The Beilby Medal and Prize, awarded by the Royal Society of Chemistry, Society of Chemical Industry and the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, is a memorial to Sir George Thomas Beilby, President of all three bodies, or their predecessors. Founded after his death in 1924, the first recipients of the Beilby Medal in 1930 were Guy Dunstan Bengough and Ulick Richardson Evans.
Beilby was born in 1850 and studied at Edinburgh University. He went on to join the Oakbank Oil Company in 1869, where he began to tackle problems of poor fuel economy. In collaboration with William Young, he improved the yield of oil and ammonia from shale by improving the fractional distillation process. Through his work in this field, Beilby was asked to contribute to the Royal Commission on Coal Supplies in 1903, and later was elected as Chairman of the newly established Fuel Research Board in 1917. He built the Fuel Research Station in East Greenwich to study different coals and problems such as low temperature carbonisation.
As well as contributing substantially to improving fuel economy, Beilby was also director of the Cassel Cyanide Company and Caster-Kellner Alkali Company, patented an improved method for producing hydrogen cyanide and made contributions to the field of metallurgy.
His contributions led to his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1906, a knighthood in 1916, and the receipt of several honorary degrees.