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Fellows Directory

David Clary

Professor Sir David Clary FRS


Elected: 1997


David Clary is a theoretical chemist recognised for his pioneering work on the quantum dynamics of chemical reactions. His computational techniques continue to have widespread applications in studying the chemistry of extreme environments that cannot readily be reproduced in the laboratory.

David’s research into the fundamental field of quantum chemistry has granted valuable insights into the ways in which polyatomic molecules behave and interact. Many of his predictions of novel effects in molecular collisions have subsequently been confirmed, such as the surprisingly high reaction rates of chemical reactions involving certain ionic and neutral molecules.

A member of numerous international learned societies, David served as the first Chief Scientific Adviser to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 2009 to 2013. He has received many of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s most prestigious accolades, including the Tilden and Liversidge medals, and in 1989 received the medal of the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science. He has been President of Magdalen College, Oxford, since 2005. He was Knighted in the Queen’s 2016 Birthday Honours for services to international science.

Professional positions

President, Magdalen College, University of Oxford
Professor of Chemistry, Department Of Chemistry, University of Oxford

Interests and expertise

Subject groups


Chemical reactions, Quantum chemistry, Theoretical chemistry