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Department of Chemistry

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Prof J.P.S. Badyal FRS

Professor Jas Pal Badyal of our department has received the honour of a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in recognition of his pioneering research on the functionalisation of solid surfaces and use of nanolayers. For more details about Jas Pal's research, see

(3 May 2016)

Durham Chemistry Department ‘Celebrating Excellence'

Members of the Chemistry Department played a leading role at the annual 2016 Durham University Celebrating Excellence Dinner, hosted by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Stuart Corbridge, which was held in the Great Hall, University College. The photograph shows Members of the Chemistry Department at the Durham University 2016 Celebrating Excellence Dinner: left to right: Prof Jim Feast CBE FRS, Prof Andy Beeby, Prof Judith Howard CBE FRS, Prof Graham Sandford, Prof Dick Chambers FRS, Prof Jas Pal Badyal, Dr. Alyssa-Jennifer Avestro, Prof Mark Wilson, Prof Chris Greenwell (Earth Sciences/Chemistry).

(28 Apr 2016) » More about Durham Chemistry Department ‘Celebrating Excellence'

Prestigious Faraday Symposium held at Durham

Durham Chemistry successfully hosted the prestigious Faraday Awards Symposium on 20th April. Five award lectures were given by Prof Nico Sommerdijk (Soft Matter & Biophysical Chemistry Award), Philipp Kukura (Marlow Award), Flemming Hansen (Marlow Award), David Wales (Tilden Prize) and Lyndon Emsley (Bourke Award). Prizes were awarded by Prof Graham Hutchings and RSC Faraday Division Secretary, Marie Cote. The day was attended by more than 80 colleagues, families and friends from Durham, the North East and beyond. It was a fantastic celebration of Physical Chemistry, showcasing some of the most eminent leaders and emerging talent in the field. 


(21 Apr 2016)

Kerry Strong wins Apprentice Award

Kerry Strong, Apprentice Technician in Chemistry, has been selected as the winner of Durham University Apprentice of the Year Award in Academic Departments in 2015-16. This is a great achievement for Kerry and demonstrates both her capabilities and enthusiasm for her work. She was nominated by her Line Manager, Emma Smart and was selected from a group of other apprentices working within the University. 

(18 Apr 2016) » More about Kerry Strong wins Apprentice Award

Water molecules cooperate to break hydrogen bonds via quantum tunnelling

Quantum tunneling in the smallest water droplet

A collaboration between theoretical and experimental chemists, led by the Department of Chemistry, was able to observe and explain the hydrogen-bond breaking motions of water molecules in a cluster. Although at very low temperatures, the molecules do not have enough energy to overcome the potential barriers, they are able to tunnel through them. In this work, published in Science, it was shown that the cluster was able to simultaneously break two hydrogen bonds by moving cooperatively. The theoretical study was carried out by Dr Jeremy Richardson using novel methods developed in his research for studying the complex dynamics of quantum molecular systems. 

(21 Mar 2016) » More about Water molecules cooperate to break hydrogen bonds via quantum tunnelling

Beeby and Gameson study a really old book!

The Codex Bezae Cantabrigensis is a codex of the New Testament dating from the 5th century written in an uncial hand on vellum. It contains, in both Greek and Latin, most of the four Gospels and Acts. It is an extremely fragile and important book - over 1500 years old - it is one of the oldest books in Britain. Professor Andy Beeby and Professor Richard Gameson were analysing the red pigment found at the end and start of each gospel book.


(16 Feb 2016)

BSAC Grant to Develop Next Generation Antibiotics

The rising prevalence of antibiotic resistance has increased the need for research on novel antimicrobials to replace or complement current treatments for infectious diseases. The challenge lies in finding new molecules with novel modes of action. To tackle this challenge Dr Steven Cobb (Chemistry) and Dr Fionnuala Lundy (Centre for Infection and Immunity, Queens University Belfast) have been awarded a grant from the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC - 

(20 Jan 2016)

Rubber Breakdown Research in Chemistry World

A team of chemists led by Dr Ezat Khosravi have developed a remarkable new way to break down styrene butadiene rubber at room temperature and without mechanical input, by placing it in dichloromethane with a ruthenium-based Grubbs’ catalyst. The original article is published in Green Chemistry and highlighted in Chemistry World. 

‘In natural rubber you see the presence of double bonds,’ explains Khosravi. ‘We thought by implementing cross metathesis using a ruthenium initiator we would be able to break down the rubber network in the presence of a simple ester, but surprisingly the reaction worked with just the catalyst, which was very interesting.’ Khosravi's Durham colleague Dr Richard Thompson helped analyse why the reaction still works without the ester.

(1 Apr 2016)

Simon Beaumont with UK's first NAPXPS spectrum

Simon Beaumont carried out the first experiments at the Diamond Light Source's new Near Ambient Pressure X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy endstation, VERSOX on 16th February. The photograph below shows the team, also including researchers from Aston University and the beamline scientists, just after the first ever spectrum was recorded with this instrument - a UK first. 

(26 Feb 2016) » More about Simon Beaumont with UK's first NAPXPS spectrum