Ruth Lynden-Bell

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Ruth Marion Lynden-Bell
Born (1937-12-07) 7 December 1937 (age 84)[1]
Alma materNewnham College, Cambridge
Spouse(s)Donald Lynden-Bell
AwardsFellow of the Royal Society (2006)[2]
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Cambridge
Queen's University, Belfast
University of Sussex
ThesisStudies in magnetic resonance (1963)
Doctoral studentsMark Gerstein

Ruth Marion Lynden-Bell, FRS[2] (born 7 December 1937) is a British chemist, emeritus professor of Queen's University Belfast and the University of Cambridge, and acting President of Murray Edwards College, Cambridge from 2011 to 2013.[1]


Ruth Lynden-Bell began her education at King Edward VI High School for Girls, Birmingham. She subsequently studied at Newnham College, Cambridge (BA 1959, PhD 1962) and studied under Norman Sheppard. She briefly studied under the direction of Harden M. McConnell at California Institute of Technology in 1961.[3] Then she became a lecturer in chemistry at the University of Sussex in 1965, and returned to Cambridge in 1972.[4]

In 1995, she moved to Queen's University Belfast as a co-founder of the interdisciplinary Atomistic Simulation Group (now the Atomistic Simulation Centre). She was elected to the Royal Society in 2006[5] and was awarded a Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship in 2003.[6]


Lynden-Bell researches[7][8][9][10][11] atomistic simulation to investigate the properties of liquids. She is an Emerita Fellow of New Hall, Cambridge (now Murray Edwards College, Cambridge), and was an Associate of Newnham College, Cambridge. She was acting President of Murray Edwards College from January to December 2012. She has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Chemical Physics, Chemical Physics Letters and Science and was an editor of Molecular Physics from 1998 to 2003, as well as having been a member of Boards of Electors to Professorial positions in Sweden, the Republic of Ireland, and Oxford and Cambridge Universities. She was a Professor in the School of Mathematics and Physics at Queen's and still collaborates on research.[12]

Personal life[edit]

She was the daughter of David and Priscilla Truscott. Priscilla was the sister of Francis Skinner. Lynden-Bell married the astronomer Donald Lynden-Bell in 1961, then a researcher at Caltech; she joined him in California, then moved with him to Cambridge in 1962, to Sussex in 1964, and back to Cambridge in 1972. They had one son and one daughter.[1]

Ruth Lynden-Bell had her first child while at University of Sussex lecturing in a half-time position. She found that being an experimental spectroscopic chemist was highly conducive to her expectations as a mother. Her advice to women in the field is: 1.)" don’t be afraid to ask for things such as part time work. Apart from the Belfast job, every job I got was by asking for it", and 2.) "when opportunities arise take them, it’s worth trying. I never imagined going to Belfast".[3]

Bell's professional and personal life is featured in the Royal Society of Chemistry's book Parent Carer Scientist.[3]


She received an honorary doctorate from Queen's University Belfast in 2009[13] and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2006.[2]


  1. ^ a b c "'LYNDEN-BELL, Ruth Marion', Who's Who 2013, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2013; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2012".(subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c "Fellows of the Royal Society | Royal Society". Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  3. ^ a b c "Women in Chemistry, Ruth Lynden-Bell | Department of Chemistry". Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  4. ^ Lynden-Bell, Ruth M. (20 April 2021). "My Life in Changing Times: New Ideas and New Techniques". Annual Review of Physical Chemistry. 72 (1): 35–50. doi:10.1146/annurev-physchem-090319-054423. ISSN 0066-426X. Retrieved 26 January 2022.
  5. ^ (19 May 2006). Royal Society Elections, University of Cambridge, Department of Chemistry, Theoretical Chemistry News Page. Retrieved 2 December 2010
  6. ^ Awards to Individuals 2003, Leverhulme Trust. Retrieved 2 December 2010
  7. ^ "Google Scholar".
  8. ^ Ruth Lynden-Bell publications indexed by Microsoft Academic
  9. ^ Del Pópolo, M. G.; Lynden-Bell, R. M.; Kohanoff, J. (2005). "Ab Initio Molecular Dynamics Simulation of a Room Temperature Ionic Liquid". The Journal of Physical Chemistry B. 109 (12): 5895–5902. doi:10.1021/jp044414g. PMID 16851642.
  10. ^ Lynden-Bell, R. M.; Del Pópolo, M. G.; Youngs, T. G. A.; Kohanoff, J.; Hanke, C. G.; Harper, J. B.; Pinilla, C. C. (2007). "Simulations of Ionic Liquids, Solutions, and Surfaces" (PDF). Accounts of Chemical Research. 40 (11): 1138–1145. doi:10.1021/ar700065s. PMID 17914887.
  11. ^ Pinilla, C.; Del Pópolo, M. G.; Lynden-Bell, R. M.; Kohanoff, J. (2005). "Structure and Dynamics of a Confined Ionic Liquid. Topics of Relevance to Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells". The Journal of Physical Chemistry B. 109 (38): 17922–17927. doi:10.1021/jp052999o. PMID 16853300.
  12. ^ Honorary Degree information from Queen's University Belfast
  13. ^ Torney, Kathryn (6 July 2009). Queen's University of Belfast Graduations, The Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 2 December 2010 ("Queen's University professor Emerita Ruth Lynden-Bell will be awarded Doctorates of Science for distinction in chemistry at a ceremony tonight.")
Academic offices
Preceded by President of New Hall, Cambridge
Succeeded by