Menelaus Medal 2015

The Learned Society of Wales is pleased to announce that the eminent Welsh scientist Professor Sir John Meurig Thomas FLSW Hon.FRSE Hon.FREng FRS will be the third recipient of the Society’s Menelaus Medal.

The Medal, which is sponsored by the South Wales Institute of Engineers Educational Trust (SWIEET2007), is awarded for “excellence in any field of engineering and technology to an academic, to an industrial researcher, or to an industrial practitioner who is resident in Wales, or who is of Welsh birth but is resident elsewhere, or who otherwise has a particular connection with Wales”.

Professor Sir John Meurig Thomas FLSW Hon.FRSE Hon.FREng FRS is a world-leading chemist renowned for his work on catalysis. A Fellow of the Royal Society, and Founding Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales. Sir John is Foreign Fellow of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Lincei Academy, Rome and the National academies of Hungary, Poland, Spain, Sweden, India and the Engineering Academy of Japan. The recipient of numerous national and international prizes, (including the Davy medal of the Royal Society) Sir John also holds honorary doctorates from twenty universities.

He is the author of thirty patents and over a thousand scientific papers and articles. In 1995 one of his former students named a newly-discovered mineral meurigite in his honour. He holds over forty honorary fellowships in universities and colleges in the UK and elsewhere in the world.

Sir John once occupied the chair of chemistry created for Michael Faraday at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, of which he was Director (1986-1991), the only Welshman to hold this post. He was formerly Head of Chemistry at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth (1969-1978), Head of the Department of Physical Chemistry, University of Cambridge (1978-1996), and Master of Peterhouse (1993-2002). He is now Honorary Professor at the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, Cambridge. He was knighted in 1991 in recognition of his services to chemistry and the popularisation of science.

The Society’s President, Sir Emyr Jones Parry said :

It is entirely appropriate that one of Wales’s leading scientists, Sir John Meurig Thomas has been selected to be the recipient of this year’s Menelaus Medal.  I am delighted that he has accepted our invitation to attend our presentation ceremony in Aberystwyth University –  where, in the 1970s he established the world’s leading group in the chemistry of solids and their surfaces.”

Sir John Meurig Thomas added:

“I am delighted to receive the Menelaus Medal of the Learned Society of Wales.  As a scientist and someone who is an enthusiast of the history of science and technology, this is a great honour for me.”

The Medal will be presented during a ceremony which will be held in the Cinema of the Arts Centre, Aberystwyth University at 11am on Monday 13 July.  All are welcome to attend.

Immediately following the ceremony, Sir John will give a public lecture on the story of Sir Humphry Davy’s Miners’ safety lamp.