Peter Day (chemist)

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Peter Day
Born (1938-08-20) 20 August 1938 (age 80)[1]
Kent, England
Alma materUniversity of Oxford (BA, DPhil)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity College London
ThesisLight induced charge transfer in solids (1965)
Doctoral advisorRJP Williams[3]
Doctoral studentsMatthew Rosseinsky[4]

Peter Day (born 20 August 1938 in Kent, England) is a British inorganic chemist and Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at University College London (UCL).


Day was educated at Maidstone Grammar School[1] and Wadham College, Oxford where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1961 and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1965[1] for research supervised by Robert Williams.[3]

Career and research[edit]

Day is a pioneer of materials chemistry, seeking unusual physical properties in inorganic and metal–organic compounds and models to explain them. He played a major role in the development of mixed-valence chemistry, and has carried out important and elegant experimental and theoretical work on the spectra, magnetic properties and conductivity of solid, inorganic complexes.[2]

As a young researcher, he gave the first theoretically consistent description of the visible–ultraviolet spectra of vitamin B12 and its derivatives. Later, he put the assignment of inorganic charge-transfer spectra on a more rigorous basis; he correlated structures and physical properties of metal chain compounds and identified the first optically transparent ferromagnetic compounds by combined optical and neutron scattering methods. He also measured and systematised the optical properties of metamagnets.[2]

Peter Day's graduate work initiated the study of mixed-valence compounds and led to the Robin-Day Classification of such species.[5]

In 2012, he published a memoir about his life in science.[6]

Awards and honours[edit]

Peter has received awards from both the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry; the latter named one of its awards in materials chemistry after him.[7] He has served many national and international agencies and institutions, both professional and governmental, and holds numerous honorary degrees and fellowships.[2]

Day was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1986, and held the post of Director of the Royal Institution from 1991 to 1998. Day was also director of the Royal Institution's Davy-Faraday Research Laboratory and the Fullerian Professor of Chemistry.[8]

Day was made an honorary fellow of Wadham College, Oxford in 2003[1] and is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics.[1][when?]


  1. ^ a b c d e DAY, Prof. Peter. Who's Who. 2016 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. closed access publication – behind paywall (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c d "Professor Peter Day FRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the website where:

    "All text published under the heading 'Biography' on Fellow profile pages is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License." --"Royal Society Terms, conditions and policies". Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2016.

  3. ^ a b Day, Peter (1965). Light induced charge transfer in solids (DPhil thesis). University of Oxford. OCLC 944386301.
  4. ^ Rosseinsky, Matthew Jonathan. (1990). Physical properties of superconducting oxides and radical cation salts (DPhil thesis). University of Oxford. OCLC 556532427.
  5. ^ Robin, Melvin B. and Day, Peter., "Mixed Valence Chemistry", Advances in Inorganic Chemistry and Radiochemistry, 1967, volume 10, pages 247–422.
  6. ^ Day, Peter., "On the Cucumber Tree", The Grimsay Press.
  7. ^ "RSC Peter Day Award". Royal Society of Chemistry. Archived from the original on 20 March 2016.
  8. ^ Fullerian Professorships, John 'Mad Jack' Fuller.
Cultural offices
Preceded by
John Meurig Thomas
Director of the Royal Institution
Succeeded by
Susan Greenfield