Skip to content
Fellows Directory

David Wales

Professor David Wales FRS


Elected: 2016


David J. Wales received his BA degree from Cambridge University in 1985 and his PhD in 1988 under the supervision of Prof. A. J. Stone. He was awarded the ScD degree in 2004.  He spent 1989 as a Lindemann Trust Fellow at the University of Chicago, working with Prof. R. S. Berry. He returned to a Research Fellowship at Downing College Cambridge in 1990, was a Lloyd's of London  Tercentenary Fellow in 1991, and a Royal Society University Research Fellow from 1991 to 1998.  In 1998 he was appointed to a Lectureship in Cambridge and is now Professor of Chemical Physics. 

He was awarded the Meldola Medal and Prize in 1992 by the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the  Tilden Prize in 2015. He was a Baker Lecturer at Cornell University in 2005, and the Inaugural Henry Frank Lecturer at Pittsburgh University in 2007.  His research primarily involves the exploration of potential energy landscapes, with applications to chemical biology, spectroscopy, clusters, solids and surfaces.

Professional positions

Professor of Chemical Physics, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge

Interests and expertise

Subject groups


calculations for molecular science, chaotic dynamics in molecular systems, defects and ion migration mechanisms, design of novel materials, e.g. flu virus, energy landscapes, global optimisation, pathways and mechanisms for catalysis on surfaces, predicting structure for variable pathogens, rare events, structural glasses, theory and simulation of biomolecules, theory and simulation of proteins and nucleic acids, tunnelling phenomena in molecules and clusters