Dr John Emsley

Dr John Emsley (Bsc Chemistry 1960, Msc 1961, PhD 1964) – Writer and Broadcaster, Former Science Writer and Editor

Dr Emsley is best known for his highly readable and award-winning books on chemistry, which have been educating and delighting readers for over 20 years. His skill is to show in his own lucid, engaging style, the vital role that chemistry plays in modern society.

He graduated from The University of Manchester in 1960 with a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry and went on to achieve an MSc in Science in 1961 and a PhD in Phosphorous Chemistry in 1964, both at Manchester.

Now a respected writer and broadcaster, between 1965 and 1990 Dr Emsley was a lecturer then reader at King’s College, University of London, and a post-doctoral fellow at Westfield College, University of London. He then became science writer in residence at Imperial College London and from 1997 until 2002 occupied the same post at the University of Cambridge.

For his achievements as a writer of books including Vanity, Vitality and Virility and Elements of Murder he has received several awards, including the German Chemical Society’s Writer’s Prize in 2003. His first popular science book The Consumer’s Good Chemical Guide won him the 1995 Rhone-Poulenc Science Book Prize, while his six-year Molecule of the Month column in The Independent won the President’s Award of the Chemical Industries Association. Dr Emsley has also written regular articles for The New Scientist, The Guardian, Chemistry in Britain and Focus Science Watch.

In 2004, the Society of Chemical Industry recognised Dr Emsley’s contributions to chemistry by electing him an honorary member, an honour which is rarely bestowed. He also has a DSc from London University and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.