Thursday, 7 March 2013

Powering Ahead with the President

RSC Belgium was delighted to welcome RSC President Prof Lesley Yellowlees to the section on the evening of Monday 4 March. Lesley’s talk on Solar Power in the Brel Theatre at the British School of Brussels (BSB) was well received and topped off a hectic long weekend for her on RSC business in Brussels.

Prof. Yellowlees is the first woman to hold the Presidency of the Royal Society of Chemistry. She held a personal chair in Inorganic Electrochemistry at the University of Edinburgh and is currently Vice Principal of the University and Head of the College of Science and Engineering. Lesley’s research interests include inorganic electrochemistry, epr spectroscopy, novel processes for carbon dioxide conversion and solar energy: her topic for discussion on Monday evening.


Just over 60 members and friends heard Lesley describe the problems posed by the ever increasing demand for electricity from an ever increasing global population. To meet these demands will require sustainable renewable energy sources. For Prof Yellowlees this means solar power and this is an area where chemistry is making a big contribution.

Solar and chocs
Lesley outlined how Dye Sensitised Solar Cells work and the research that she has undertaken in Edinburgh to characterise such cells using techniques such as uv/vis and epr spectroelectrochemistry in the search for optimised formulation that can provide us with cheap solar power. Lesley’s presentation from 4 March is available here.

A recent RSC Policy document on Solar Fuels and Artificial Photosynthesis shows how current and future science and innovation could change our future energy options.

Following Lesley’s talk members and friends enjoyed a special drinks reception featuring a ‘chocolate tasting’ courtesy of Centho Chocolates.

Lesley was accompanied on Monday evening by RSC CEO Robert Parker. The two were in Brussels following the major triennial RSC Editors Symposium that had been held in the city over the weekend involving some 300 editors of RSC publications and 80 RSC staff. RSC Belgium chairman Bob Crichton and section secretary Tim Reynolds had been invited to the symposium banquet on Sunday evening at the Concert Noble

CSA visit
Lesley and Robert were also able to meet at the European Commission’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Prof Anne Glover on Monday morning. The meeting was arranged by Tim Reynolds and they discussed a number of issues where RSC could support or input to Commission initiatives, including topics such as diversity and promoting the value of science education to school students.


Prior to taking up her position as at the Commission Anne Glover was CSA to the Scottish government and Anne still has a laboratory and personal chair in at Aberdeen University, so Lesley and Anne have known each other for a number of years. Anne, like Lesley, is a passionate believer in the need to ensure science – and factual evidence in general – is at the core of policy making. Clear communication of science is a key element of this.

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