Between 1981 and 2020, the Ludwig Mond Award recognised an individual for outstanding research in any aspect of inorganic chemistry. In 2020, as part of a series of changes resulting from an independent review of the Royal Society of Chemistry's recognition programmes, this prize merged with the Nyholm Prize for Inorganic Chemistry to form the Mond-Nyholm Prize for Inorganic Chemistry, awarded for outstanding contributions to the chemical sciences in the area of inorganic chemistry.
Born in 1839 in Cassel, Germany, Mond studied chemistry at the University of Marburg under Hermann Kolbe (known for his synthesis of salicylic acid) and the University of Heidelberg under Robert Bunsen. In 1862 he moved to England where during his employment with Messrs. Hutchinson & Earle he improved the Leblanc soda process to recover sulphur that was usually lost in waste. 1864 saw Mond return to Germany where he erected an alkali works at Utrecht. Nine years later however he was back in England to erect an alkali works near Northwich, in partnership with J. T. Brunner.
Mond's scientific work resulted in the improvement of many processes, for example recovering lost ammonia and chlorine, and the development of new processes. He developed a system for gas production from bituminous slack (coal fragments and dust) for use in lighting, heating, and internal combustion engines. Working with Carl Lange and Friedrich Quincke he discovered the carbonyl compounds, including nickel carbonyl; a discovery that formed the basis for nickel manufacture.
Mond made significant financial contributions to support the application of scientific research, founding the Royal Institution's Davy-Faraday Laboratory and funding the production of the Royal Society's International Catalogue of Scientific Literature.
Recognition of his knowledge and expertise was recognised in a number of ways: election as an early Fellow of the Insitute (1878), Presidency of the Society of Chemical Industry (1889), election as Fellow of the Royal Society (1891), Presidency of the Chemical Section of the British association, and receipt of four honorary degrees.
The award was established in 1981 through an endowment from ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries). In 2021, the purposes of this Trust were amended, and remaining monies were combined with other generous bequests and donations to become part of the RSC Recognition Fund.