Picture of Professor David Phillips

Professor David Phillips


David Phillipswas born in 1939 and educated in the north east of England at South Shields Grammar-Technical School (Boys) and at the University of Birmingham (BSc and PhD).   He enjoyed postdoctoral experience in Austin, Texas, USA, and in Moscow, USSR, before joining the University of Southampton as a Lecturer in Physical Chemistry in 1967.   He left as Reader in 1980 to become Wolfson Professor of Natural Philosophy, at The Royal Institution, subsequently becoming Acting Director 1986 and the Deputy Director 1987-89. He then moved to become Professor of Physical Chemistry of Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of London (now Imperial College London) in 1989, Head of Department of Chemistry 1992-2002 and Hofmann Professor of Chemistry 1999-2006. He was Dean of the Faculties of Life Sciences and Physical Sciences 2002-2005 and Senior Dean 2005-2006. He is currently Senior Science Ambassador, Schools, Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Investigator.


David Phillipsgave the Christmas Lectures (jointly with John Meurig Thomas) on BBC TV in 1986-87 and many series abroad. He has broadcast for TV and radio on his research interests, popular science and the state of British science. He regularly gives 20-30 popular lectures per annum to schools and lay audiences and e-masterclasses to groups of schools in the UK and abroad, and exceeded this in 2011, the International Year of Chemistry.   He was awarded the RSC Nyholm Lectureship and Medal in 1994-95 for services to Chemical Education, the Michael Faraday Award of the Royal Society, London for public understanding of science. He received the OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours in June 1999 for services to science education and awarded the CBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours in January 2012 for his services to chemistry.


He is the author of many books and research papers (some 589 in all) in the field of photochemistry and laser research, and was awarded the prestigious Porter Medal of the European, Inter-American, and Oceanic Photochemistry Societies in 2010. He is a past Chairman of the DfES (Department for Education and Science) sponsored 'London Gifted and Talented' consortium promoting e-learning on the Managed Learning Environment for Gifted and Talented cohort of London School students from all 33 London Boroughs. 


He has served terms as Chair of the Education and Qualifications Board and member of RSC Council. He serves as Immediate Past President until the AGM in July 2013.