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Dr Alexander O’Malley wins national medal for outstanding contribution to UK catalysis research

The UK Catalysis Hub have named CSCT researcher and Whorrod Fellow Dr Alexander O’Malley as winner of the prestigious Sir John Meurig Thomas Catalysis Medal at the UK Catalysis Hub Winter Conference on 7 December 2021.

Dr O’Malley was selected from the nominations for top early-career scientists working in the United Kingdom to win the medal for 2021. The medal honours the achievements of Sir John Meurig Thomas, a distinguished professor in the field of catalysis and an eminence in catalytic science, who pioneered many of the techniques and concepts that have now become standard in the field.

Following his award, Dr Alexander O’Malley delivered a lecture on catalysis to the UK Catalysis Hub Winter conference. On winning, he said: “It is a great honour to be awarded the JMT Medal. Sir John was a hugely important figure in a number of fields – the most relevant to myself being microporous catalysis. I’ve been truly privileged to have access to such world-class facilities to demonstrate what neutron-based techniques can bring to this field, especially when combined with relatively simple simulations. I’m incredibly grateful to all my colleagues and everyone at the Catalysis Hub and ISIS Neutron Source for enabling the work. We’re just getting started!”

Alex’s projects in catalysis involve using a range of simulation methods paired with neutron scattering techniques to study how molecules behave when they interact with zeolites, a group of minerals that are commonly used as commercial adsorbents and catalysts. He is also currently using these techniques to study problems in anticancer drug delivery and water decontamination with the same materials.

Professor Chris Hardacre, UK Catalysis Hub Director, said, “Alex has produced seminal work on the use of neutrons to investigate catalytic processes.  He has worked closely with the UK Catalysis Hub throughout his research career and his work has shown the benefits and advances that can be achieved by working closely with the central facilities. Congratulations to Alex on this well-deserved award.”

Professor Matthew Davidson, CSCT Co-Director and UK Catalysis Hub lead, said: “It is fantastic to see Alex’s important work in the field of catalysis being recognised by the wider community and we look forward to seeing his research go from strength to strength in Bath and as part of the CSCT.”

Highlight Papers:

Alexander J. O’Malley, Stewart F. Parker and C. Richard A. Catlow, Neutron spectroscopy as a tool in catalytic science,  Chem. Commun., 2017, 53, 12164-12176, DOI: 10.1039/C7CC05982E (Feature Article)

Alexander J. O’Malley, Stewart F. Parker, Arunabhiram Chutia, Matthew R. Farrow, Ian P. Silverwood, Victoria García-Sakai and C. Richard A. Catlow, Room temperature methoxylation in zeolites: insight into a key step of the methanol-to-hydrocarbons processChem. Commun., 2016, 52, 2897-2900, DOI: 10.1039/C5CC08956E (Communication)

By 14 December 2021

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