Prestigious award for Cardiff chemist

9 May 2016

Professor Thomas Wirth

Professor Thomas Wirth wins prestigious award from the Royal Society of Chemistry

Professor Thomas Wirth, from the School of Chemistry, has been awarded the 2016 Bader Award by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The award recognises Professor Wirth’s contribution to the field of organic chemistry and in particular his work making use of the special properties of a highly promising class of reagents containing iodine. These reagents allow new molecules to be made in an environmentally friendly way by removing the need to use toxic materials.

The reagents also use miniaturized devices, or microreactors, that allow reactions to take place in a continuous flow system, taking advantage of the large surface-to-volume ratio, to synthesise organic molecules.

Professor Wirth joins an illustrious list of previous winners of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Awards, many of whom have gone on to win Nobel Prizes for their pioneering work, including Harry Kroto, Fred Sanger and Linus Pauling.

Prize winners are evaluated for the originality and impact of their research, as well as the quality of the results which can be shown in publications, patents, or even software. The awards also recognise the importance of teamwork across the chemical sciences, and the abilities of individuals to develop successful collaborations.

On receiving the award, Professor Wirth said: “I feel very honoured by this award and take this as an indication that basic research on iodine chemistry and a more applied focus using microreactor technology for flow synthesis is of interest to academic as well as industrial research. This award also acknowledges the dedicated work of my co-workers and collaborators and encourages us to further explore and drive chemistry in these areas.”

Professor Rudolf Allemann, Head of the School of Chemistry, said: “This is excellent news and I congratulate Thomas on this achievement. The award recognises his fundamental work on the chemistry of hypervalent iodine and the innovative research in flow chemistry that is going on in the School of Chemistry. The Bader award is also testament of the many other outstanding contributions that Thomas has made to organic chemistry and shows that this field is really flourishing in the UK”.

Dr Robert Parker, chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry said: “It is an honour to recognise the illustrious achievements of our prize and award winners in our 175th anniversary year. We are proud to celebrate and support the work of inspiring and influential individuals, whose work has the potential to improve so many lives.”

Professor Wirth has also received a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit award for his outstanding and sustained contributions to the field of organic chemistry.

The Merit Award scheme provides universities with additional support to enable them to recruit or retain respected scientists of outstanding achievement and potential to the UK. It is jointly funded by the Wolfson Foundation and the Royal Society.