You Tube hero professor recognised for contribution to local community


November 17th, 2022

University of Nottingham Professor and You Tube science hero, Sir Martyn Poliakoff, has been honoured for his contribution to his local community by being admitted as a new Freeman of the Borough of Broxtowe.

Sir Martyn was amongst seven local people honoured by Broxtowe Borough Council in recognition of his 40-year support in preserving the history and future development of Beeston and using his academic connections to bring people together to the benefit of the local community.

Sir Martyn has worked at the University of Nottingham for 43 years where he has taught and researched Chemistry. He is passionate about sharing scientific knowledge with and is well known worldwide as the lead presenter and cult hero of the You Tube hit science series – Periodic Table of Videos which started 13 years ago when scientists in the University of Nottingham’s School of Chemistry started collaborating with the renowned filmmaker Brady Haran. Their mission was to document every single one of the 118 chemical elements in a fun, lively and often unconventional way – they achieved this but continue to make videos!

The videos have grown to attract an international audience with more than 1.5 million subscribers with their videos attracting a total of more than 264 million views.

Alongside his University career and You Tube videos Sir Martyn has also been an involved and passionate member of this local community and belongs to several local organisations aiming to improve the area for residents.

He has been a member of Beeston District Civic Society for more than 40 years, where he has led community conversations about the future of Beeston and attracted a large and enthusiastic range of people to be interested in the future development of the town, in particular its sustainability. He is also an active member in Greening Beeston, a group of local people working to help fight climate change.

One of his most ambitious projects has been involvement in #Beeston2020Vision, an independent group of people inspired by the past and passionate about the future of Beeston. As a late addition to the Committee, he helped organise and chair the public meeting in April 2022 to discuss the ideas submitted by the community, which then led the Beeston2020Vision meeting with Broxtowe Borough Council.

Sir Martyn has also brought his passion for developing young people and building positive connections between students and the local area they live. He is also Vice-President of the Nottingham Wildlife Trust, helping build on the opportunities offered by the Attenborough Nature Reserve.

Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff said: “As a long-time resident of Broxtowe, I feel honoured and delighted to be recognized by my local community. I hope that this honour will help me to contribute towards making Beeston an even better place for everyone to live even in these challenging times”.

In 2008, Martyn was awarded a CBE for his services to science, followed by a Knighthood for services to Chemistry in 2015, and in 2021, a Nottingham tram was named after him. Broxtowe Borough Council is able to bestow the award of Honorary Alderman, Freeman of the Borough and Freedom of Entry on individuals who have made a significant contribution to the community. The titles of Honorary Alderman, Freeman and Freedom of Entry are the highest honours that this Council can bestow. This capability was granted to the Council when it received borough status in 1977.

Mayor of Broxtowe, Councillor David Grindell said: “Broxtowe is very lucky to have such an individual as Sir Martyn living in our Borough and being so actively involved in securing its future. This honour is truly deserved.”

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