Conference History

The Polanyi medal is awarded every two years, at the International Symposium on Gas Kinetics. The recipient is chosen by the Committee of the Gas Kinetics Group of the Faraday Division of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and is someone who has made outstanding contributions to the field of Gas Kinetics. Below is a summary of past recipients, with links to additional information on their contributions to gas kinetics.


 YearSymposium LocationPolanyi Award Recipient
0th 1967 Swansea, UK    
1st 1969 Szeged, Hungary    
2nd 1971 Swansea, UK    
3rd 1973 Brussels, Belgium    
4th 1975 Heriot-Watt, UK  
5th 1977 UMIST  
  1979   Richard Zare * Stanford University, USA
6th 1980 Southhampton, UK  
  1981   Dudley Herschbach Harvard University, USA
7th 1982 Göttingen, Germany Brian Thrush University of Cambridge, UK
8th 1984 Nottingham, UK B. S. Rabinovitch University of Washington, USA
9th 1986 Bordeauz, France Sid Benson University of Southern California, USA
  1987   Fred Kaufmann (posthumously) University of Pittsburg, USA
10th 1988 Swansea, UK John Polanyi University of Toronto, Canada
11th 1990 Assisi, Italy Ian W. M. Smith University of Birmingham, UK
12th 1992 Reading, UK Jurgen Troe University of Göettingen, Germany
13th 1994 Dublin, Ireland Michael J. Pilling University of Leeds, UK
14th 1996 Leeds, UK John Simons University of Oxford, UK
15th 1998 Bilbao, Spain A. R. Ravishankara National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USA
16th 2000 Cambridge, UK Jürgen Wolfrum University of Heidelberg, Germany
17th 2002 Essen, Germany Gus Hancock University of Oxford, UK
18th 2004 Bristol, UK David Clary University of Oxford, UK
19th 2006 Orleans, France Horst Hippler Karlsruhe University, Germany
20th 2008 Manchester, UK Piergiorgio Casavecchia University of Perugia, Italy
21st 2010 Leuven, Belgium Stephen R. Leone University of California at Berkley, USA
22st 2012 Boulder, Colorado  Mario Molina

University of California, San Diego, USA

23st 2014 Szeged, Hungary  Craig Taatjes  Sandia National Laboratory, USA
24st 2016 York, UK  James Anderson  Harvard, USA

* Medal awarded at Faraday Discussion 67, "Kinetics of State Selected Species", in Birmingham, 1979.

The Polanyi medal is named after Professor Michael Polanyi, 1891-1976, whose research helped to define the modern subject of gas kinetics and reaction dynamics. A native of Hungary, Polanyi received his PhD from Budapest University in 1917, on the subject of thermodynamics of adsorption. After working in Berlin, Polanyi emigrated to England in 1933 to become Professor of Physcial Chemistry at Manchester University, a position he held until 1948, when he moved to philosophy and became Professor of Social Science, also at Manchester.

In 1959 he bacame a Senior Research Fellow at Merton College, Oxford. Polanyi published over 200 scientific papers between 1916-1948 on a wide range of topics: adsorption, reaction kinetics, x-ray diffraction to name a few. Polanyi's laboratory at Manchester attracted students and established scientists from all over the world. After the 2nd world war, Polanyi increasingly turned his attention from science to economics and Philosophy. His son, John Polanyi, was a recipient of the Polanyi Medal in 1988.

Online user: 1