New Cambridge materials chemistry lab opens
Cambridge University’s Department of Chemistry has unveiled a new cutting-edge materials chemistry and NMR spectroscopy lab.
The Todd-Hamied Laboratory will explore harnessing materials for energy storage and conversion in an effort to develop the next generation of batteries and fuel cells.
The laboratory’s name is derived in part from its donor – humanitarian, alumnus of Christ’s College and chairman & MD of pharmaceutical company Cipla, Dr Yusuf Hamied. The ‘Todd’ part refers to Professor Lord Alexander Todd, Nobel Prize-winning chemist and former Master of Christ’s.
Mrs Marjorie Gibson, widow of Professor Geoffrey Moorhouse Gibson, a member of Trinity College, offered a benefaction to Trinity for research in chemistry in her husband’s memory. The college gave these funds to endow the Geoffrey Moorhouse Gibson Professorship in the Department of Chemistry. Professor Clare P Grey is the first Geoffrey Moorhouse Gibson Professor, and she has also been appointed director of the Todd-Hamied Laboratory.
Remarking on the new lab, Professor Grey said: “I’d like to thank Dr. Hamied for his generous contribution to the laboratory, which has allowed us to convert an old, abandoned space into an impressive and well-designed modern laboratory. It is already allowing us to perform cutting edge science in materials chemistry and NMR spectroscopy.”
Professor Grey’s particular focus among energy materials is on electrodes and electrolytes for lithium-ion batteries and fuel cells. The lightweight and energy-dense materials used in lithium ion batteries have provided one of the most important recent breakthroughs in batteries used for consumer electronics and are increasingly being considered by the automotive industry to power hybrid and electric vehicles, and for load levelling to manage the flow of electricity in a power grid.
One specific component of Professor Grey’s research is to develop new tools based on nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) for visualising how ions are transported through the different materials in real time and to use this information to feed into the design of the next generation of batteries and fuel cells.
Prof Grey arrived at Cambridge in 2009, having spent 15 years at Stony Brook University (SBU). She received a BA and a D. Phil. in Chemistry from the University of Oxford.
In 2011, she was elected to the Royal Society and in the same year received the Royal Society Kavli Lecture and Medal for work relating to the Environment/Energy. She is the Associate Director of the Northeastern Chemical Energy Storage Center, a US Department of Energy Centre based at SBU.
Dr Hamied arrived at Christ’s in 1954 from Bombay and graduating with a First in natural sciences. His company, Cipla Ltd, has played a key role in launching important drugs for the first time in India.
These include medicines to fight many diseases, ranging from asthma to cancer to AIDS. He is also a Trustee of The Yusuf and Farida Hamied Foundation, a member of the Department of Chemistry Advisory Board, an Honorary Fellow of Christ’s College and has been a member of the Guild of Cambridge Benefactors since 2007.
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Benefactor Dr Yusuf Hamied