More scientific accolades for Nottingham chemistry professor

Professor Martyn Poliakoff
01 Feb 2012 15:11:07.700
PA 32/12

A University of Nottingham professor is preparing to receive two top accolades from the world of science for his work to raise the profile of chemistry.

Professor Martyn Poliakoff is already a familiar face to millions of YouTube followers around the world, after he was featured in a series of videos dedicated to each and every one of the 118 chemical elements, which became an overnight internet sensation.

Professor Poliakoff has been awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Nyholm Prize for Education for his work on the Periodic Table of Videos, and has also recently been elected as a Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
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Professor Poliakoff said: “I was really happy to be awarded the Nyholm Prize which I regard as a prize for the whole of the Periodic Table of Videos team. It is particularly gratifying as Sir Ronald Nyholm, in whose honour this prize is named, was a hugely important figure in both chemical research and chemical education.”

The prize recognises the contribution that Professor Poliakoff has made in bringing chemistry to a whole new audience through the Periodic Table of Videos which were launched in 2008 and have now been viewed by more than 20 million people.

As well as inspiring would-be scientists and chemistry enthusiasts through a range of exciting experiments showing the properties of all the chemical elements, Professor Poliakoff has picked up his own band of faithful followers who have been charmed by his eccentric hairstyle and outlandish chemistry-themed ties.

Record breaker 

The brainchild of BBC-trained journalist Brady Haran has already garnered a clutch of communications and science education awards and has seen the team land a spot in the Guinness World Records 2012 for producing the world’s smallest Periodic Table, engraved on a single strand of Professor Poliakoff’s hair.

Professor Poliakoff will present a talk entitled From Test Tube to YouTube at the RSC Education Division Nyholm Symposium taking place at The University of Nottingham’s School of Chemistry at 3.30pm on Wednesday February 8.

Professor Poliakoff talks about the time that he nearly met the man who inspired the prize, Sir Ronald Nyholm, in a recent video produced for the Periodic Table of Videos series, which continues to attract a large YouTube audience and sees two new videos uploaded on a weekly basis.

Special honour

The professor has recently also received notification that he has been elected a Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The honour is particularly special because of Professor Poliakoff’s own enduring links with the country — his father was Russian, he delivered his first scientific lecture in Moscow in 1971 (in English, although he does speak Russian fluently) and since 1999 he has been an honorary professor at Moscow State University, a post shared with the likes of Fidel Castro and Bill Clinton. Membership of the Russian Academy is an honour which Dmitri Mendeleev himself, inventor of the world’s first periodic table of elements, never achieved.

Professor Poliakoff added: “I am thrilled and delighted to receive such an honour, something which I never imagined when delivering my first lecture in Moscow during the early 1970s. I feel that my father would have been immensely proud.”

These honours come soon after Professor Poliakoff took up his role as the new Foreign Secretary for the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy for sciences.

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Story credits

More information is available from Professor Martyn Poliakoff on +44 (0)115 951 3520,

Emma Thorne Emma Thorne - Media Relations Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5793 Location: University Park

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