Sir Martyn Poliakoff CBE FREng FRS

Martyn Poliakoff is a global leader in the field of green chemistry with a specific interest in the applications of supercritical fluids. These highly compressed gases possess properties of gases and liquids that permit interesting chemical reactions without the need for organic solvents, which endanger both health and the environment. He is a Research Professor in Chemistry at the University of Nottingham, where he started as a Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry in 1979.

His contributions have enabled the development of supercritical carbon dioxide and water solvent systems to replace traditional organic solvents at the industrial scale. Away from the lab, as Foreign Secretary and Vice-president of the Royal Society from 2011-16, he worked to represent and to further the impact of UK and Commonwealth science around the world. He has championed collaboration between chemists and chemical engineers. He is a Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Associate Fellow of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences.

Martyn is widely recognised thanks to his participation in a series of YouTube videos, The Periodic Table of Videos. This popular science project introduces the general public to the chemical elements of the periodic table. He received a knighthood in 2015 — the culmination of his pursuit of excellence in research, his service as an ambassador for UK science and his public outreach work.

Professional position

  • Chemistry Research Professor, School of Chemistry, University of Nottingham
  • Vice President, European Academies Science Advisory Council

Subject groups

  • Chemistry

    Chemistry, inorganic, Chemistry, physical, Chemistry, organic, Chemistry, applied

  • Engineering

    Engineering, chemical


  • Leverhulme Medal

    For his outstanding contributions in the fields of Green Chemistry and supercritical fluids by the application of chemistry to advance chemical engineering processes.

  • Michael Faraday Prize and Lecture

    For his exemplary work to promote chemistry to an international audience via YouTube in a way that is understandable to viewers of all ages.

  • UK-Canada Rutherford Lecture

    On 'Multi-phase catalysis in supercritical fluids'.

Sir Martyn Poliakoff CBE FREng FRS
Elected 2002