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University appoints Professor Tom McLeish to a Chair in Natural Philosophy

Posted on 16 November 2017

The Department of Physics welcomes Prof Tom McLeish after his appointment to a Chair in Natural Philosophy.

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Professor McLeish’s appointment is part of the University’s Research Leaders programme announced by the Vice-Chancellor last year.

Professor McLeish, a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Institute of Physics, and Royal Society of Chemistry, joins York from Durham University, where he held the role of Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research until 2014.


He is a theoretical physicist whose work is renowned for increasing our understanding of the properties of soft matter (which includes polymers and the physics of biological structures).

Although his work is mostly theoretical, he also works closely with researchers performing experiments and colleagues in industry.

Head of Department Prof Kieran Gibson said, "The appointment  of Tom McLeish as Chair in Natural Philosophy in the Department of Physics is a tremendously exciting development. As well as the world leading research expertise he offers in biological and soft matter physics, he will provide an intellectual depth and breadth which will have an impact across a range of research and learning and teaching activities in York Physics and the wider University.”

Professor McLeish’s other interests include historical studies of medieval science and relationships between humanities and sciences. He is looking forward to the interdisciplinary focus that York’s Research Strategy provides.

Professor McLeish said “I am excited by the growing national, and international conversation on the power and potential of interdisciplinary research across the conventional borders between the sciences themselves and in collaborations with the humanities. York’s vision here is particularly strong, and I am looking forward to joining in here.”

Research community

Vice-Chancellor Professor Koen Lamberts said “We are delighted to welcome Professor McLeish to our research community.  His strong background in working across a variety of disciplines makes him the ideal candidate to further enhance interdisciplinary research at York.”

Professor McLeish will join the University in February 2018.