Previously the Laurie Vergnano Award, then the Dalton Young Researchers Award, the Dalton Emerging Researcher Prize commemorates the chemist, physicist and meteorologist John Dalton.
Born in 1766 to a poor family in Cockermouth, Cumberland, Dalton received his education at a Quaker School where he later became a teacher. After two years teaching and a period of farming he left his village to first become an assistant, and then joint manager, at his cousin's school in Kendal. Whilst there he kept a meteorological diary spanning 15 years and also offered up solutions posed in the mathematical periodicals Ladies' Diary and Gentleman's Diary. His teaching years continued as he moved to Manchester in 1793 and then York in 1799, during which time he taught maths, natural philosophy and chemistry.
His academic contributions ranged from publishing Meteorological Observations and Essays in 1793, to discussing "Daltonism" (colour-blindness), and presenting significant papers entitled Experimental Essays focusing on gas expansion and changes of state. Dalton's most significant work, investigating the physical properties of gases, along with ideas from other chemists such as Lavoisier and Higgins, led to the development of modern atomic theory and the production of the first table of atomic weights.
Following election to the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society in 1794, he contributed 116 memoirs including an explanation of volumetric analysis, became secretary in 1880 and finally President in 1817. His fellowships included the Royal Society, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the French Academy of Scientists. Dalton died in 1844; however he showed his ever inquisitive spirit, asking for scientists to study his eyes after death to better understand his colour-blindness.