Lesley Yellowlees

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Lesley Yellowlees
Professor Lesley Yellowlees portrait.jpg
Professor Lesley Yellowlees in 2014
Born Lesley Jane Yellowlees
1953 (age 63–64)
London, UK
Spouse(s) Peter W. Yellowlees [1]
Children Sarah, Mark [1]
Website www.chem.ed.ac.uk/staff/academic-staff/professor-lesley-yellowlees
Scientific career
Alma mater University of Edinburgh
Thesis Spectro-electrochemical studies on luminescent complexes (1983)
Notable awards

Lesley Jane Yellowlees, CBE, FRSE, HonFRSC (born 1953) is a British inorganic chemist and was the first female president of the Royal Society of Chemistry 2012–14.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10]

Early life and education[edit]

Yellowlees was born in 1953 in London, moving to Edinburgh at the age of 9 and attending St Hilary's Girls' School. Her father worked for Rank Hovis McDougall, and she has two sisters.[11] She completed her higher education at the University of Edinburgh, gaining a BSc in Chemical Physics in 1975, and PhD in Inorganic Electrochemistry in 1983.[12][13] She was the only woman graduate in her undergraduate class.[11]


A portrait of Prof Yellowlees, by Peter Edwards, hangs on the staircase of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Her first job was as an administrator in the National Health Service, but after moving to Brisbane, Australia, with her husband, she went into electrochemistry research,[14] and subsequently worked in the University of Queensland, and in University of Glasgow,[9] returning to the University of Edinburgh to do a PhD on solar cell chemistry, becoming a demonstrator in 1986 and a lecturer in 1989[13] and becoming Professor of Inorganic Electrochemistry in 2005. She was the first female head of chemistry in the university.[14] She is also Vice-Principal of the University (again the first female one[14]) and Head of the College of Science and Engineering. She is married to Peter W. Yellowlees, a Chartered Accountant,[15] and they have two children.[1][2][15]

Honours and awards[edit]

Yellowlees was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2005 and an Honorary Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry in 2015. She became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2012.[1] and is also a Fellow of the Institute of Physics.[16]

To mark the International Year of Chemistry, IUPAC selected 25 women including Yellowlees for the Distinguished Women Chemistry/Chemical Engineering Award.[17]

She took over the presidency of the Royal Society of Chemistry on 4 July 2012 for a two-year term[2] (she was succeeded by Professor Dominic Tildesley).

The National Portrait Gallery has two portraits of her.[18][19] There is also a painting of her by Peter Edwards in Burlington House, the headquarters of the Royal Society of Chemistry.[20]

Yellowlees was appointed MBE in 2005 for services to science and CBE in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to chemistry.[21][22]

Yellowlees holds Honorary Doctorates from Heriot-Watt University (awarded in 2012),[23] and Edinburgh Napier University (awarded in 2016).[24]

Yellowlees was named the University of Edinburgh Alumnus of the Year 2013 in honour of her research, leadership and her work as an advocate for women in STEM subjects.[25]


  1. ^ a b c d Professor Yellowlees Archived 3 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ a b c RSC News, August 2012, pp 12–13 "Lesley Yellowlees"
  3. ^ Geary, E. A. M.; Yellowlees, L. J.; Jack, L. A.; Oswald, I. D. H.; Parsons, S.; Hirata, N.; Durrant, J. R.; Robertson, N. (2005). "Synthesis, Structure, and Properties of [Pt(II)(diimine)(dithiolate)] Dyes with 3,3'-, 4,4'-, and 5,5'-Disubstituted Bipyridyl: Applications in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells". Inorganic Chemistry. 44 (2): 242–50. PMID 15651869. doi:10.1021/ic048799t. 
  4. ^ Noble, M. A.; Munro, A. W.; Rivers, S. L.; Robledo, L.; Daff, S. N.; Yellowlees, L. J.; Shimizu, T.; Sagami, I.; Guillemette, J. G.; Chapman, S. K. (1999). "Potentiometric Analysis of the Flavin Cofactors of Neuronal Nitric Oxide Synthase†". Biochemistry. 38 (50): 16413–8. PMID 10600101. doi:10.1021/bi992150w. 
  5. ^ Colbert, M. C. B.; Lewis, J.; Long, N. J.; Raithby, P. R.; Younus, M.; White, A. J. P.; Williams, D. J.; Payne, N. N.; Yellowlees, L.; Beljonne, D.; Chawdhury, N.; Friend, R. H. (1998). "Synthesis and Characterization of Dinuclear Metal σ-Acetylides and Mononuclear Metal σ-Allenylidenes". Organometallics. 17 (14): 3034. doi:10.1021/om970130p. 
  6. ^ Lesley Yellowlees's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database, a service provided by Elsevier. (subscription required)
  7. ^ Bailey, P. J.; Bone, S. F.; Mitchell, L. A.; Parsons, S.; Taylor, K. J.; Yellowlees, L. J. (1997). "A New Bridging Ligand for the [Mo2]4+Dimer: Syntheses and X-ray Crystal Structures of the Redox Pair [Mo2{μ-η2-(NPh)2CNHPh}4]0/+". Inorganic Chemistry. 36 (5): 867. doi:10.1021/ic960712j. 
  8. ^ Marcaccio, M.; Paolucci, F.; Paradisi, C.; Roffia, S.; Fontanesi, C.; Yellowlees, L. J.; Serroni, S.; Campagna, S.; Denti, G.; Balzani, V. (1999). "Electrochemistry of Multicomponent Systems. Redox Series Comprising up to 26 Reversible Reduction Processes in Polynuclear Ruthenium(II) Bipyridine-Type Complexes". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 121 (43): 10081. doi:10.1021/ja9916456. 
  9. ^ a b Finn, C.; Schnittger, S.; Yellowlees, L. J.; Love, J. B. (2012). "Molecular approaches to the electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide". Chemical Communications. 48 (10): 1392–9. PMID 22116300. doi:10.1039/C1CC15393E. 
  10. ^ Prof Lesley Yellowlees – International Women's Day lecture on YouTube
  11. ^ a b The Herald 2 July 2012 Rebecca McQuilllan "You've got to have support because work is not always going to go well
  12. ^ Yellowlees, Lesley (1983). Spectro-electrochemical studies on luminescent complexes (PhD thesis). University of Edinburgh. (subscription required)
  13. ^ a b Edit (University of Edinburgh alumni magazine) June 2011 p 24 "Master and Apprentice"
  14. ^ a b c MRC Clinical Sciences Centre Suffrage Science 2013 9–13 Lesley Yellowlees and Molly Stevens review successes in science while raising families
  15. ^ a b Board of Governors, Merchiston School P. W. Yellowlees
  16. ^ www.ed.ac.uk University of Edinburgh "Professor Lesley Yellowlees MBE FRSC FRSE FInstP"
  17. ^ www.chemistryviews.org Distinguished Women Chemistry/Chemical Engineering Award
  18. ^ Portraits of Lesley Yellowlees at the National Portrait Gallery, London
  19. ^ L. J. Jordanova (2000) Defining Features: Scientific and Medical Portraits, 1660–2000 (Reaktion Books) ISBN 1861890591
  20. ^ mag.digitalpc.co.uk Lesley Yellowlees
  21. ^ "No. 60728". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2013. p. 9. 
  22. ^ "New Year Honours 2014". The Telegraph newspaper. 
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^ [2]
  25. ^ "Pioneering scientist named Alumnus of the Year". www.ed.ac.uk. The University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 

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