Royal Medal for Sir John Meurig Thomas

Royal Medal for Sir John Meurig Thomas

Author: Professor Kenneth Harris, UK

On October 12th, the Duke of York presented on behalf of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen’s Gold medal – known also as the Royal Medal – to Professor Sir John Meurig Thomas (see photo).

The Royal Medal of the Royal Society for the Physical Sciences has been presented annually since 1826, when John Dalton received it. Sir Humphry Davy was awarded it in 1827, Eilert Mitscherlich in 1830, Michael Faraday in 1835, Lawrence Bragg in 1946 and, more recently, Max Perutz in 1971.

Sir John’s citation was “in recognition of your pioneering work within catalytic chemistry, in particular on single-site heterogeneous catalysts, which have had a major impact on green chemistry, clean technology and sustainability.”

Sir John’s work has embraced solid-state, surface, and materials chemistry. He is renowned not only for his work on heterogeneous catalysis, on which he has written university texts – see “Principles and Practice of Heterogeneous Catalysis” by John Meurig Thomas and W. John Thomas, but also for chemical electron microscopy and for the popularization of science.

He was Head of the Department of Physical Chemistry in the University of Cambridge before he was invited (in 1986) to be Director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, where he occupied the Chair created for Michael Faraday.


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