Sir John Meurig Thomas

Sir John Meurig Thomas (born 1932) is awarded an honorary doctorate for his achievements as a scientist of physical chemistry. Sir John is recognized internationally as a pioneer in the field of modern solid state chemistry. He laid the foundation for the structural design and synthesis of many new materials, particularly of solid acid catalysts. These play a vital role in present-day environmental care. He also did pioneering work in the development and application of various now indispensable physical technologies. Some examples are high resolution electron microscopy, and the manufacture of tools no more than a few nanometers in dimensions. John Thomas was born in South Wales and became head of the faculty of Chemistry at the University College of Wales in 1969. In 1986 he was appointed director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain and of the Davy Faraday Research Laboratory. Three years ago, the Fellows of Peterhouse, Cambridge University's oldest college, elected Sir John to be their next Master. He held many visiting lectureships in North America, Europe, Israel, India, Japan and Australia, and was author or co-author of over 650 scientific articles and 24 textbooks. Many of his former students achieved top positions in multi-national firms and in the academic world. Sir John became known also for his ability to draw the attention of a broad audience to science. He accomplished this through countless lectures including experimentations, and also via programmes on BBC stations.