Martyn Poliakoff

Character introduction

Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff CBE FRS FREng studied at King's College, Cambridge, B.A (1969) and Ph.D. (1973) under the supervision of J. J. Turner FRS on the Matrix Isolation of Large Molecules. In 1972, he was appointed Research/Senior Research Officer in the Department of Inorganic Chemistry of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. In 1979, he moved to a Lectureship in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Nottingham. Promotion to Reader in Inorganic Chemistry and then to Professor of Chemistry followed in 1985 and 1991 respectively. In addition, he is Honorary Professor of Chemistry at Moscow State University. From 1994-99, he held an EPSRC/Royal Academy of Engineering Clean Technology Fellowship at Nottingham. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society (2002), of the RSC (2002) and of the IChemE (2004). He was awarded CBE (2008) for "Services to Sciences", and knighted in 2015 for "Services to the Chemical Sciences". He was made Honorary Member of the Chemical Society of Ethiopia (2008) and Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (2011) and Honorary Fellow of the Chinese Chemical Society (2015). In 2012, He was elected a Fellow of the Academia Europaea and, in 2013, Associate Fellow of TWAS, the World Academy of Science and Associate Member of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences (2014), Honorary Fellow of the RSC (2015), Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2016) and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (2017). He was a Council Member of the IChemE (2009-13) and Foreign Secretary and Vice-President of the Royal Society (2011-16) His research interests are focussed on supercritical fluids, continuous reactions and their applications to Green Chemistry.


The UK has a long tradition of promoting science literacy beginning at the start of the 19th century with Davy and Faraday giving exceptionally popular public lectures at the Royal Institution which continue to this day ( Over recent years, scientists in the UK have become increasingly active in the promotion of science literacy. This speech will highlight the variety of audiences who need to be addressed,, and will explain how the Royal Society (the UK and Commonwealth academy of sciences, is reaching out to those audiences. The factors which determine whether individual UK scientists will participate in public engagement activities is briefly discussed (for more details, see E. Poliakoff & T. L. Webb, Science Communication, 2007, Vol 29, pp 242-263). This will be followed by a brief summary of my own experiences of promoting science literacy from early in my career until the present day, including promoting chemistry via videos on the internet ( The speech highlights the opportunities for promoting science literacy that will be given by the 2019 UN/UNESCO International Year of the Periodic Table ( and ends with some key questions that all of us at this Conference need to address, These questions include: How can we enthuse the next generation of scientists and engineers? How can we enable the public to adjust to a rapidly changing world? How can we encourage scientists to communicate and recognising their efforts to do so? How can we help everyone to share our love of science?

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