Royal Society honour for Martyn

June 2nd, 2011

An academic at The University of Nottingham has received one of the science world’s highest honours.

Professor Martyn Poliakoff CBE has been nominated as the new Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science.

Prof Poliakoff will represent the British scientific community abroad and will be responsible for overseeing the Society’s international business. The post of Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society dates back to 1723 – predating the post of Foreign Secretary in the UK government by 60 years.

The Royal Society, founded in 1660, is a fellowship of the world’s most eminent scientists. Fellows are elected for life on the basis of scientific excellence, and have included Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. Prof Poliakoff was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2002.

He said: “I am honoured and delighted by my nomination. I feel that the post will be a wonderful opportunity to promote UK science overseas and to catalyse UK collaboration with leading scientists across the world.”

As well as being a Research Professor in Chemistry, Martyn has been active on the international stage for many years. He is an Honorary Professor at Moscow State University and Honorary Member of the Chemical Society of Ethiopia – following his work to develop links between the University and universities in Ethiopia. His current research interests involve chemical applications of supercritical fluids, with particular emphasis on ‘green’ chemistry, which focuses on more sustainable ways of creating chemicals.

Prof Poliakoff also works with film-maker Brady Haran as one of the presenters of the YouTube channel, The Periodic Table of Videos (

The Periodic Table of Videos – which began as a series of short films about every chemical element – has gone on to reach a huge audience on YouTube, with more than 16 million views and a string of awards for innovative science communication.

A short film about Professor Poliakoff’s nomination to the post of Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society can be viewed at: or at:

Fellows of the Royal Society will be asked to indicate their support for the Council’s nominated candidate on the ballot paper for the annual election of Council members. The result of the ballot will be confirmed at the Council meeting on 7 July 2011. Prof Poliakoff is nominated to succeed the current incumbent, Prof Lorna Casselton.

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