Royal Society of Chemistry

The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) is a learned society (professional association) in the United Kingdom with the goal of "advancing the chemical sciences". It was formed in 1980 from the amalgamation of the Chemical Society, the Royal Institute of Chemistry, the Faraday Society, and the Society for Analytical Chemistry with a new Royal Charter and the dual role of learned society and professional body. At its inception, the Society had a combined membership of 34,000 in the UK and a further 8,000 abroad.[2] The headquarters of the Society are at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London. It also has offices in Thomas Graham House in Cambridge (named after Thomas Graham, the first president of the Chemical Society) where RSC Publishing is based. The Society has offices in the United States at the University City Science Center, Philadelphia, in both Beijing and Shanghai, China and Bangalore, India.[3] The organisation carries out research, publishes journals, books and databases, as well as hosting conferences, seminars and workshops. It is the professional body for chemistry in the UK, with the ability to award the status of Chartered Chemist (CChem) and, through the Science Council the awards of Chartered Scientist (CSci), Registered Scientist (RSci) and Registered Science Technician (RScTech) to suitably qualified candidates. The designation FRSC is given to a group of elected Fellows of the society who have made major contributions to chemistry and other interface disciplines such as biological chemistry. The names of Fellows are published each year in The Times (London). Honorary Fellowship of the Society ("HonFRSC") is awarded for distinguished service in the field of chemistry.

Royal Society of Chemistry
Royal Society of Chemistry
The RSC's logo, introduced in 2013
MottoPro scientia et humanitate
(For the sake of knowledge and for the benefit of mankind)
Formation1980 (1841)[1]
TypeLearned society
HeadquartersBurlington House
  • United Kingdom
Official language
Carol V. Robinson
Key people
Robert Parker (CEO)
RoySocChem 5770
RSC London Headquarters


The president is elected biennially and wears a badge in the form of a spoked wheel, with the standing figure of Joseph Priestley depicted in enamel, mainly in red and blue, on a hexagonal medallion in the centre. The rim of the wheel is gold, and the twelve spokes are of non-tarnishable metals.

The current president is Dame Carol V. Robinson (2018–).[4]

Past presidents of the society have been:

Membership grades and post-nominals

The following are membership grades with post-nominals (designatory letters):[16]

  • Affiliate: (no post-nominal) The grade for students and those involved in chemistry who do not meet the requirements for the following grades.
  • AMRSC: Associate Member, Royal Society of Chemistry The entry level for RSC membership, AMRSC is awarded to graduates (or equivalent) in the chemical sciences.
  • MRSC: Member, Royal Society of Chemistry Awarded to graduates (or equivalent) with at least 3 years' experience, who have acquired key skills through professional activity
  • FRSC: Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry Fellowship may be awarded to nominees who have made an outstanding contribution to chemistry (see Category:Fellows of the Royal Society of Chemistry).
  • CChem: Chartered Chemist The award of CChem is considered separately from admission to a category of RSC membership. Candidates need to be MRSC or FRSC and demonstrate development of specific professional attributes and be in a job which requires their chemical knowledge and skills.
  • CSci: Chartered Scientist The RSC is a licensed by the Science Council for the registration of Chartered Scientists.
  • EurChem: European Chemist The RSC is a member of the European Communities Chemistry Council (ECCC), and can award this designation to Chartered Chemists.
  • MChemA: Mastership in Chemical Analysis The RSC awards this postgraduate qualification which is the UK statutory qualification for practice as a Public Analyst.[18] It requires candidates to submit a portfolio of suitable experience and to take theory papers and a one-day laboratory practical examination.[19]


The qualification GRSC (Graduate of the Royal Society of Chemistry) was awarded from 1981 to 1995 for completion of college courses equivalent to an honours chemistry degree and overseen by the RSC.[20] It replaced the GRIC offered by the Royal Institute of Chemistry.


The society is organised around 9 divisions, based on subject areas, and local sections, both in the United Kingdom and overseas. Divisions cover broad areas of chemistry but also contain many special interest groups for more specific areas.

  • Analytical Division for analytical chemistry and promoting the original aims of the Society for Analytical Chemistry. 12 Subject Groups.
  • Dalton Division, named after John Dalton, for inorganic chemistry. 6 Subject Groups.
  • Education Division for chemical education. 4 Subject Groups.
  • Faraday Division, named after Michael Faraday, for physical chemistry and promoting the original aims of the Faraday Society. 14 Subject Groups.
  • Organic Division for organic chemistry. 6 Subject Groups.
  • Chemical Biology Interface Division. 2 Subject Groups.
  • Environment, Sustainability and Energy Division. 3 Subject Groups.
  • Materials Chemistry Division. 4 Subject Groups.
  • Industry and Technology Division. 13 Subject Groups.

There are 12 subjects groups not attached to a division.

Local sections

There are 35 local sections covering the United Kingdom and Ireland. In countries of the Commonwealth of Nations and many other countries there are Local Representatives of the society and often some activities.


Thomas Graham House - 2014-10-09 - Andy Mabbett - 03
Thomas Graham House – from where the Society's publishing arm operates – in 2014

The society is a not-for-profit publisher: surplus made by its publishing business is invested to support its aim of advancing the chemical sciences.

In addition to scientific journals, including its flagship journals Chemical Communications, Chemical Science and Chemical Society Reviews, the society publishes:

  • Education in Chemistry for teachers.
  • A free online journal for chemistry educators, Chemistry Education Research and Practice.
  • A general chemistry magazine Chemistry World, sent monthly to all members of the Society throughout the world. The editorial board consists of 10 academic and industrial chemists. It was first published in January 2004. It replaced Chemistry in Britain, first published in 1965. Its contents include news, articles of a general chemical nature, such as the history of chemistry and technological developments, book reviews and letters from readers. Its ISSN is 1473-7604. Chemistry World is supported by the Chemistry World Podcast, which is presented by Cambridge University scientist Dr Chris Smith, who also edits The Naked Scientists.
  • Professional reference books across the chemical sciences.[21]
  • Books for students, including the Tutorial Chemistry Texts series of 23 books, edited by E. W. Abel, and the 8 books in the Molecular World series, whose coordinating editor is L. E. Smart.
  • Books on the history of chemistry, such as a history of the Faraday Society.

Subscriptions to the journals are available individually, or "all-in", under a provision called "RSC Gold".[22]

Burlington House

Burlington House
LocationPiccadilly, London W1, England

The London offices of the Society are in Burlington House, Piccadilly. Events are hosted here for the public, RSC member groups and external organisations including regular lectures on the chemical sciences. The free lectures take an interesting look at the chemical aspects of a wide range of topics from curry to the enjoyment of music.

The events have attracted notable science writers such as Philip Ball, Antony John Williams, and John Emsley to give public lectures.


The Royal Society of Chemistry has been resident at Burlington House since 1857 (at which time it was known as the Chemical Society) – at the heart of which is the RSC's Library and Information Centre which itself dates back to 1842. Over the years, the library for the RSC has received many gifts from notable fellows including Michael Faraday. The library became a centre for information on the chemical sciences during the 1st and 2nd world wars when extensive use was made on the chemical reference material available.

Library and information centre

The society has a large library covering mainly chemistry-based subjects, including online access for members, housed at the Chemistry Centre at Burlington House. It is part of the Chemistry Centre and is a resource for RSC members, although the public are also welcome.

Benevolent fund

RSC Staircase
The staircase at the Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, designed by the partnership of Robert Richardson Banks and Charles Barry, Jr.

The Chemists' Community Fund, the working name of the Royal Society of Chemistry's Benevolent Fund, supports the members and their families during difficult times, through advice and guidance, financial and volunteer support.[23] It dates back to 1920 when the Institute of Chemistry (later the Royal Institute of Chemistry) established it as a memorial to its members who died in the First World War. It had an aim "to help necessitous persons who are, or have been, Fellows or Associates of the Institute, their wives or children, and the widows and dependent relatives of deceased Fellows and Associates" through voluntary contributions from members. The Fund's ethos of "members helping members" stems from the Institute of Chemistry's Council raising money for members in need from other members prior to the fund being formed.[24]

In 1960, the benevolent fund introduced a volunteer visitor system, where members were asked to visit applicants, beneficiaries, elderly and housebound members in their area. Each local section was also appointed a fund representative.[24]

A major review of the fund to modernize it took place in 2003–2004, forming a new strategy document that is updated every three years. It underwent another review in 2014 with the aim to widen its reach to include the prevention of poverty and provide a more holistic support wider than financial assistance to Royal Society of Chemistry members and their families.[24]

The Benevolent Fund Grants Committee, formed of volunteer members of the Royal Society of Chemistry, oversees the fund and meets every three months.[24]

Prizes and awards

The RSC awards a variety of prizes and awards each year that include awards for excellence in any area of chemistry, in specialist areas or for achievement at particular stages of a chemist's career.[25]

Medals are awarded centrally by the RSC and by the divisions of the organisation. There are also awards that are administered by RSC interest groups.

The centrally awarded medals include the Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prizes which are awarded to a British chemist who is under 32 years of age for promising original investigations in chemistry[26] and the Corday-Morgan medals which consist of three separate awards made for the most meritorious contributions to experimental chemistry (including computer simulation).[27] The Tilden Prize, previously known as the Tilden Lecture, consists of three awards annually to scientists in mid-career for advances in chemistry.

Previous winners of the Harrison-Meldola Prize (known as the Meldola Medal and Prize prior to its merger in 2008 with the Edward Harrison prize) include Christopher Kelk Ingold (1921, 1922), Cyril Norman Hinshelwood (1923), R.H. Stokes (1946), D.H. Williams (1966), and J. Evans (1978).

Corday-Morgan medal recipients include Derek Barton (1949), Ronald Sydney Nyholm (1950), Frederick Sanger (1951), John Cornforth (1953), Rex Richards (1954), and George Porter (1955).

The Faraday Division annually awards the Marlow Award for contributions to physical chemistry or chemical physics by members of the Faraday Division under the age of 32.[28] Recent recipients include Andrew Orr-Ewing, (1999), Jonathan A. Jones, (2000), Helen Fielding (2001), Jonathan Essex (2002), Daren Caruana (2003), Jonathan Reid (2004), Julie Macpherson (2005), Fred Manby (2006), and Alessandro Troisi (2007).

Coat of arms

The RSC has its own coat of arms. Two forms exist: the full coat of arms has lion and unicorn bearers, and the Latin motto "Pro scientia et humanitate" (For the sake of knowledge and for the benefit of mankind). The smaller version uses just the central shield, which is similar to that in the Royal Institute of Chemistry's arms.

Coat of arms of the Royal Society of Chemistry

Coat of arms

RSC Arms


Royal Society of Chemistry - Robert Boyle Prize for Analytical Science - 2014 - Andy Mabbett - 06

Arms on the Society's Robert Boyle Prize for Analytical Science medal

Other resources

The Interactive Lab Primer is a site developed to provide tips to a variety of chemical experimentation skills.[29] The site covers basic lab safety tips, demonstrates primary lab techniques, introduces a couple common lab apparatus in lab, and provides other references.

The society's ChemSpider is a database of chemicals and chemical properties.

The society operates a blue plaque scheme, "Landmarks of Chemistry", erecting plaques at places associated with notable chemical events or people.[30] Recent plaques are hexagonal.


  1. ^ Lagowski, J. J. (1991). "A British sesquicentennial". Journal of Chemical Education. 68: 1. doi:10.1021/ed068p1.
  2. ^ "RSC History". 2 April 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  3. ^ "RSC Contacts". 16 April 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  4. ^ "Professor Dame Carol Robinson becomes President-Elect of the Royal Society of Chemistry". September 2017. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  5. ^ David Waddington. "Obituary: Sir Richard Norman". The Independent. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  6. ^ "Anglia Ruskin University's Honorary Graduate Site". 22 December 2012.
  7. ^ "Professor Charles Rees". The Independent. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  8. ^ Sir John Meurig Thomas. "OBITUARY: Professor Howard Purnell". The Independent. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  9. ^ "Ledwith speech". Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  10. ^ "Simon Campbell CBE". 14 December 2006. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  11. ^ "Dave Garner - The University of Nottingham". Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  12. ^ "Home - Professor David Phillips, CBE, FRS". Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  13. ^ "Professor Lesley Yellowlees CBE FRSC FInstP FRSE | The University of Edinburgh". 9 February 2017. Archived from the original on 11 October 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  14. ^ "Press release: Royal Society of Chemistry welcomes new president". 9 July 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  15. ^ "Presidential Plans". 9 July 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  16. ^ "RSC Website – Designatory Letters". Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  17. ^ "Press release: Lesley Yellowlees pays tribute to Lord Ballyedmond". Royal Society of Chemistry. 14 March 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  18. ^ "Statutory Instrument 1990 No. 2463 The Food Safety (Sampling and Qualifications) Regulations 1990". 3 February 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  19. ^ "RSC Web page MChemA". 16 June 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  20. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 June 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2010.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ "Series". Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  22. ^ "RSC Gold". Royal Society of Chemistry. 22 April 2016. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  23. ^ "Chemists' Community Fund - formerly the Benevolent Fund - Royal Society of Chemistry". 27 April 2016. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  24. ^ a b c d "History of the Benevolent Fund". 27 April 2016. Archived from the original on 2008.
  25. ^ "RSC prizes and awards". 2 April 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  26. ^ "Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prize". 1 September 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  27. ^ "Corday-Morgan Prizes". 1 September 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  28. ^ "Marlow Award". 1 September 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  29. ^ "The interactive lab primer- Learn Chemistry". Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  30. ^ "RSC awards a Blue Plaque to Professor Andrews FRS". Queen's University Belfast. Retrieved 1 October 2014.

External links

Coordinates: 51°30′32″N 0°08′20″W / 51.5089°N 0.1390°W

Bader Award

The Bader Award is a prize for organic chemistry awarded annually by the Royal Society of Chemistry since 1989. The winner, who receives £2000 and a medal, gives a lecture tour in the UK.

Bioinorganic Chemistry Award

The Bioinorganic Chemistry Award has been awarded by the Dalton division of the Royal Society of Chemistry every two years since 2009. The winner receives £2000 and undertakes a lecture tour in the UK.


ChemComm (or Chemical Communications), formerly known as Journal of the Chemical Society D: Chemical Communications (1969–1971), Journal of the Chemical Society, Chemical Communications (1972–1995), is a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. It covers all aspects of chemistry. In January 2012, the journal moved to publishing 100 issues per year. The current chair of the Editorial Board is Véronique Gouverneur (University of Oxford, UK), while the executive editor is Philippa Ross.


ChemSpider is a database of chemicals. ChemSpider is owned by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Chemistry World

Chemistry World is a monthly chemistry news magazine published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. The magazine addresses current events in world of chemistry including research, international business news and government policy as it affects the chemical science community, plus the best product applications. It features regular columns by Philip Ball, Derek Lowe, Andrea Sella, Raychelle Burks and Mark Peplow. The magazine is sent to all members of the Royal Society of Chemistry and is included in the cost of membership. In August 2016, the magazine began offering a "soft" paywall option, where a limited amount of content is made available free to all unregistered readers.

Chemistry World is supported by three podcasts: the Chemistry World Magazine Podcast, Chemistry in its Element and the Chemistry World Book Club podcast.

According to the Journal Citation Reports, the journal has a 2011 impact factor of 0.159, ranking it 146th out of 154 journals in the category "Chemistry, Multidisciplinary".

Faraday Lectureship Prize

The Faraday Lectureship Prize, previously known simply as the Faraday Lectureship is awarded once every three years (approximately) by the Royal Society of Chemistry for "exceptional contributions to physical or theoretical chemistry". Named after Michael Faraday, the first Faraday Lecture was given in 1869, two years after Faraday's death, by Jean-Baptiste Dumas. As of 2009, the prize was worth £5000, with the recipient also receiving a medal and a certificate. As the name suggests, the recipient also gives a public lecture describing his or her work.

Faraday Society

The Faraday Society was a British society for the study of physical chemistry, founded in 1903 and named in honour of Michael Faraday. In 1980, it merged with several similar organisations, including the Chemical Society, the Royal Institute of Chemistry, and the Society for Analytical Chemistry to form the Royal Society of Chemistry which is both a learned society and a professional body. At that time, the Faraday Division became one of six units within the Royal Society of Chemistry.The Faraday Society published Faraday Transactions from 1905 to 1971, when the Royal Society of Chemistry took over the publication.Of particular note were the conferences called Faraday Discussions, which were published under the same name. The publication includes the discussion of the paper as well as the paper itself. At the meeting, more time is given to the discussion than to the author presenting the paper as the audience are given the papers prior to the meeting. These conferences continue to be run by the Royal Society of Chemistry.In addition to its presidents, key figures at the Faraday Society included George Stanley Withers Marlow, Secretary and Editor of the society from 1926–1948,

and his successor Frederick Clifford Tompkins. Tompkins served as Editor until 1977, and as the President of the Faraday Division of the amalgamated Royal Society of Chemistry from 1978-1979.

Prior to the amalgamation, Tompkins received valuable assistance from D. A. Young, who became Editor as of 1977.

Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry

Fellowship of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) is an award conferred by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) in the United Kingdom.

Hickinbottom Award

The Hickinbottom Award (also referred to as the Hickinbottom Fellowship) is awarded annually by the Royal Society of Chemistry for contributions in the area of organic chemistry from researchers under the age of 35. The prize winner receives a monetary award and will complete a lecture tour within the UK. The winner is chosen by the awards committee of the Royal Society of Chemistry's organic division.

List of Royal Society of Chemistry journals

This is a list of scientific journals published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

List of Royal Society of Chemistry medals and awards

The Royal Society of Chemistry grants a number of medals and awards.

All those named "prize" (except the Beilby Medal and Prize) are awarded with a £5,000 bursary. The Chemistry World Entrepreneur of the Year award has one of £4,000.

As of 2014, these are:

Applied Catalysis Award

Applied Inorganic Chemistry Award

Apprentice of the Year Award

Bader Award

Geoffrey Barker Medal

Barrer Award

Sir Derek Barton Gold Medal

Beilby Medal and Prize

Ronald Belcher Award

Anne Bennett Memorial Award for Distinguished Service

Bioinorganic Chemistry Award

Bioorganic Chemistry Award

Materials for Industry - Derek Birchall Award

Joseph Black Award

Bourke Award

Robert Boyle Prize for Analytical Science

S F Boys-A Rahman Award

Catalysis in Organic Chemistry Award

Centenary Prize

Joseph Chatt Award

Chemical Dynamics Award

Chemistry of Transition Metals Award

Chemistry World Entrepreneur of the Year

Corday-Morgan Prizes

Rita and John Cornforth Award

Creativity in Industry Prize

Dalton Young Researchers Award

Peter Day Award

De Gennes Prize

Education Award

Environment Prize

Environment, Sustainability and Energy Division Early Career Award

Faraday Lectureship Prize

Faraday Medal (electrochemistry)

Frankland Award

Sir Edward Frankland Fellowship

Gibson-Fawcett award

John B. Goodenough Award

Green Chemistry Award

Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prizes

Haworth Memorial Lectureship

Norman Heatley Award

Hickinbottom Award

Higher Education Teaching Award

Homogeneous Catalysis Award

Industrial Analytical Science Award

Inorganic Mechanisms Awards

Inspiration and Industry

Interdisciplinary Prizes

John Jeyes Award

Khorana Prize

Jeremy Knowles Award

Lord Lewis Prize

Liversidge Award

Longstaff Prize

Main Group Chemistry Award

Marlow Award

Merck Award

Ludwig Mond Award

Natural Product Chemistry Award

Nyholm Prize for Education

Nyholm Prize for Inorganic Chemistry

Organic Industrial Chemistry Award

Organic Stereochemistry Award

Organometallic Chemistry Award

Pedler Award

Perkin Prize for Organic Chemistry

Physical Organic Chemistry Award

Theophilus Redwood Award

Charles Rees Award

Robert Robinson Award

Schools Education Award

Soft Matter and Biophysical Chemistry Award

George and Christine Sosnovsky Award in Cancer Therapy

Sir George Stokes Award

Supramolecular Chemistry Award

Surfaces and Interfaces Award

Sustainable Energy Award

Sustainable Water Award

Synthetic Organic Chemistry Award

Teamwork in Innovation

Technician of the Year Award (Higher Education and Research)

Technician of the Year Award (Industry)

Tilden Prizes

Toxicology Award

Young Industrialist of the Year

List of blue plaques erected by the Royal Society of Chemistry

This is a list of blue plaques erected by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Longstaff Prize

The Longstaff Prize is given to a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry who has done the most to advance the science of chemistry. First awarded in 1881, it was originally conferred by the Chemical Society and known as the Longstaff Medal.

Lord Lewis Prize

The Lord Lewis Prize is awarded by the Royal Society of Chemistry for distinctive and distinguished chemical or scientific achievements together with significant contributions to the development of science policy. The recipient receives a medal, a certificate and a prize of £5,000.The Lord Lewis Prize is awarded every two years to mark the substantial contributions that Professor Lord Lewis made to chemistry and science policy. The inaugural Lord Lewis Prize was awarded to Lord May of Oxford, former President of the Royal Society and Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Government, in 2008.

Merck Index

The Merck Index is an encyclopedia of chemicals, drugs and biologicals with over 10,000 monographs on single substances or groups of related compounds published online by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Norman Greenwood

Norman Neill Greenwood FRS CChem FRSC (19 January 1925 – 14 November 2012) was an Australian-British chemist and Emeritus Professor at the University of Leeds. He is probably best known for the innovative textbook Chemistry of the Elements, co-authored with Alan Earnshaw, first published in 1984.

Nyholm Prize for Education

The Nyholm Prize for Education commemorates the life and work of Australian-born chemist Sir Ronald Nyholm, who - alongside his research in coordination chemistry - passionately campaigned for the improvement of science education. He acted as President of the Royal Society of Chemistry from 1968 to 1970.The prize, which was first awarded in 1973, is awarded biennally by the Royal Society of Chemistry. It recognises outstanding achievements by those working in chemical science education, specifically major contributions to national or international research or innovation.Before 2008, the prize was known as the Sir Ronald Nyholm Lectureship (Education Division). The recipient receives £5,000, a medal and a certificate.

Sir George Stokes Award

The Sir George Stokes Award (colloquially the Stokes Medal) is named after George Gabriel Stokes and is awarded biennially by the Analytical Division of the Royal Society of Chemistry. It was established in 1999 to recognize the multidisciplinary nature of analytical chemistry and is given:

For outstanding and sustained contributions to analytical science by someone working in a complementary field, which has led to developments of seminal importance to chemical analysis.

There is no restriction on the nationality of those who can be considered for the award.

Royal Society of Chemistry
(peer reviewed)
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