Stephen Thomas wins Hickinbottom Award for chemistry research

Dr Stephen Thomas. Picture: supplied
Dr Stephen Thomas. Picture: supplied
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TRIBUTES have been paid to a scientist from the Capital after the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) awarded him a prestigious accolade.

Leaders at the society have named Dr Stephen Thomas, from Edinburgh University, as their Hickinbottom Award winner for 2016.

The Hickinbottom award is for contributions to any area of organic chemistry from a researcher under the age of 35.

Dr Thomas receives £2000, a medal and certificate, and he will undertake a UK lecture tour.

He is also due to receive the £4000 Briggs scholarship to support one of his students.

Welcoming the award as “great news” and “an excellent boost”, Dr Thomas said the key goal of his research group was to develop “sustainable methods” for chemical synthesis.

He said: “This has been achieved by replacing toxic and environmentally damaging precious metals with earth abundant alternatives such as iron.

“Our broad research aim is to allow the most powerful transformations to be carried out by the most available and sustainable resources in an operationally simple manner.”

RSC winners are evaluated for the originality and impact of their research, as well as the quality of the results which are shown in publications, patents and even software.

The awards also recognise the importance of teamwork across the chemical sciences, and the abilities of individuals to develop successful collaborations.

47 previous recipients of an RSC accolade have gone on to win Nobel Prizes for their breakthroughs, including Harry Kroto, Fred Sanger and Linus Pauling.

RSC leaders said they were delighted to be able to highlight and spark enthusiasm for the work of cutting-edge scientists in Edinburgh and elsewhere.

Dr Robert Parker, chief executive, said: “It is an honour to recognise the illustrious achievements of our prize and award winners in our 175th anniversary year.

“We were founded in 1841 by a group of academics, industrialists and doctors who understood the power of the chemical sciences to change our world for the better.

“Our winners share that vision and are advancing excellence in their fields, whether through innovative research or inspirational teaching and outreach.”

He added: “We are proud to celebrate and support the work of inspiring and influential individuals, whose work has the potential to improve so many lives.”

The RSC is the oldest chemical society in the world. It has over 50,000 members and a knowledge business that spans the globe.

RSC bosses said their mission was to “shape the future of the chemical sciences – for the benefit of science and humanity”.