Skip to content Accessibility statement

York liquid crystal chemist wins AkzoNobel UK Science Award

Posted on 3 March 2014

A University of York scientist whose work helped form the basis for flat-screen TVs, computers and mobile phone displays has won AkzoNobel’s UK Science Award for 2014.

AkzoNobel logo

Professor John Goodby, FRS, Chair of Materials Chemistry at York, will officially receive the honor and a £50,000 prize during a ceremony being held at the Royal Society of Chemistry in London on March 5.

Having spent almost a decade of his 40-year career at Bell Laboratories in the US – home of seven Nobel Laureates – Professor Goodby is being recognized for the outstanding contributions he has made to materials chemistry in the field of liquid crystals and soft matter.

“I would like to pay tribute to all of my colleagues and students past and present, as well as my fellow academics at the University of York, who have made this scientific journey so exciting, memorable and enjoyable,” he said.

“The relatively short time span between the invention of commercial LCDs in the 1970s and their current market dominance has required a huge effort by scientists and engineers from many disciplines, demonstrating the critical importance of multidisciplinary research.”

Professor John Goodby
Added AkzoNobel’s Chief Scientist, Andrew Burgess: “I am delighted that we can once again recognize the wealth of science talent in the UK through this award. Professor Goodby is a hugely worthy recipient, with his work having made a great contribution to advances in liquid crystals and display technologies that people around the world now take for granted.”

President of the Royal Society of Chemistry and chair of the prize selection committee, Professor Lesley Yellowlees, commented: “I’m thrilled to be celebrating Professor Goodby’s invaluable contributions to a technology that has a beneficial effect on everyday lives across the world. The field of liquid crystal chemistry is an excellent demonstration of the value of curiosity-driven research and, more than 125 years after they were first discovered by accident, it’s fantastic to be recognizing Professor Goodby’s role in what is now a billion-dollar industry.”

The UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Rt Hon Vince Cable MP, also congratulated the 2014 winner: “Professor Goodby's achievements are testament to the fact that the UK has many of the world's best scientists. We have led the way developing technology that has transformed the way people live across the globe.”

Scientists are constantly looking at how the application of liquid crystals can be expanded, with current research expected to lead to applications in sensors and the medical field. More than 100 clinical trials are in progress worldwide testing the use of liquid crystals as vectors to translate DNA across membrane walls in the human body.

Notes to editors:

  • Professor John Goodby studied for his doctorate in liquid crystals at the University of Hull before moving in 1979 to AT&T Bell Laboratories, where he became Supervisor of the Liquid Crystal Materials Group. After nearly ten years in the US, he moved back to the UK to become the Thorn EMI-STC Reader in Industrial Chemistry at the University of Hull. After two years, he became Head of the Liquid Crystals and Advanced Organic Materials Group, and subsequently Head of the School of Chemistry. He is currently Head of Materials Chemistry at the University of York where his research is focused on the control of structure formation in materials through directed self-organization and self-assembly and the application of nano and micro-phase segregation; the development of materials for liquid crystal displays; polymers and dendrimers for photonics and metamaterials; and gels and biopolymers for use in biomedical applications. In 2011 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and in 2013 he won the RSC Materials for Industry Derek Birchall Award.
  • The AkzoNobel Science Awards recognize outstanding scientific contributions by individuals in the fields of chemistry and materials science. First bestowed in the Netherlands in 1970 – when it was known as the Akzo Prize – the presentation of the award was extended to Sweden in 1999, when it was re-named the AkzoNobel Science Award. It was subsequently extended to China and the UK in 2010 and North America in 2013.
  • AkzoNobel is a leading global paints and coatings company and a major producer of specialty chemicals. We supply industries and consumers worldwide with innovative products and are passionate about developing sustainable answers for our customers. Our portfolio includes well-known brands such as Dulux, Sikkens, International and Eka. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, we are consistently ranked as one of the leaders in the area of sustainability. With operations in more than 80 countries, our 50,000 people around the world are committed to delivering leading products and technologies to meet the growing demands of our fast-changing world.


Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153

Keep up to date

 Subscribe to news feeds

 Follow us on Twitter