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Fellows Directory

Polly Arnold

Polly Arnold

Professor Polly Arnold OBE FRS


Elected: 2018





Polly holds the Crum Brown Chair of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh. She obtained degrees from Oxford and Sussex and was a Fulbright postdoctoral fellow at MIT before returning to the UK to a lectureship in 1999. Her research is focused on the design and synthesis of highly reactive f-block complexes that can activate inert small molecules such as carbon oxides, dinitrogen, and hydrocarbons, and that can provide fundamental information on structure and bonding at the bottom of the periodic table.

Polly is an active advocate for inclusion and diversity in STEM. Since her production of ‘A Chemical Imbalance’, supported by the Rosalind Franklin award from the Royal Society in 2012, she has given lectures around the world, advised the Government and industry, and appears regularly on TV, radio, and in print media, to discuss the importance and benefits of diversity in the STEM workforce She was awarded an OBE in 2017 for services to chemistry and women in STEM.

Professional positions

Director, Chemical Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Chemistry
    • Chemistry, inorganic


Organometallic and coordination chemsitry, f-block, homogeneous catalysis, small molecule activation


  • Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award and Lecture

    Used her award to promote the female role models at the University of Edinburgh.

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