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Fellows Directory

David King

Sir David King HonFREng FRS


Elected: 1991


David King is a scientific advisor and leading expert on science policy with a distinguished background in chemical research. His pioneering study of the interactions between gaseous molecules and metal surfaces, in particular, led to the development of a number of widely applicable experimental techniques.

David’s long career in surface chemistry also resulted in the development of new catalysts capable of speeding up chemical reactions. His work in this area helped underpin the implementation of catalytic converters in car exhausts, which have allowed for a substantial reduction in toxic gas emission.

As former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK government, David has played a key role in shaping policy on issues ranging from foot and mouth disease to nuclear power. Head of the Government Office for Science from 2000 to 2007, he was knighted for his contributions to science, and was inducted into the Légion d’Honneur in 2009.


  • Rumford Medal

    For his outstanding contributions to our fundamental understanding of the structure and dynamics of reaction processes on solid surfaces.