Skip to content
Fellows Directory

Richard Chambers

Richard Chambers

Professor Richard Chambers FRS


Elected: 1997


Richard Chambers studied the synthesis and chemistry of organofluorine compounds. When carbon–hydrogen bonds in organic compounds replace much stronger carbon–fluorine bonds, either singly or multiply, a vast range of ‘manmade’ molecules becomes available. An illustration of this is the contrast between polypropene and inert Teflon, which is composed of all carbon–fluorine bonds. Indeed, fluorine-containing compounds have wide-ranging applications in industry, including unique surface effects and important pharmaceuticals such as anaesthetics.

Richard also developed methods for the synthesis many new compounds that are useful in plant-protection products, inert fluids and pharmaceuticals. In the latter case, one of the roles of fluorine is to enhance the lifetime of a drug in the body.

The chemistry of organofluorine compounds is very different from that of their hydrocarbon based counterparts and therefore poses a major test of current theories of mechanism in organic chemistry. Elemental fluorine is the most reactive of the elements; the design and use of microreactors has contributed to good progress in the synthesis of fluorine-containing compounds as drug candidates.

Professor Richard Chambers FRS died on 18 april 2019.

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Chemistry
    • Chemistry, organic
Was this page useful?
Thank you for your feedback
Thank you for your feedback. Please help us improve this page by taking our short survey.