Professor Peter Day

Emeritus Professor of Chemistry in the University of London; Emeritus Fullerian Professor of Chemistry, Royal Institution.


Peter Day was born in 1938. He was successively Departmental Demonstrator, University Lecturer and Ad Hominem Professor of Solid State Chemistry at Oxford. In 1988 he became Assistant Director and in 1989 Director of the Institut Laue-Langevin, the European high flux neutron scattering centre in Grenoble. In 1991, he was appointed Director of The Royal Institution and its Davy Faraday Research Laboratory, where subsequently he became Fullerian Professor of Chemistry. He instituted the relationship between the RI and UCl, holding the title of UCL Royal Institution Professorial Research Fellow till 2008. He has held visiting appointments at Universities in Australia, Denmark, France and Spain, and at the corporate research laboratories of Bell, IBM, Xerox (USA) and American Cyanamid (Switzerland).

Peter Day has served on many Royal Society and UK Research Council committees, the British Council Science Advisory Committee and the Engineering and Physical Science Core Group of the European Science Foundation. He was the Treasurer and a Trustee of the Academia Europaea and advised the European Commission, the French Ministry of Education, the Portuguese and Swiss Ministries of Research and the Swiss National Science Foundation. He has strong contacts with the academic and business communities in Japan, having acted as external Counsellor to the Institute for Molecular Sciences in Okazaki, and External Assessor of the School of Materials Science at the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Kanazawa and member of the Advisory Council of RIKEN in Tokyo.

Summary of research group
Research highlights

Day's work is documented in more than 700 publications.  

Specific research 'firsts' are listed below:

The first visibly transparent ferromagnets[67,129], laying the foundation for subsequent worldwide interest in molecular-based magnets, including the first organic-intercalated ferromagnets soluble in organic solvents[107,119].

First determination of the crystal structure of a high Tc superconductor[259] including the variation of structure with temperature and composition[258].

First synthesis of molecular superconductors containing metal-centres[247], developing the chemistry to include the first superconductor containing paramagnetic transition metal ions[450,451], and the first molecular charge transfer salts containing both localised and itinerant electrons[307,394].  Achieved unique insights with physics colleagues into the superconductivity of highly-correlated two-dimensional electron systems[338, 398].

First molecular-based ferrimagnets showing negative magnetisation[408] and the first ferrimagnets in which one sublattice is furnished by aromatic pπ and the other by d-electrons[577].

Research Facilities

    • Corday Morgan Medal and Prize, Chemical Society , 1971
    • Senior Research Fellow, Science & Engineering Research Council, 1977-1982
    • Royal Society of Chemistry Award in Solid State Chem., 1986
    • Fellow of the Royal Society, 1986
    • Du Pont Distinguished Lecturer, Indiana University, 1988
    • Honorary Fellow, Wadham College, Oxford, 1991; St. John's College, Oxford 1996; University College London, 2003 .
    • Indian National Science Academy, Blackett Memorial Lecturer, 1994
    • Royal Society: Bakerian Lecturer, 1999
    • French Academy of Sciences: Humphry Davy Lecturer, 2002
    • Honorary D.Sc., University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1994; University of Kent at Canterbury, 1999
    • Foundation Lecture, National Chemical Laboratory, Pune, India, 1995
    • Birch Lecturer, Australian National University, 1997
    • ACL Distinguished Lecturer, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1997
    • Daiwa Adrian Prize for Anglo-Japanese Research Collaboration, 1998
    • Stefan Lecturer, Josef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, 2010
    • Coochbehar Professorship Lecturer, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Kolkata, India, 2010

    • FRS
    • FRSC
    • FInstP
    • Member, Academia Europaea
    • Fellow, IUPAC
    • For. Mem. Indian Acad. Sci.
    • Hon. Member Mater. Res. Soc. India
    Research interests
    • Molecular-based magnets
    • Molecular metals and superconductors