John Meurig Thomas
Sir John Meurig Thomas HonFREng FRS
John Meurig Thomas is renowned for his work in the science of catalysts and solid state chemistry. The production chain of many modern materials and chemicals involves catalysts — substances that speed up chemical reactions, but use less energy and do not get used up themselves. John has led the way in developing ‘green’ catalysts to make chemical processes less polluting and more efficient.
John pioneered the use of technologies like electron microscopy and neutron diffraction to ‘see’ how minuscule surface features of catalysts affect chemical reactions. He has particular expertise in heterogeneous catalysts — ones that are in a different phase to the reacting chemicals, such as a solid material that catalyses reactions of liquids.
John is a former director of the Royal Institution, a role that complemented his keen interest in popularising science. Amongst his many publications is a biography of Michael Faraday who made significant contributions to electromagnetism and electrochemistry and is one of the most influential British scientists in history. John was knighted in 1991 for his services to chemistry and science.
Interest and expertise
- Chemistry, physical, Chemistry, materials
- Public understanding of science