK, where he also gained his Ph.D. He spent a year at the UK's Atomic Energy Authority as scientific officer before joining the Department of Chemistry at the University of Wales, Bangor, UK. In 1969 he became Professor and Head of Chemistry at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, UK, and in 1977 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. From 1978–1986, Thomas was Professorial Fellow at King’s College and Head of the Department of Physical Chemistry, University of Cambridge, UK. In 1986 he succeeded Sir George Porter as Director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, London. He served as Director until 1991 and remained associated with the Davy Faraday Research Laboratory of the Royal Institution until 2006. In 1991 he became Sir John after he was knighted his for services to chemistry and the popularisation of science. From 1991–1994, he served as Deputy Pro-Chancellor of the University of Wales, before returning to Cambridge in 1993 as Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge University’s oldest college. Since 2002 he has been Honorary Professor of Materials Science at the University of Cambridge and Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at the Davy Faraday Research Laboratory of the Royal Institution.


[1] J. M. Thomas, Design and Applications of Single-Site Heterogeneous Catalysts: Contributions to Green Chemistry, Clean Technology and Sustainability, Imperial College Press, London, UK, 2012. ISBN-13978-1-84816-909-8

[2] J. M. Thomas, The Societal Significance of Catalysis and the Growing Practical Importance of Single-Site Heterogeneous Catalysis, Proc. Roy. Soc. A, 2012, 1-20. DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2012.0196

[3] J. M. Thomas, P. A. Midgley, The Modern Electron Microscope: A Cornucopia of Chemico-Physical Insights, Chemical Physics, 2011, 385, 1-10. DOI: 10.1016/j.chemphys.2011.04.023

[4] J. M. Thomas, P. P. Edwards, V. L. Kuznetsov, Sir Humphry Davy: Boundless Chemist, Physicist, Poet, Man of Action, ChemPhysChem, 2008, 9, 59-66. DOI: 10.1002/cphc.200700686

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