History

BAAS Meeting Manchester 1887
BAAS Meeting, Manchester 1887 Standing - Wislicenus, Quincke, Schunck, Schorlemmer & Joule Seated - Lothar Meyer, Dmitri Mendeleev & Sir Henry Roscoe

Chemistry has a long and distinguished history in Manchester. John Dalton founded modern Chemistry here in 1803 with his theory of atoms. Here too, James Joule laid the foundations for the science of thermodynamics in the 1840's. The first UK Professor of Organic Chemistry, Carl Schorlemmer, was appointed here in 1874.

Manchester has always been in the front line in Chemistry and we aim to keep it there. In modern times we can point to Chemistry Nobel Prize winners such as John Polanyi (1986), and Michael Smith (1993) both of whom studied for their BSc and PhD here. Add to this the many Royal Society of Chemistry medallists presently on the staff and it forms a continuing tradition of which we are justifiably proud.

Of course Chemistry does not have all the 'firsts' - just to be fair we should mention that in our sister science, Physics, Rutherford, who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, first split the atom at Manchester. This is commemorated by a blue plaque on a wall of one of the University's original buildings. Similarly in Bridgeford Street there is a plaque celebrating the invention in 1948 of the world's first stored-program computer here at the University.

History laboratory

Chemistry Nobel Prize winners John Polanyi and Michael Smith studied in Manchester.

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