A LEADING scientist from North Yorkshire has been awarded a prestigious prize by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Professor Graham Hutchings, from Osmotherley, near Northallerton has been awarded the 2018 Faraday Lectureship Prize for his “exceptional work to the field of chemistry” and his ground-breaking work on gold catalysts.

Prof Hutchings, who is director of the Cardiff Catalysis Institute at Cardiff University, joins a long list of notable recipients of the award, which includes Dmitri Mendeleev, Ernest Rutherford and Niels Bohr.

He will receive £5,000 and a medal and will complete a UK lecture tour.

Professor Hutchings said: “I am deeply honoured to have the work on gold catalysis recognised with this award; it is a prize that has a great history dating back to 1869 and to be included amongst the long list of distinguished recipients is indeed wonderful.”

Among his many successes, Professor Hutchings’ most valued discovery is that gold has the remarkable ability to catalyse reactions much more efficiently than toxic chemicals currently used in the production of plastic, particularly vinyl chloride.

This discovery has spawned thousands of published papers and patents all around the world and has made Professor Hutching’s one of the most cited researchers in the field of chemistry.

It also led to him being made honorary professor at China’s oldest university, Tianjin University. China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of PVC and his work is having a major impact in China where it should help clean-up rivers poisoned by heavy metals used in the production of plastic.