Celebrated British chemist hired as distinguished professor


Vice president Mei Bing bestows a Distinguished Professorship Certificate upon Prof. Leigh. 

David Leigh, a professor of organic chemistry at the University of Manchester in United Kingdom, was officially hired as a distinguished professor of ECNU on October 10.

ECNU held an official ceremony at the Chemistry Hall in Zhongbei campus, where vice president Mei Bing bestowed a Distinguished Professorship Certificate upon the celebrated scientist.

Academician He Mingyuan, and Prof. Xian Yuezhong, Party chief of the Chemistry and Molecular Engineering School, were among the total of more than 100 teachers and students in attendance.

Prof. Leigh, newly inducted at ECNU, gave his lecture “Making the Tiniest Machines” to explore his thoughts on organic chemistry and recent endeavors in the field.

Prof. Leigh gives a lecture to explore his thoughts on organic chemistry.

Prof. Leigh is not only a Royal Society Research Professor but has also been crowned the Sir Samuel Hall Chair of Chemistry at the University of Manchester per 2014. He was previously the Forbes chair of Organic Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh (2001–2012) and professor of Synthetic Chemistry at the University of Warwick (1998–2001).

The ECNU’s distinguished professor has even made notable contributions to the study of organic chemistry - development of new methods to construct rotaxanes, catenanes and molecular knots, as well as inventing prototype models for synthetic molecular motors and functional nanomachines. His achievements have had a big impact on scientific developments and innovations.

His rotaxane based photo-active molecular switch enables change to the hydrophobicity of a surface, and thus form as a catalyst to repel gravitational force derived from small droplets of liquid.

He has won a myriad of major international awards, including the 2004 Royal Society of Chemistry Interdisciplinary Award, 2005 Royal Society-Wolfson Research Merit Award, 2007 Izatt-Christensen Award for Macrocyclic Chemistry, 2010 Royal Society of Chemistry Tilden Prize and 2014 Royal Society of Chemistry Pedler Prize.

Prof. Leigh has had 20-plus essays published by prestigious international academic journals such as Nature, Science, Nature Chemisty, Nature Materials and Nature Nanotech.

In addition to his academic work, Prof. Leigh serves as an international member to the advisory boards of Angew. Chem. Int. Ed, a German-based journal and ACS Central Science,an American-based journal. He is also vice editor-in-chief of Chemical Science - a monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the United Kingdom Royal Society of Chemistry - a world renowned source, which covers all aspects of chemistry in accordance with “advancing the chemical sciences.


East China Normal University