Vernon C. Gibson
Vernon Charles Gibson FRS (born 15 November 1958) is an English chemist, and Visiting Professor at Imperial College London. He took up the appointment of Chief Scientific Adviser at the Ministry of Defence on 2 July 2012.
He was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, the son of Dennis and Pamela Gibson. He attended the King’s School in Grantham, then studied Chemistry at Sheffield where he graduated in 1980. After gaining a D.Phil. in Malcolm Green's group at Oxford, he went to the California Institute of Technology on a NATO postdoctoral fellowship where he further developed his interest in organometallic chemistry and catalysis with John Bercaw.
In 1986 he returned to the UK to a lectureship in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Durham, where he was appointed to a chair in 1993. At Durham he developed his interest in the use of organometallic and coordination compounds for the synthesis of polymers. In 1995, he moved to Imperial College London, where in collaboration with BP Chemicals, he established a Discovery Programme to research novel catalysts for the polymerisation of alkenes. He became the first holder of the Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson Chair in 1998, and became the Sir Edward Frankland BP Professor of Inorganic Chemistry and Head of Catalysis & Advanced Materials in 2001. In 2008, he became chief chemist at British Petroleum.
Among his various catalyst discoveries in this period were the first highly active ethene polymerization systems based on iron, and new catalysts for the production of biodegradable materials. He was elected to the Royal Society in 2004. His curiosity has led him to explore across the periodic table and to seek an understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of catalysis which influence the properties of materials produced.
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