Tom Welton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Tom Welton

A headshot of Tom Welton
Thomas Welton

1964 (age 55–56)
Alma materUniversity of Sussex (BSc, PhD)
Scientific career
FieldsSustainable chemistry
ionic liquids
InstitutionsImperial College London
ThesisThe chemistry and spectroscopy of ionic liquids (1990)
Doctoral advisorKenneth Seddon

Thomas (Tom) Welton OBE FRSC CChem FCGI(born January 1964) is a Professor of Sustainable Chemistry at Imperial College London[1] and Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences.[2] He served as Head of the Department of Chemistry from 2007 to 2014.[3] He is a Fellow and a member of the Council of the Royal Society of Chemistry.[4] Welton's research focuses on sustainable chemistry, with particular focus on ionic liquids and on solvent effects on chemical reactions.[1] Welton is openly gay and is active in advocating for greater visibility for members of the LGBT community in the sciences.[5] He is a member of the UKRI Equality, Diversity and Inclusion External Advisory Group.[6]


Welton has said that his interest in chemistry originated with his A-level chemistry class.[7] As a child he wanted to fly for the Royal Air Force.[8] He received his BSc (Hons) in chemistry in 1985 from the University of Sussex, and his PhD from the same institution in 1990 under the supervision of Kenneth Seddon.[9] He was inspired by the Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto.[10] He has cited the institution's positive environment for the LGBT community at the time as a positive influence.[7]

Career and research[edit]

Welton began his career at Imperial College London as a Lloyd's of London Tercentenary Fellow in 1993. He became a lecturer in 1995 and was promoted to full professor in 2004.[2] During his tenure he has served as the chemistry department's Director of Undergraduate Studies[2] and served as the Head of the Department of Chemistry from 2007 to 2014.[3][9] In January 2015 he became the Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences.[2]

Welton is a trustee of the Lloyd's Tercentenary Research Foundation. Since 2013 he has been a member of the Council of the Royal Society of Chemistry[4] and additionally serves on the steering committee for the RSC's diversity programme.[2] Between 2015 and 2018 Welton served as Chair of the Memberships and Qualifications Board.[11] He was appointed Chair of the Professional Standards Board in 2018.[11]


Welton works in the field of sustainable chemistry, and has spent most of his career studying the properties of ionic liquids, their interactions with solutes, and the resulting effects on chemical reactions.[12] He was the world's first Professor of Sustainable Chemistry.[13] His research group also works on applications for these phenomena in developing environmentally safe organic synthesis methods and in the production of biofuels.[1] Ionic liquids became commercially available in 1999, meaning that you 'no longer had to be an expert in the synthesis of ionic liquids to be able to use these in your research'.[14] His 1999 review, Room-Temperature Ionic Liquids. Solvents for Synthesis and Catalysis, has been cited over 13,000 times.[15][16] He is best known for quantifying the effects of ionic liquids on reactions, providing a mechanistic understanding of ionic liquids and establishing how they can be used in organic synthesis.[17][18][19][20] He was also instrumental in linking the fundamental physical properties of ionic liquids to their chemical behaviours.[21]

Along with Peter Wasserscheid, Welton co-edited a book, Ionic Liquids in Synthesis, first released in 2002 with a second edition in 2008.[9] The first edition was reviewed positively as a significant introduction to the then-newly-developing field[22] and the second expanded edition was described as excellent and comprehensive.[23] He also joined Christian Reichardt as an author of the fourth edition of the reference work Solvents and Solvent Effects in Organic Chemistry,[24] reviewed as an important reference for organic chemists.[25]

Welton's work on ionic liquids led to the invention of a method to process wood by separating its chemical component lignin from hemicellulose and cellulose, which is potentially applicable to the efficient production of biofuels.[26] Welton also comments in the media on matters related to the health of the environment, such as the 2012 shortage of helium gas commonly used in research laboratories.[27]

Diversity and inclusion[edit]

Welton is an advocate for diversity in academic science.[7] In 2013, under Welton's leadership, the Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London was one of four university departments in the United Kingdom to be awarded an Athena SWAN Gold Award in recognition of efforts to promote women in science.[28][29] He supports academic institutions around the world in their efforts to improve diversity and equality. In January 2017 Welton toured Australia to share good practise in supporting academic women.[30]

In 2014, together with Alison Rodger, Welton established the Irène Joliot-Curie conference that looked to developed the careers for women and underrepresented groups in science.[31] The conference included talks from leading women in chemistry, and is now run annually by the Royal Society of Chemistry.[31][32] Welton was appointed to the UKRI Equality, Diversity and Inclusion External Advisory Group.[6] He has written in the popular media advocating for greater visibility in the sciences for the LGBT community.[5] Additionally, Welton is a L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science male laureate of change, "The time for men to realise that gender parity benefits everyone is long overdue".[33]

Awards and honours[edit]

His awards and honours include;

2017 Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)[34]

2017 Fellow of the City and Guilds Institute[35]

2016 Royal Society of Chemistry King's College London Daniel Lecturer[36]

2015 Royal Society of Chemistry 175 Faces of Chemistry[8]

2012 RSC/UCL Thomas Graham Lecturer[37]

2012 Imperial College Rector's Award for Excellence in Teaching[38]

2011 DFG Paul Walden Lecturer

2010 Honorary Member of the Chemical Society of Ethiopia[37]

2007 RSC Sir Christopher Ingold Lecturer[39]

2007 Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry[1][40]

2001 American Chemical Society New Voice in Chemistry[41]

1993 Lloyd's of London Tercentenary Fellowship[40]


  1. ^ a b c d "Professor Tom Welton". Imperial College Longon. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e Siddiq, Amna (19 September 2014). "Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences". Imperial College London. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  3. ^ a b Kent, Philip (21 March 2014). "New Head of Chemistry Department Appointed". Felix Online. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Our structure". Royal Society of Chemistry. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  5. ^ a b Welton, Tom (14 February 2014). "Gay prejudice? It's not easy admitting you're … a scientist, The Guardian". The Guardian.
  6. ^ a b "External Advisory Group to help shape UKRI's equality, diversity and inclusion agenda - UK Research and Innovation". Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  7. ^ a b c Lovell, Jenny. "Professor Tom Welton CChem FRSC". 175 Faces of Chemistry: Celebrating Diversity in Science. Royal Society of Chemistry. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Professor Tom Welton CChem FRSC | 175 Faces of Chemistry". Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  9. ^ a b c Wasserscheid, Peter; Welton, Thomas, eds. (2007). Ionic Liquids in Synthesis (2nd ed.). Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. ISBN 978-3-527-62120-0.
  10. ^ "Professor Tom Welton plots a course for Natural Sciences at Imperial". Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  11. ^ a b Chemistry, Royal Society of (30 July 2018). "Professional Standards Board". Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  12. ^ Welton, T (11 August 1999). "Room-Temperature Ionic Liquids. Solvents for Synthesis and Catalysis". Chemical Reviews. 99 (8): 2071–2084. doi:10.1021/cr980032t. PMID 11849019.
  13. ^ Welton, Tom; Hunt, Patricia A.; Villar-Garcia, Ignacio J.; Hallett, Jason P.; Niedermeyer, Heiko (5 November 2012). "Mixtures of ionic liquids". Chemical Society Reviews. 41 (23): 7780–7802. doi:10.1039/C2CS35177C. ISSN 1460-4744. PMID 22890419.
  14. ^ Welton, Tom (26 April 2018). "Ionic liquids: a brief history". Biophysical Reviews. 10 (3): 691–706. doi:10.1007/s12551-018-0419-2. ISSN 1867-2450. PMC 5988633. PMID 29700779.
  15. ^ Welton, Thomas (7 August 1999). "Room-Temperature Ionic Liquids. Solvents for Synthesis and Catalysis". Chemical Reviews. 99 (8): 2071–2084. doi:10.1021/cr980032t. ISSN 0009-2665. PMID 11849019.
  16. ^ Hallett, Jason P.; Welton, Tom (11 August 2011). "ChemInform Abstract: Room-Temperature Ionic Liquids: Solvents for Synthesis and Catalysis. Part 2". ChemInform. 42 (36): no. doi:10.1002/chin.201136231. ISSN 0931-7597.
  17. ^ Sethi, Alick R.; Welton, Tom (25 July 2002), "Dynamic Supramolecular Chemistry: The Role of Hydrogen Bonding in Controlling the Selectivity of Diels-Alder Reactions in Room-Temperature Ionic Liquids", ACS Symposium Series, American Chemical Society, pp. 241–246, doi:10.1021/bk-2002-0818.ch019, ISBN 0841237891
  18. ^ Welton, Tom (December 2004). "Ionic liquids in catalysis". Coordination Chemistry Reviews. 248 (21–24): 2459–2477. doi:10.1016/j.ccr.2004.04.015. hdl:10044/1/9944.
  19. ^ Welton, Tom; A. Hunt, Patricia; J. Villar-Garcia, Ignacio; P. Hallett, Jason; Niedermeyer, Heiko (2012). "Mixtures of ionic liquids". Chemical Society Reviews. 41 (23): 7780–7802. doi:10.1039/C2CS35177C. PMID 22890419.
  20. ^ Eastoe, Julian; Gold, Sarah; Rogers, Sarah E.; Paul, Alison; Welton, Tom; Heenan, Richard K.; Grillo, Isabelle (25 May 2005). "Ionic Liquid-in-Oil Microemulsions". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 127 (20): 7302–7303. doi:10.1021/ja051155f. ISSN 0002-7863. PMID 15898765.
  21. ^ Welton, Tom; Weber, Cameron C.; Villar-Garcia, Ignacio J.; Simonutti, Roberto; Mele, Andrea; Mauri, Michele; Matthews, Richard P.; Hunt, Patricia A.; Hill, Anita J. (21 August 2017). "Linking the structures, free volumes, and properties of ionic liquid mixtures". Chemical Science. 8 (9): 6359–6374. doi:10.1039/C7SC01407D. ISSN 2041-6539. PMC 5859882. PMID 29619199.
  22. ^ Maase, Matthias (16 May 2003). "Book Review: Ionic Liquids in Synthesis Edited by Peter Wasserscheid and Tom Welton". Angewandte Chemie International Edition. 42 (19): 2111–2112. doi:10.1002/anie.200390454.
  23. ^ Mack, James (October 2008). "Book Review of Ionic Liquids in Synthesis: Second, Completely Revised and Enlarged Edition, Volumes 1 and 2 Ionic Liquids in Synthesis: Second, Completely Revised and Enlarged Edition, Volumes 1 and 2 . Edited by Peter Wasserscheid (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität, Erlangen, Germany) and Tom Welton (Imperial College of Science, London, U.K.). Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA : Weinheim . 2008 . xxvi + 722 pp. $360.00. ISBN 978-3-527-31239-9". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 130 (39): 13183–13184. doi:10.1021/ja805338y.
  24. ^ Reichardt, Christian; Welton, Thomas (2011). Solvents and solvent effects in organic chemistry (4th, updated and enl. ed.). Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH. ISBN 978-3-527-32473-6.
  25. ^ Balaban, Alexandru T. (25 May 2011). "Book Review of Solvents and Solvent Effects in Organic Chemistry, 4th ed. Solvents and Solvent Effects in Organic Chemistry, 4th ed. By Christian Reichardt (Philipps-Universität, Marburg, Germany) and Thomas Welton (Imperial College London, U.K.). Wiley-VCH Verlag & Co. KGaA: Weinheim. 2011. xxvi + 692 pp. $230. ISBN 978-3-527-32473-6". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 133 (20): 8058. doi:10.1021/ja203600j.
  26. ^ "Professor Tom Welton – Imperial Innovations". Imperial Innovations. 15 December 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  27. ^ Robson, Mick (21 September 2012). "Helium shortage prompts scientist's balloon use warning". BBC News. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  28. ^ Levey, Simon; Noble, Kerry (23 September 2013). "Imperial chemists get gold for promoting women in science". Imperial College London. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  29. ^ Welton, Tom (2016). "Building an Inclusive Culture in the Chemistry Department at Imperial College". Chemistry – A European Journal. 22 (11): 3535–3536. doi:10.1002/chem.201600475. ISSN 1521-3765. PMID 26865282.
  30. ^ SAGE (22 December 2016). "Prof. Tom Welton Speaking Tour 2017: Going for Gold – Just the Beginning". Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE). Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  31. ^ a b "Irène Joliot-Curie Conference". Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  32. ^ "Joliot Curie Conference 2017". Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  33. ^ "For Women in Science". Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  34. ^ "No. 61962". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 June 2017. p. B14.
  35. ^ "Fellowship (FCGI) and Honorary Fellowship (HonFCGI) of The City and Guilds of London Institute March 2008 – March 2018". City and Guilds. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  36. ^ "King's College London - Daniell Lectures". Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  37. ^ a b "Bio Welton - International Conference on Ionic Liquids in Separation and Purification Technology - Elsevier". Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  38. ^ London, Main campus address: Imperial College; Campus, South Kensington; SW7 2AZ, London; maps, tel: +4420 7589 5111 Campus; in, information | About this site | This site uses cookies | Report incorrect content | Log. "Rector's 2012 Awards and Medals | Imperial News | Imperial College London". Imperial News. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  39. ^ "REF Case study search". Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  40. ^ a b "Frontier Leaders: In Search of an Ionic Liquid Effect — ITQB". Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  41. ^ "New Voices In Chemistry". Retrieved 24 February 2019.