Published: 28 May 2014

Chemistry prize with 81 year heritage returns


The University of Liverpool will award a prestigious prize for chemistry for the first time in 13 years, to a graduate working at the forefront of molecular biology.

The Potts Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Chemistry is decided upon by students at the University and has a history stretching back to 1933. However, the last award was made in 2001.

Now, thanks to help from a University alumnus, the award is being reinstated with the Medal going to Professor Alison Ashcroft of the University of Leeds.

Professor Ashcroft, like all Potts Medal recipients, is a graduate of the University’s Chemistry Department and, as part of her award will be guest of honour at a dinner sponsored by the Waters Corporation, and give a lecture on her area of specialism – bio-molecular mass spectrometry.

Previous alumni to have received the Medal include Professor Sir Brian Smith, the former Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University; bass baritone, John Shirley Quirk CBE; and W Clayton who was Chief Chemist at the mustard manufacturer, Colman’s. The medal is named in honour of alumnus Harold Edwin Potts (BSc Chemistry 1906, MSc 1907).

Professor Ashcroft works at the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology and the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds. She was a Post-doctoral fellow at the University of Geneva, followed by 14 years as a mass spectrometrist in industry, working for Kratos Analytical, AstraZeneca and Micromass/Waters.

She was awarded The Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry’s Ron Hites Award in 2009 for “outstanding original research”.

In addition to her University of Liverpool undergraduate degree, Professor Ashcroft holds an MSc Chemistry (1979) and PhD Chemistry (1981) from the University of Manchester. She is a Chartered Chemist and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Professor Andrew Hodgson, Head of the Department of Chemistry said: “We are proud of the contributions made by our chemistry alumni. Reinstating this high profile award recognises alumni achievement, inspires current students and encourages lifelong relationships.

“We are extremely grateful to have had the support needed for its reinstatement.”

To register for the free lecture, please visit the page on the University’s Alumni Relations website. The lecture will take place on 3 June 2014.

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