Wednesday 8 January 17:30 - 18:30

Lecture theatre G16
Sir Alexander Fleming Building
Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus

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The central science: using molecules to develop materials and medicines

Science & Technology

The lecture is free to attend and open to all, but registration is required in advance.

A drinks reception will follow in the Sir Alexander Fleming Building foyer.


Chemistry is often referred to as the central science, given its role in bridging the fundamental physical sciences with the applied and life sciences. That is not to say, however, that chemistry is just a middleman. By understanding molecular structure, properties and interactions, chemists have unique insight into the complex systems which underpin diverse areas - from biology to materials science – and can use this understanding to drive important advances. Furthermore, by employing the powerful ability to construct molecules, through state-of-the-art synthetic chemistry, chemists can define new approaches and invent new products from drugs and diagnostics, to dyes and devices.

Matthew Fuchter is a Professor of Chemistry at Imperial College London who has long been interested in harnessing the power of synthetic chemistry to impact molecular science in multiple scientific domains. During his inaugural lecture he will discuss his perspective of chemistry as a central science. Journeying through a career that has taken him from the discovery of experimental medicines, to the development of energy efficient electronic displays, he will give case studies from his work that showcase how scientific curiosity and chemical understanding can lead to useful ‘real world’ applications. And how, in turn, such applications promote the need for further understanding and innovation on the molecular scale.


Matthew Fuchter obtained his first-class MSci degree (2002) in Chemistry from the University of Bristol, followed by a PhD (2006) from Imperial College London under the supervision of Professor Anthony G. M. Barrett, FRS FMedSci. Following a brief spell as a postdoctoral research associate at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia, where he worked with Professor Andrew B Holmes, AC, FRS, FAA, FInstP, he returned to London to take up an independent fellowship at the School of Pharmacy, University of London (2007). In 2008, he was appointed to a Lectureship position in the Department of Chemistry at Imperial College London, where he was promoted to Senior Lecturer (2012), Reader (2015) and full Professor in 2018.

Professor Fuchter has received many awards in recognition of his research work including the Royal Society of Chemistry's Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prize (2014), an Imperial College President’s Medal for Excellence in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (2017), and the Tetrahedron Young Investigator Award for Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry (2018). He is an advocate for the importance of organic chemistry, currently being an Elected Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Organic Division Council and the UK representative to the European Chemical Society’s Division of Organic Chemistry.

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