Martyn Poliakoff

Martyn Poliakoff
Martyn Poliakoff

Professor Martyn Poliakoff CBE
Born December 16, 1947 (1947-12-16) (age 63)
Institutions University of Nottingham
Alma mater University of Cambridge
Notable awards Fellow of the Royal Society, CBE

Martyn Poliakoff CBE FRS is a British chemist, working on gaining insights into fundamental chemistry and also on developing environmentally acceptable processes and materials. The core themes of his work are supercritical fluids [1][2], infrared spectroscopy and lasers. He is a Research Professor in Chemistry at the University of Nottingham[3]. His group comprises several members of staff, postdoctoral research fellows, postgraduate students and overseas visitors. As well as carrying out research at the University of Nottingham he is a popular lecturer, teaching a number of modules including green chemistry[4][5] where much of his research lies.

He was appointed CBE in the 2008 New Year Honours and is a member of the Advisory Council for the Campaign for Science and Engineering.[6] In May 2011 he was nominated as the next Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society.[7]



Poliakoff was an undergraduate at King's College, Cambridge graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1969 and Ph.D. in 1973 under the supervision of J. J. Turner[3][8] . In 1972 he moved to the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and in 1979, took a Lectureship at the University of Nottingham.[3]

Popular science

Poliakoff is the narrator of a series of over 300 short videos called The Periodic Table of Videos[9][10], which is a popular science project intended to familiarize the public with all 118 elements of the periodic table. The project has now expanded to cover molecules; there are also several special videos about other chemical topics. He hit the news for calculating that the FIFA World Cup Trophy could not have been made from solid gold as it would be too heavy to raise aloft.[11][12][13]

Personal life

Poliakoff was born to Jewish parents , Ina (née Montagu), and , Alexander Poliakoff, who was born in Russia.[14][15] Poliakoff has two children, Ellen Poliakoff (a psychology lecturer at the University of Manchester) and Simon Poliakoff (a physics teacher). His brother, Stephen Poliakoff, is a screen writer and director. Poliakoff was a life-long friend of Tony Judt and Poliakoff produced a web eulogy of Judt in 2010[16].


  1. ^ Parrott, A. J.; Bourne, R. A.; Akien, G. R.; Irvine, D. J.; Poliakoff, M. (2011). "Self-Optimizing Continuous Reactions in Supercritical Carbon Dioxide". Angewandte Chemie International Edition 50 (16): 3788–3792. doi:10.1002/anie.201100412. PMID 21442710.  edit
  2. ^ Bourne, R. A.; Han, X.; Chapman, A. O.; Arrowsmith, N. J.; Kawanami, H.; Poliakoff, M.; George, M. W. (2008). "Homogeneous photochemical oxidation via singlet O2 in supercritical CO2". Chemical Communications (37): 4457. doi:10.1039/b806063k. PMID 18802589.  edit
  3. ^ a b c Martyn Poliakoff's biography at the University of Nottingham
  4. ^ Poliakoff, M.; Licence, P. (2007). "Sustainable technology: Green chemistry". Nature 450 (7171): 810–812. doi:10.1038/450810a. PMID 18064000.  edit
  5. ^ Asfaw, N.; Chebude, Y.; Ejigu, A.; Hurisso, B. B.; Licence, P.; Smith, R. L.; Tang, S. L. Y.; Poliakoff, M. (2011). "The 13 Principles of Green Chemistry and Engineering for a Greener Africa". Green Chemistry 13 (5): 1059. doi:10.1039/c0gc00936a.  edit
  6. ^ "Advisory Council of the Campaign for Science and Engineering". Retrieved 2011-02-11. 
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ Poliakoff, M.; Turner, J. J. (1970). "The infrared spectra of trimetal carbonyl species in frozen gas matrices at 20�K". Journal of the Chemical Society D: Chemical Communications (16): 1008. doi:10.1039/C29700001008.  edit
  9. ^ Haran, B.; Poliakoff, M. (2011). "How to measure the impact of chemistry on the small screen". Nature Chemistry 3 (3): 180–182. doi:10.1038/nchem.990. PMID 21336314.  edit
  10. ^ Haran, B.; Poliakoff, M. (2011). "The Periodic Table of Videos". Science 332 (6033): 1046–1047. doi:10.1126/science.1196980. PMID 21617067.  edit
  11. ^ Chemistry of the World Cup trophy
  12. ^ "Professor says World Cup trophy cannot be solid gold". BBC News. 2010-06-12. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  13. ^ "Doubts raised over World Cup trophy". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  14. ^ screenonline: Poliakoff, Stephen (1952–) Biography
  15. ^ "Stephen Poliakoff Biography (1952?-)". Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  16. ^ Tony Judt Tribute

External links