Royal Society of Chemistry

Royal Society of Chemistry
Royal Society of Chemistry
Formation 1980 (1841)[1]
Type Learned society
Headquarters London
Location United Kingdom
Membership 46,000
Official languages English
President David Phillips
Key people Dr Robert Parker (CEO)

The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) is a learned society (professional association) in the United Kingdom with the goal of "advancing the chemical sciences." It was formed in 1980 from the merger of the Chemical Society, the Royal Institute of Chemistry, the Faraday Society and the Society for Analytical Chemistry with a new Royal Charter and the dual role of learned society and professional body. At its inception the Society had a combined membership of 34,000 in the UK and a further 8,000 abroad.[2] The headquarters of the Society are at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London. It also has offices in Thomas Graham House in Cambridge where RSC Publishing is based. The Society has offices in the United States at the University City Science Center, Philadelphia, in both Beijing and Shanghai, China and Bangalore, India.[3]

The organisation carries out research, publishes journals, books and databases, as well as hosting conferences, seminars and workshops. It is the professional body for chemistry in the UK, with the ability to award the status of Chartered Chemist (CChem) to suitably qualified candidates. The designation FRSC is given to a group of elected Fellows who have made major contributions to chemistry. The names of Fellows are published each year in The Times (London).



RSC London Headquarters

The president is elected biennually and wears a badge in the form of a spoked wheel, with the standing figure of Joseph Priestley depicted in enamel, mainly in red and blue, on a hexagonal medallion in the centre. The rim of the wheel is gold, and the twelve spokes are of non-tarnishable metals.

The current president is Professor David Phillips (2010–2012). Past presidents of the society have been:

  • 1980-1982 Sir Ewart Ray Herbert Jones (1911–2002)[4]
  • 1982-1984 Professor Sir John Ivan George Cadogan (1930- )
  • 1984-1986 Professor Richard Oswald Chandler Norman (1932–1993)[5]
  • 1986-1988 Sir Jack Lewis (1928–)[6]
  • 1988-1990 Professor John Mason Ward
  • 1990-1992 Sir Rex Edward Richards (1922- )
  • 1992-1994 Professor Charles Wayne Rees (1927–2006)[7]
  • 1994-1996 Professor John Howard Purnell (1925–1996)
  • 1996-1998 Edward William Abel (1931- )
  • 1998-2000 Anthony Ledwith (1933- )[8]
  • 2000-2002 Professor Steven Victor Ley (1945- )
  • 2002-2004 Professor Sir Harold Kroto (1939- )
  • 2004-2006 Dr Simon Campbell (1941- )[9]
  • 2006-2008 Professor Jim Feast (1938- )
  • 2008-2010 Professor David Garner (1941- )[10]
  • 2010-2012 Professor David Phillips (1939- )[11]
  • 2012-2014 Professor Lesley Yellowless

Membership grades and post-nominals

The following are membership grades with post-nominals (designatory letters)[12] :

  • Affiliate: (no post-nominal) The grade for students and those involved in chemistry who do not meet the requirements for the following grades.
  • AMRSC: Associate Member, Royal Society of Chemistry The entry level for RSC membership, AMRSC is awarded to graduates (or equivalent) in the chemical sciences.
  • MRSC: Member, Royal Society of Chemistry Awarded to graduates (or equivalent) with at least 3 years' experience, who have acquired key skills through professional activity
  • FRSC: Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry Fellowship may be awarded to nominees who have made an outstanding contribution to chemistry.
  • CChem: Chartered Chemist The award of CChem is considered separately from admission to a category of RSC membership. Candidates need to be MRSC or FRSC and demonstrate development of specific professional attributes and be in a job which requires their chemical knowledge and skills.
  • CSci: Chartered Scientist The RSC is a licensed by the Science Council for the registration of Chartered Scientists.
  • EurChem: European Chemist The RSC is a member of the European Communities Chemistry Council (ECCC), and can award this designation to Chartered Chemists.
  • MChemA: Mastership in Chemical Analysis The RSC awards this postgraduate qualification which is the UK statutory qualification for practice as a Public Analyst.[13] It requires candidates to submit a portfolio of suitable experience and to take theory papers and a one-day laboratory practical examination.[14]


The qualification GRSC (Graduate of the Royal Society of Chemistry) was awarded from 1981 to 1995 for completion of college courses equivalent to a chemistry degree and overseen by the RSC.[15] It replaced the GRIC offered by the Royal Institute of Chemistry.[16]

Divisions and forums

The society is organised around 5 divisions and 4 forums, based on subject areas, and local sections, both in the United Kingdom and overseas. Divisions and forums cover broad areas of chemistry but also contain many special interest groups for more specific areas.

  • Analytical Division for analytical chemistry and promoting the original aims of the Society for Analytical Chemistry. 12 Subject Groups.
  • Dalton Division, named after John Dalton, for inorganic chemistry. 6 Subject Groups.
  • Education Division for chemical education. 4 Subject Groups.
  • Faraday Division, named after Michael Faraday, for physical chemistry and promoting the original aims of the Faraday Society. 14 Subject Groups.
  • Organic Division for organic chemistry. 6 Subject Groups.
  • Chemical Biology Forum. 2 Subject Groups.
  • Environment, Sustainability and Energy Forum. 3 Subject Groups.
  • Materials Chemistry Forum. 4 Subject Groups.
  • Industry and technology Forum. 13 Subject Groups.

There are 12 subjects groups not attached to a division or forum.

Local sections

There are 35 local sections covering the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. In countries of the Commonwealth of Nations and many other countries there are Local Representatives of the Society and often some activities.


The Society is a not-for-profit publisher: surplus made by its publishing business is invested to support its aim of advancing the chemical sciences.

In addition to scientific journals including its flagship journals Chemical Communications, Chemical Science and Chemical Society Reviews (See *Category:Royal Society of Chemistry academic journals for a list), the Society publishes:-

  • A free online journal for chemistry educators, Chemistry Education Research and Practice.
  • A general chemistry magazine Chemistry World, sent monthly to all members of the Society throughout the world. The editorial board consists of 10 academic and industrial chemists. It was first published in January 2004. It replaced Chemistry in Britain, first published in 1965. Its contents include news, articles of a general chemical nature, such as the history of chemistry and technological developments, book reviews and letters from readers. Its ISSN is 1473-7604. Chemistry World is supported by the Chemistry World Podcast, which is presented by Cambridge University scientist Dr Chris Smith, who also edits the Naked Scientists.
  • Books for students, including the Tutorial Chemistry Texts series of 23 books, edited by Professor E. W. Abel, and the 8 books in the Molecular World series, whose coordinating editor is Professor L. E. Smart.
  • Books on the history of chemistry, such as a history of the Faraday Society.


The Society has a large library covering mainly Chemical-based subjects, including online access for members, housed at the Chemistry Centre at Burlington House.

Prizes and awards

The RSC awards a variety of Prizes and Awards each year that include awards for excellence in any area of chemistry, in specialist areas or for achievement at particular stages of a chemist's career.[17]

Medals are awarded centrally by the RSC and by the divisions of the organisation. There are also awards that are administered by RSC interest groups.

The centrally awarded medals include the Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prize which is awarded to a British chemist who is under 32 years of age for promising original investigations in chemistry[18] and the Corday-Morgan Prizes which consist of three separate awards made for the most meritorious contributions to experimental chemistry (including computer simulation).[19]

Previous winners of the Harrison-Meldola Prize include C.K. Ingold (1921, 1922), C.N. Hinshelwood (1923), R.H. Stokes (1946), D.H. Williams (1966) and J. Evans (1978).

Corday-Morgan Prize recipients include D.H.R. Barton (1949), R.S. Nyholm (1950), F. Sanger (1951), J.W. Cornforth (1953), Rex Richards|R.E. Richards (1954) and G. Porter (1955). Later recipients include many of the current leaders of the chemistry community in the United Kingdom. For full list of recipients see Corday-Morgan medal.

The Faraday Division annually awards the Marlow Award for contributions to physical chemistry or chemical physics by members of the Faraday Division under the age of 32.[20] Recent recipients include Andrew Orr-Ewing, (1999), Jonathan A Jones, (2000), Helen Fielding (2001), Jonathan Essex (2002), Daren Caruana (2003), Jonathan Reid (2004), Julie Macpherson (2005), Fred Manby (2006) and Alessandro Troisi (2007).


See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Lagowski, J. J. (1991). "A British Sesquicentennial," Journal of Chemical Education, Vol 68, No. 1, p. 1; acknowledging the sesquicentennial of The Chemical Society in London, which eventually became the Royal Society of Chemistry.
  2. ^ RSC History
  3. ^ RSC Contacts
  4. ^ Ewart Jones Obituary in the Independent
  5. ^ Richard Oswald Chandler Norman Obituary in the Independent
  6. ^ Jack Lewis Biography
  7. ^ Charles Wayne Rees Obituary in the Independent
  8. ^ Anthony Ledwith Biography
  9. ^ Press Release 2006 Simon Campbell Biography
  10. ^ www.nottingham David Garner
  11. ^ David Phillips
  12. ^ RSC Website - Designatory Letters
  13. ^ Statutory Instrument 1990 No. 2463 The Food Safety (Sampling and Qualifications) Regulations 1990
  14. ^ RSC Web page MChemA
  15. ^ Graduate Qualifications in Chemistry
  16. ^ Royal Institute of Chemistry
  17. ^ RSC prizes and awards
  18. ^ Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prize
  19. ^ Corday-Morgan Prizes
  20. ^ Marlow Award
  21. ^

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