The Edward Harrison Memorial Prize and the Meldola Medal and Prize merged to form the Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prizes in 2008.
The Meldola Prize, a gift of the Society of Maccabaeans, recognised the significant contributions to science of one of its former presidents, Raphael Meldola. Born in 1849, he went on to become an industrial chemist, inventing the oxazine dye Meldola's Blue. He was Professor of Chemistry at the City and Guilds Technical College in Finsbury for 20 years, publishing over 250 papers and reports during this time.
His scientific interests extended from organic chemistry to entomology, under the mentorship of Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin, and astronomy, leading the British Eclipse Expedition to the Nicobar Islands, India in 1875. Meldola was president of a number of prestigious chemical societies: the Chemical Society (1905-07), the Society of Chemical Industry (1907-09), and the Institute of Chemistry (1912-15).
The Edward Harrison Memorial Prize was established in 1922 through donations from friends and colleagues to commemorate the contributions of Lt-Col Edward Harrison to chemistry. 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.
Having qualified as a pharmaceutical chemist, Harrison attempted to enlist in the army during the First World War, but was unsuccessful. However, with the introduction of gas weapons there was a need for chemists like Harrison to devise a method of defence against this new form of arms.
Harrison became the Deputy Controller of the Chemical Warfare Department and produced the first serviceable British gas mask. He continuously worked on this during the war until he died of pneumonia. His contributions have hugely impacted the lives of many in the armed forces.