Sir John Meurig Thomas

Sir John Meurig Thomas (1932 - 2020)#

Academia Europaea is greatly saddened to announce the death of Sir John Meurig Thomas on 13 November 2020. Professor Thomas was one of Academia Europaea's earliest members and a member of the Chemical sciences section.

Professor Richard Catlow, member of the Chemical sciences section writes:

Sir John made major contributions to many key areas of chemical and materials sciences: his early work focused on the developing field of the physical chemistry of solids and included key contributions to mineralogy; but his most significant scientific legacy will be in catalytic science, where he pioneered new techniques and systems, focusing on the development of fundamental knowledge which has allowed the optimization and development of new catalytic technologies of benefit to the economy, environment and health worldwide. This vital area of chemical sciences will owe Sir John a lasting debt of gratitude.

Sir John’s contributions to science were, however, much broader than his wide ranging research achievements: he mentored and encouraged scientists, especially younger colleagues, at key stages in their career; he showed great prescience in appreciating the significance of new developments, for example, solid-state-NMR and computation in materials chemistry; he was a passionate and eloquent advocate of the wonder and elegance of scientific knowledge and never happier than when lecturing to audiences of all ages; and he was fascinated by the history of science and wrote lucidly and with great insight about some of the great figures of science. As Director in the 1980s of the Royal Institution – that unique icon of British Science – he was able to combine his passions for research, advocacy and the history of science.

John was a patriotic Welshman who loved his native land, language and literature and indeed is celebrated in Wales not only as a scientist but as a poet; and he will be missed, remembered and honoured worldwide.


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