Tom McLeish

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Tom McLeish
Thomas Charles Buckland McLeish

(1962-05-01) 1 May 1962 (age 59)
Alma mater
Scientific career
ThesisMolecular models of polymeric flows (1987)

Thomas Charles Buckland McLeish, FRS, FRSC (born 1962) is a theoretical physicist whose work is renowned for increasing our understanding of the properties of soft matter. This is matter that can be easily changed by stress – including liquids, foams and biological materials. He was Professor in the Durham University Department of Physics and Director of the Durham Centre for Soft Matter, a multidisciplinary team that works across physics, chemistry, mathematics and engineering.[2] He is now the first Chair of Natural Philosophy at the University of York.

Early life and education[edit]

McLeish was born on 1 May 1962.[1] He was educated at Sevenoaks School in Kent and Emmanuel College, Cambridge[1] where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1984 (MA, 1987) and a PhD in 1987 for research on fluid dynamics.[3]

Academic career[edit]

McLeish began his academic career as a lecturer in physics at the University of Sheffield (1989 to 1993).[4] He then moved to the University of Leeds, where he was Professor of Polymer Physics between 1993 and 2008.[4]

He was Professor of Physics at the University of Durham (2008-2018).[4] He was additionally Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research between 2008 and 2014.[5]

In February 2018, he moved to the University of York to take up the newly created Chair in Natural Philosophy.[6]


Although McLeish's work is mostly theoretical, he also works closely with those performing experiments and in industry.[7][8] He has made significant advances in modelling the structure and properties of complex entangled molecules,[9] blends of substances that don't usually mix (multiphasic liquids like oil and water) see reptation and crazing. This allows us to more easily predict complex fluid behaviour and processing in an industrial setting.[2] Since 2000 he has increasingly worked on biological physics: applying soft matter physics to self-assembly of protein fibrils, protein fluctuation dynamics and its role in allosteric signalling, and statistical mechanics approaches to evolution. As of 2015 he has published around 200 papers in peer reviewed scientific journals.[10][11]

Personal life[edit]

In 1984, McLeish married Julie Elizabeth King.[4] Together they have four children: two sons and two daughters.[4]

McLeish's other interests include historical studies of medieval science, and he is a member of the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies at Durham.[2] Since 1993 he has been a lay preacher in the Anglican Church, delivering sermons at St Michael le Belfrey, York.[12] In 2014 he published a book on the relationship between religion and science called Faith and Wisdom in Science.[13]


McLeish was made a Fellow of the Institute of Physics (FInstP) in 2003,[1][14][11] and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) in 2008.[4][6] In 2011, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), the United Kingdom's national academy of the sciences.[2] In 2007 McLeish was awarded the Weissenberg medal by the European Society of Rheology. This is awarded to Rheologists conducting research in Europe for outstanding, long-term achievements. McLeish also received the Society of Rheology Bingham Medal in 2010. In 2017, McLeish received the Sam Edwards Medal and Prize for "his sustained and outstanding contributions to the fields of molecular rheology, macromolecular biophysics and self-assembly".[15]

In 2018, McLeish was awarded the Lanfranc Award for Education and Scholarship by the Archbishop of Canterbury "for his record as one of the most outstanding scientists of his generation, and the leading contemporary lay Anglican voice in the dialogue of science and faith".[16]

Selected publications[edit]

  • The Poetry and Music of Science: Comparing Creativity in Science and Art (2019) OXFORD University Press, ISBN 9780198797999[17]
  • Soft Matter – An Emergent Interdisciplinary Science of Emergent Entities, Chapter 20 in The Routledge Handbook of Emergence,(eds.) (2019) LONDON: Routledge, ISBN 9781315675213
  • The Science and Religion Delusion: Towards a Theology of Science', in Knowing Creation - Perspectives from Philosophy, Theology and Science Eds.'(2018) Zondervan Academic, ISBN 9780310536130


  1. ^ a b c d "McLEISH, Prof. Thomas Charles Buckland". Who's Who. 2015 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. (subscription or UK public library membership required) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c d "Professor Thomas McLeish FRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 6 September 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.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)

  3. ^ McLeish, Thomas Charles Buckland (1987). Molecular models of polymeric flows (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. OCLC 556660733.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Mcleish, Prof. Thomas Charles Buckland, (born 1 May 1962), Professor of Physics, Durham University, since 2008 (Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, 2008–14)". Mcleish, Prof. Thomas Charles Buckland. Who's Who 2018. Oxford University Press. 1 December 2017. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.255603.
  5. ^ "Prof T C B McLeish". Department of Physics. Durham University. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  6. ^ a b "University appoints Professor Tom McLeish to a Chair in Natural Philosophy". The University of York. 16 November 2017. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  7. ^ Aggeli, A.; Bell, M.; Boden, N.; Keen, J. N.; Knowles, P. F.; McLeish, T. C. B.; Pitkeathly, M.; Radford, S. E. (1997). "Responsive gels formed by the spontaneous self-assembly of peptides into polymeric β-sheet tapes". Nature. 386 (6622): 259–62. Bibcode:1997Natur.386..259A. doi:10.1038/386259a0. PMID 9069283. S2CID 4343341.
  8. ^ Townsend, Philip D.; Rodgers, Thomas L.; Glover, Laura C.; Korhonen, Heidi J.; Richards, Shane A.; Colwell, Lucy J.; Pohl, Ehmke; Wilson, Mark R.; Hodgson, David R. W.; McLeish, Tom C. B.; Cann, Martin J. (2015). "The Role of Protein-Ligand Contacts in Allosteric Regulation of the Escherichia coli Catabolite Activator Protein". Journal of Biological Chemistry. 290 (36): 22225–22235. doi:10.1074/jbc.M115.669267. ISSN 0021-9258. PMC 4571973. PMID 26187469.
  9. ^ McLeish, T. C. B. (2002). "Tube theory of entangled polymer dynamics". Advances in Physics. 51 (6): 1379–1527. Bibcode:2002AdPhy..51.1379M. CiteSeerX doi:10.1080/00018730210153216. S2CID 122657744.
  10. ^ Tom McLeish's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  11. ^ a b Tom McLeish's ORCID 0000-0002-2025-0299
  12. ^ "Tom McLeish". Archived from the original on 29 March 2015.
  13. ^ McLeish, Tom (2014). Faith and Wisdom in Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0198702610.
  14. ^ "Professor Tom McLeish, FInstP, FRS". Durham University. Archived from the original on 24 March 2015.
  15. ^ "2017 Sam Edwards Medal and Prize". Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  16. ^ "Archbishop of Canterbury presents 2018 Lambeth Awards". The Archbishop of Canterbury. 6 April 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  17. ^ McLeish, Tom (5 February 2019). The Poetry and Music of Science: Comparing Creativity in Science and Art. OXFORD University Press. ISBN 9780198797999.

External links[edit]