A chemist from Epsom has won massive praise and one of the most prestigious awards in the discipline in recognition of his groundbreaking work in the field of chemical measurements.

Professor Richard Brown, who was born and raised in Epsom, was named the winner of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Theophilius Redwood Award earlier this month.

The Epsom man, who lives in Surrey and currently works in Teddington, clinched the prestigious Royal Society award for “excellence in theoretical and practical aspects of chemical measurement leading to the recent redefinition of the mole, and communication of these changes,” the RSoC said.

The mole or mol is a scientific unit that’s used for measuring large quantities of very small entities like atoms or molecules.

It was recently redefined by a team of scientists including Professor Brown to help ensure more accurate chemical measurements and give scientists a greater understanding of how different substances might react with one another.

"His work has resulted in the revision of the International System of Units (SI), meaning that the definitions of base units, including the mole, are now formulated in a way that allows the development of future technological and scientific advances in ways that society is at present unable to imagine," the RSoC described. 

Speaking after he received the award, Professor Brown described the recent collaboration on redefining the mole as one of the “greatest stories” of cooperation between scientists in recent times and expressed his happiness at becoming the latest recipient of the Theophilius Redwood Award.

“I am delighted and greatly honoured to receive the Royal Society of Chemistry’s 2020 Theophilius Redwood Award,” Professor Brown said.

“I am also very pleased that the work of metrology - the science of measurement - in assuring the stability, comparability and accuracy of chemical measurements has been recognised in this way,” he added.

Professor Brown holds a PhD from Imperial College and will receive £2,000 and a medal for his contribution to science.

Dr Helen Pain, acting chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, heaped praise on the Epsom-born chemist’s achievements and helped put them in context of the current global situation.

“We live in an era of tremendous global challenges, with the need for science recognised now more so than ever – so it is important to recognise those behind the scenes who are making significant contributions towards improving the world we live in,” she said.

“It is our honour and privilege to do that with these awards, which recognise exceptional scientific achievement,” Dr Pain added.

“The global chemical sciences community is one that covers many different specialisms, from health and climate change to product development, sustainable transport, and everything in between. In recognising the work of Professor Brown, we are also recognising the important contribution this incredible network of scientists makes to improving our lives every day.”