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Fellows Directory

Rex Richards

Rex Richards

Sir Rex Richards Hon FBA FRS


Elected: 1959


Rex is a distinguished chemist who pioneered the early use of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to determine the molecular structure of various compounds. A leading figure in the design and development of NMR equipment, he has contributed to the technique’s adoption in a wide variety of scientific disciplines.

Rex was amongst the first researchers to investigate the properties of phosphorous resonances, whose use in analysing muscle extracts served as the foundation of clinical magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Keen to pursue the potential biological applications of these new analytical techniques, Rex chaired a consortium of like-minded researchers known as the Oxford Enzyme Group from 1969 to 1984.

A former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Rex was awarded a knighthood in 1977 for services to NMR spectroscopy. Amongst his numerous other honours, he received the Royal Society’s Davy and Royal Medals for his far-sighted scientific work. Rex has been a trustee of both the National Gallery and the Tate Gallery (two stints each) and also Chairman of the Henry Moore Foundation.

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Chemistry
    • Chemistry, physical
  • Biochemistry and molecular cell biology
    • Biophysics and structural biology


magnetic resonance, magnet design


  • Davy Medal

    In recognition of his outstanding contributions to nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and its application to chemical and biological problems.

  • Royal Medals

    In recognition of his many contributions, both theoretical and instrumental, to nuclear magnetic resonance.

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