Lesley Yellowlees

Last updated

Lesley Yellowlees

Professor Lesley Yellowlees portrait.jpg
Professor Lesley Yellowlees in 2014
Lesley Jane Yellowlees

1953 (age 6768)
London, UK
Alma mater University of Edinburgh
Spouse(s)Peter W. Yellowlees [1]
ChildrenSarah, Mark [1]
Scientific career
Thesis Spectro-electrochemical studies on luminescent complexes  (1983)
Website www.chem.ed.ac.uk/staff/academic-staff/professor-lesley-yellowlees

Lesley Jane Yellowlees, CBE FRSE FRSC (born 1953) is a British inorganic chemist conducting research in Spectroelectrochemistry, Electron transfer reactions and Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) Spectroscopy. Yellowlees was also elected as the president of the Royal Society of Chemistry 2012–14 and was the first woman to hold that role . [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]


Early life and education

Yellowlees was born in 1953 in London, moving to Edinburgh at the age of 9 and attending St Hilary's Girls' School. Her father worked for Rank Hovis McDougall, and she has two sisters. [12] She completed her higher education at the University of Edinburgh, gaining a BSc in Chemical Physics in 1975, and PhD in Inorganic Electrochemistry in 1982. Yellowlees was the only woman graduate in her undergraduate class, graduating with a first. [13] Continuing on from this Yellowlees began her postdoctoral research in the University of Glasgow in 1983. [14]

Career and research

Lesley Yellowlees' first job was as an administrator in the National Health Service, but after moving to Brisbane, she went into electrochemical research [15] subsequently worked in the University of Queensland. Returning to the University of Edinburgh, to do a PhD on solar cell chemistry, Yellowlees became a demonstrator in 1986, a lecturer in 1989 [16] and was appointed Professor of Inorganic Electrochemistry in 2005. She was the first woman to be appointed head of chemistry in the university. [15] And is also Vice-Principal of the University and Head of the College of Science and Engineering.

Honours and awards

A portrait of Prof Yellowlees, by Peter Edwards, hangs on the staircase of the Royal Society of Chemistry. RSC Staircase.jpg
A portrait of Prof Yellowlees, by Peter Edwards, hangs on the staircase of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Yellowlees was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2005 [17] and an Honorary Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry in 2015. [18] She became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2012. [1] and is also a Fellow of the Institute of Physics. [19]

To mark the International Year of Chemistry, IUPAC selected 25 women including Yellowlees for the Distinguished Women Chemistry/Chemical Engineering Award. [20]

She took over the presidency of the Royal Society of Chemistry on 4 July 2012 for a two-year term [2] (she was succeeded by Professor Dominic Tildesley).

The National Portrait Gallery has two portraits of her. [21] [22] There is also a painting of her by Peter Edwards in Burlington House, the headquarters of the Royal Society of Chemistry. [23]

Yellowlees was appointed MBE in 2005 for services to science and CBE in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to chemistry. [17] [24] [25]

Yellowlees holds Honorary Doctorates from Heriot-Watt University (awarded in 2012), [26] and Edinburgh Napier University (awarded in 2016). [27]

Yellowlees was named the University of Edinburgh Alumnus of the Year 2013 in honour of her research, leadership and her work as an advocate for women in STEM subjects. [28]

In 2014, she was included in the BBC's 100 Women. [29]

Personal life

She is married to Peter W. Yellowlees, a Chartered Accountant, [30] and they have two children. [1] [2]

Related Research Articles

Royal Society of Chemistry UK learned society

The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) is a learned society in the United Kingdom with the goal of "advancing the chemical sciences". It was formed in 1980 from the amalgamation of the Chemical Society, the Royal Institute of Chemistry, the Faraday Society, and the Society for Analytical Chemistry with a new Royal Charter and the dual role of learned society and professional body. At its inception, the Society had a combined membership of 34,000 in the UK and a further 8,000 abroad. The headquarters of the Society are at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London. It also has offices in Thomas Graham House in Cambridge where RSC Publishing is based. The Society has offices in the United States at the University City Science Center, Philadelphia, in both Beijing and Shanghai, China and Bangalore, India.

Joseph Wang American researcher and inventor (born 1948)

Joseph Wang is an American researcher and inventor. He is Distinguished Professor, SAIC Endowed Chair, and former Chair of the Department of Nanoengineering at the University of California, San Diego specializing in nanomachines, biosensors, nanobioelectronics, wearable devices, and electrochemistry. He also serves as the Director of the Center for Wearable Sensors at the University of California San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

Dame Lynn Faith Gladden is the Shell Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Cambridge. She served as Pro-vice-chancellor for research from 2010 to 2016. Since October 2018 she has been executive chair at the EPSRC.

Fellowship of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) is an award conferred by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) in the United Kingdom.

Fraser Andrew Armstrong is a professor of chemistry at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St John's College, Oxford.

Polly Arnold British chemist

Polly Louise Arnold is director of the chemical sciences division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. She previously held the Crum Brown chair in the School of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh from 2007 to 2019 and an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) career fellowship.

José Zagal Moya

'Jose H. Zagal Moya is a Chilean scientist educated at the University of Chile with postgraduate training in the United States of America with a Ph.D. degree from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Ohio and postdoctoral training at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York. At present he is a Distinguished Professor, Department of Chemistry and Materials, Faculty of Chemistry and Biology, Universidad de Santiago de Chile (USACH) where he directs the Laboratory of Electrocatalysis since 1982. He got his Ph.D. in chemistry Case Western Reserve University, US (1978) and was postdoctoral fellow at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York, in 1982. His main research efforts are focused on the fundamentals of electron transfer reactions that are relevant for energy conversion and sensors. He has contributed in the area of electrocatalysis, electrodes modified with metal macrocyclics, electrochemistry of biological molecules, the catalysis of the reduction of molecular oxygen and many other reactions of relevance, conductive polymers, electrochemical sensors and in pioneering work in the establishment of non-linear correlations between thermodynamic properties of molecular catalysts and their electrochemical reactivity. These contributions are essential in the development of non-precious metal catalysts for energy conversion devices and electrochemical sensors. [1][2][3] He also has contributed in the field of corrosion, conductive polymers and his well-known volcano correlations for the electrocatalytic properties of surface-confined molecular catalysts

Xie Yi FRSC is a Chinese chemist. She is a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. She is a professor and doctoral supervisor at University of Science and Technology of China.

Hiroshi Nishihara

Hiroshi Nishihara, born 21 March 1955, is a Japanese chemist and Professor of Chemistry at The University of Tokyo in Japan. Currently heading the department of Chemistry and Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory in The University of Tokyo, he is a distinguished professor, researcher and pioneer in the field of synthesis and electrochemistry of conductive metal complex polymers.

Tebello Nyokong is a South African chemist and professor at Rhodes University, and a recipient of the Presidency of South Africa's Order of Mapungubwe in Bronze. She was awarded the South African Chemical Institute Gold Medal in 2012, and named one of the top 10 most influential women in science and technology in Africa by IT News Africa. She is currently researching photo-dynamic therapy, an alternative cancer treatment method to chemotherapy. In 2007, she was one of the top three publishing scientists in South Africa, and in 2013 she was awarded the National Research Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Castner Gold Medal on Industrial Electrochemistry is an biennial award given by the Electrochemical Technology Group of Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) to an authority on applied electrochemistry or electrochemical engineering connected to industrial research. The award is named in honor of Hamilton Castner, a pioneer in the field of industrial electrochemistry, who patented in 1892 the mercury cell for the chloralkali process. Castner was an early member of SCI.

Julie Macpherson is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Warwick. In 2017 she was awarded the Royal Society Innovation award for her research into boron doped diamond electrochemical sensors.

Elizabeth Joy New is an Australian chemist and Professor of the School of Chemistry, University of Sydney. She won the 2018 Australian Museum 3M Eureka Prize.

Linda Faye Nazar is a Senior Canada Research Chair in Solid State Materials and Distinguished Research Professor of Chemistry at the University of Waterloo. She develops materials for electrochemical energy storage and conversion. Nazar demonstrated that interwoven composites could be used to improve the energy density of lithium–sulphur batteries. She was awarded the 2019 Chemical Institute of Canada Medal.

Viola Ingrid Birss is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Calgary. She works on electrochemistry and the development of nanomaterials for sustainable energy and sensing applications. She has demonstrated a metal oxide perovskite that can be used as the air and fuel electrode in solid oxide fuel cells, as well as creating nanoporous carbon scaffolds to be used in batteries and capacitors.

Gillian Reid is a British chemist who is Professor of Inorganic Chemistry and Head of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Southampton. Her research considers coordination chemistry, inorganic semiconductors and metal fluoride scaffolds. In 2020 she was appointed the President-elected of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Emma Raven is a British chemist and chemical biologist. She is a Professor of Chemistry and Head of the School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol. She was previously a Professor at the University of Leicester. Her research work is concerned with the role of heme in biology, in particular on the mechanism of action, structures and biological function of heme proteins.

Claire Jane Carmalt is a British chemist who is a Professor of Inorganic Chemistry and Head of the Department of Chemistry at University College London. Her research considers the synthesis of molecular precursors and the development of thin film deposition techniques.

Alison Joy Downard is a New Zealand academic, and has been a full professor at the University of Canterbury since 2009. Her work focuses on surface chemistry, electrochemistry and nanoscale grafted layers.

Deanna DAlessandro Australian chemist

Deanna Michelle D'Alessandro is an Australian chemist who is a Professor and Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the University of Sydney. Her research considers fundamental aspects of electron transfer in molecular coordination complexes and in nanoporous materials, and the development of metal–organic frameworks for environmental applications including carbon dioxide capture and conversion.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Professor Yellowlees Archived 3 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  2. 1 2 3 RSC News, August 2012, pp 12–13 "Lesley Yellowlees"
  3. Geary, E. A. M.; Yellowlees, L. J.; Jack, L. A.; Oswald, I. D. H.; Parsons, S.; Hirata, N.; Durrant, J. R.; Robertson, N. (2005). "Synthesis, Structure, and Properties of [Pt(II)(diimine)(dithiolate)] Dyes with 3,3'-, 4,4'-, and 5,5'-Disubstituted Bipyridyl: Applications in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells". Inorganic Chemistry. 44 (2): 242–50. doi:10.1021/ic048799t. PMID   15651869.
  4. Noble, M. A.; Munro, A. W.; Rivers, S. L.; Robledo, L.; Daff, S. N.; Yellowlees, L. J.; Shimizu, T.; Sagami, I.; Guillemette, J. G.; Chapman, S. K. (1999). "Potentiometric Analysis of the Flavin Cofactors of Neuronal Nitric Oxide Synthase†". Biochemistry. 38 (50): 16413–8. doi:10.1021/bi992150w. PMID   10600101.
  5. Colbert, M. C. B.; Lewis, J.; Long, N. J.; Raithby, P. R.; Younus, M.; White, A. J. P.; Williams, D. J.; Payne, N. N.; Yellowlees, L.; Beljonne, D.; Chawdhury, N.; Friend, R. H. (1998). "Synthesis and Characterization of Dinuclear Metal σ-Acetylides and Mononuclear Metal σ-Allenylidenes". Organometallics. 17 (14): 3034. doi:10.1021/om970130p.
  6. Lesley Yellowlees publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  7. Bailey, P. J.; Bone, S. F.; Mitchell, L. A.; Parsons, S.; Taylor, K. J.; Yellowlees, L. J. (1997). "A New Bridging Ligand for the [Mo2]4+Dimer: Syntheses and X-ray Crystal Structures of the Redox Pair [Mo2{μ-η2-(NPh)2CNHPh}4]0/+". Inorganic Chemistry. 36 (5): 867. doi:10.1021/ic960712j.
  8. Marcaccio, M.; Paolucci, F.; Paradisi, C.; Roffia, S.; Fontanesi, C.; Yellowlees, L. J.; Serroni, S.; Campagna, S.; Denti, G.; Balzani, V. (1999). "Electrochemistry of Multicomponent Systems. Redox Series Comprising up to 26 Reversible Reduction Processes in Polynuclear Ruthenium(II) Bipyridine-Type Complexes". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 121 (43): 10081. doi:10.1021/ja9916456.
  9. Finn, C.; Schnittger, S.; Yellowlees, L. J.; Love, J. B. (2012). "Molecular approaches to the electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide" (PDF). Chemical Communications. 48 (10): 1392–9. doi:10.1039/C1CC15393E. hdl: 20.500.11820/b530915d-451c-493c-8251-da2ea2f50912 . PMID   22116300.
  10. Prof Lesley Yellowlees – International Women's Day lecture on YouTube
  11. University of Edinburgh Research Explorer: Prof Lesley Yellowlees
  12. The Herald 2 July 2012 Rebecca McQuilllan "You've got to have support because work is not always going to go well
  13. Davis, Nicola (3 November 2013). "Lesley Yellowlees: 'I saw something no one else had seen'". The Guardian. ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  14. Yellowlees, Lesley (1983). Spectro-electrochemical studies on luminescent complexes. jisc.ac.uk (PhD thesis). University of Edinburgh. EThOS   uk.bl.ethos.664125. Archived from the original on 15 December 2018. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  15. 1 2 MRC Clinical Sciences Centre Suffrage Science 2013 9–13 Lesley Yellowlees and Molly Stevens review successes in science while raising families
  16. Edit (University of Edinburgh alumni magazine) June 2011 p 24 "Master and Apprentice"
  17. 1 2 "Press release: Appointment at the Palace for our president". www.rsc.org. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  18. Chemistry, Royal Society of (8 June 2016). "Honorary Fellows of the Royal Society of Chemistry". www.rsc.org. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  19. www.ed.ac.uk Archived 11 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine University of Edinburgh "Professor Lesley Yellowlees MBE FRSC FRSE FInstP"
  20. www.chemistryviews.org Distinguished Women Chemistry/Chemical Engineering Award
  21. Portraits of Lesley Yellowlees at the National Portrait Gallery, London
  22. L. J. Jordanova (2000) Defining Features: Scientific and Medical Portraits, 1660–2000 (Reaktion Books) ISBN   1861890591
  23. mag.digitalpc.co.uk Archived 15 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine Lesley Yellowlees
  24. "No. 60728". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2013. p. 9.
  25. "New Year Honours 2014". The Telegraph newspaper.
  26. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 9 September 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  27. "A laureation for Professor Lesley Yellowlees #EdNapierGrads". hazelhall.org. 7 July 2016.
  28. "Pioneering scientist named Alumnus of the Year". www.ed.ac.uk. The University of Edinburgh. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  29. "Who are the 100 Women 2014?". BBC. 26 October 2014.
  30. Board of Governors, Merchiston School P. W. Yellowlees