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Fellows Directory

Jack Baldwin

Sir Jack Baldwin FRS


Elected: 1978


Jack Baldwin is an organic chemist whose innovative approach to synthesising biological compounds rapidly made him a leader in his field. He has won considerable acclaim for the identification of principles governing the formation of carbon rings — rules which now commonly bear his name.

Jack’s interest in biological systems has resulted in many significant contributions to the field of biomimetic synthesis: the application of methods observed in nature to the study and design of artificial systems. Such methods are often highly efficient owing to the evolutionary pressures under which they emerged, and have proven an extremely valuable area of chemical research. Amongst Jack’s contributions to this field was the construction of a molecule of porphyrin with properties suitable for use as a source of synthetic blood.

The fundamental contributions Jack has made across a broad span of scientific fields have won him numerous prestigious awards, including the Leverhulme Medal and the Paracelsus Prize from the Swiss Chemical Society. In 1997, he was awarded a knighthood for his work in organic chemistry.


  • Davy Medal

    Distinguished for his contributions to bio-organic chemistry, in particular to an understanding of the biosynthesis of beta-lactam antibodies.

  • Leverhulme Medal

    In recognition of his distinguished contributions to the field of organic chemistry including his work on natural products synthesis and biosynthesis, particularly for his research in the b-lactam antibiotic field, initially contributing to biosynthetic problems which paved the way to the study of the enzymology of the process and eventually culminating in the determination of the crystal structure of isopenicillin N synthase.