David Phillips (chemist)

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from the BBC programme Desert Island Discs, 1 May 2011.[1]

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David Phillips CBE FRSC (born 1939) is a British Chemist specializing in photochemistry and lasers, and was President of the Royal Society of Chemistry from 2010 to 2012.[2]

Phillips was born 3 December 1939 in Kendall, lived in South Shields and attended the Grammar School.[2][3] He studied at the University of Birmingham attaining a BSc and PhD, with postdoctoral work at the University of Texas at Austin and the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.[2][4]

He began as a Lecturer in chemistry at the University of Southampton, rising to the status of Reader then becoming Wolfson Professor of Natural Philosophy, at the Royal Institution. In 1989 he moved to Imperial College, London as Professor of Physical Chemistry and held a number of senior posts there.[2]

In 1987 he gave the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures on television. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1999[2][3] and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to chemistry.[5] In May 2011 he was the guest on Desert Island Discs[4] and in June 2012 was Michael Berkeley's guest on Private Passions.[citation needed]

Views on nuclear power[edit]

Ahead of the 50th anniversary of the 1962 James Bond film Dr No, Phillips stated that the character of Dr No, with his personal nuclear reactor, helped to create a "remorselessly grim" reputation for atomic energy.[6] and that the popularity of the movie created an enduringly negative image of nuclear power - as something dangerous that could be wielded by megalomaniacs with aspirations to world domination. Phillips claims that when nuclear power is discussed "it is not at all surprising that the public at home and abroad are sceptical" and concludes that "The Royal Society of Chemistry asserts that nuclear power has to be part of the future national energy mix, in which it plays a major role. Fossil fuels have to be eradicated for people to live in a healthy environment. Let's say yes to nuclear and no to Dr No's nonsense."