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4 June, 2015 - 11:46 By Kate Sweeney

Cambridge innovators to inspire future Nobels, Curies and Faradays

Horizon Discovery CEO Dr Darrin Disley

Horizon Discovery CEO Dr Darrin Disley has been unveiled as one of the Faces of Chemistry in the Royal Society of Chemistry's 175th anniversary initiative.

The venture is designed to inspire future generations of bright, young scientists.

Dr Disley (pictured above) features alongside scientific greats such as dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel, the prolific Michael Faraday and the legendary Marie Curie.

Other scientists with Cambridge links in the pantheon include chemist turned politician Julian Huppert, Professor Mary Garson, Dame Barbara Stocking, Dr Peter Wothers and Dr Andrew Holding. Dr Disley intends to leverage his presence in the hall of fame to drive the passion of science into UK schools.

He said: “Part of this role is to get out into schools in underprivileged areas and inspire the next generation by explaining the role of science and diversity in enterprise creation and social mobility. I will be doing this in East of England and in Central London over the next 12 months and would welcome some of our UK scientists joining me on these trips to bridge the age gap.

“If they are interested I would ask them to get in touch. They can email me at me at darrinmdisley [at] – and for any scientists not based in the UK I would urge them to think about what they can do to inspire others to choose science as a career path.”

175 Faces of Chemistry – celebrating diversity in science – was launched by Professor Lesley Yellowlees, the RSC’s first female president and a vocal campaigner for equality and diversity within the chemical sciences.

Leading to the Society’s 175th anniversary on February 23, 2016, RSC is profiling 175 different scientists who represent diversity in its broadest sense. Yellowlees says: “We aim to celebrate the diversity of individuals within our community who have helped shape chemistry and science as a whole both past and present and identify role models and ambassadors for the future generation of chemists.

“We are dedicated in growing an inclusive environment within the chemical science community and build on the skills, knowledge and experience of early career chemists through to established chemists regardless of gender, age, disability, career pathway or social, ethnic or financial background.”

Cambridge alumna Professor Mary Garson, who took her PhD at the university, has gone on to achieve global fame. She recalls: “When I was sitting in third year lectures in Lensfield Road, Cambridge, I would never have guessed that this would eventually lead me to completing over 400 scuba dives and to having a marine flatworm (Maritigrella marygarsonae) named after me. 

“So my advice to others would be that the opportunities are always there – but you have to be willing to spot them. So do not wonder ‘What if?’; instead, be prepared to give a new role a go – however, always have a plan B in case things go pear-shaped.” 

Also in the famous faces gallery is Cambridge scientist Dr Andrew Holding whose research is currently on the role of oestrogen receptors in breast cancer, for the Cambridge Institute, Cancer Research UK.

Dr Peter Wothers, whose lectures are renowned as being literally explosive, is feted for his inspirational evangelism of science. He is at Cambridge’s Department of Chemistry. And Dame Barbara Stocking, president of Murray Edwards College in Cambridge, is cited for her passionate work in helping more women succeed in STEM subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

• To check out the biographies of the famous faces go to

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