Tom McLeish did a first degree in physics and PhD (1987) in polymer physics at the University of Cambridge.  He became a lecturer in physics at the University of Sheffield, building a group working on the theory of dynamics of complex fluids.  In 1993 he took the chair in polymer physics at the University of Leeds.  He has since won several awards both in Europe (Weissenberg Medal) and the USA (Bingham Medal) for his work on molecular rheology of polymers, and ran a large collaborative and multidisciplinary research programme in this field from 1999-2009 co-funded between EPSRC and industry. 

From 2000-2005 he was a Senior Research Fellow of the EPSRC (UK), and from 2003-2009 the Director of the UK Polymer IRC, a multidisciplinary consortium of over 100 polymer scientists from university and industry.  From 2004-2008 he was also Director of the White Rose Doctoral Training Centre in Biomolecules and Cells. He has consulted for a number of chemical industries. 

His research interests include: (i) molecular rheology of polymeric fluids); (ii) macromolecular biological physics; (iii) issues of theology, ethics and history of science.  He has published over 180 scientific papers and reviews, and is in addition regularly involved in science-communication with the public.  A book, Faith and Wisdom in Science was  published by OUP in May 2014.

In 2008 he was appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at Durham University. In 2011 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.  In 2012 he was made Vice-President of Science by the Institute of Physics (IoP).

Key Publications:

  • T.C.B. McLeish, “Tube Theory of Entangled Polymer Dynamics”, Adv. Phys., 51, 1379-1527 (2002).
  • A. Aggeli, M. Bell, N. Boden, J. N. Keen, P. F. Knowles, T. C. B. McLeish, M. Pitkeathly and S. E. Radford "Responsive Gels Formed by the Spontaneous Self-Assembly of Peptides into Polymeric -Sheet Tapes".   Nature,  386, 259-262, (1997). 
  • J. Bent, L. R. Hutchings, R. W. Richards, T. Gough, R. Spares, P. D. Coates, I. Grillo, O. G. Harlen, D. J. Read, R. S. Graham, A. E. Likhtman, D. J. Groves, T. M. Nicholson, and T. C. B. McLeish, “Neutron-Mapping Polymer Flow: Scattering, Flow Visualization, and Molecular Theory”, Science, 301,1691-1695 (2003).
  • R.J. Hawkins and T.C.B. McLeish, “Coarse-Grained Model of Entropic Allostery”, Phys. Rev. Letts, 93, 098104 (2004).
  • T.L. Rogers et al., “Modulation of Global Low-Frequency Motions Underlies Allosteric Regulation: Demonstration in CRP/FNR Family Transcription Factors”, PLOS-Biology, 11(9): e1001651 (2013)
  • M. Kawakami, K. Burne, B. Khatri, T.C.B. McLeish, S.E. Radford and D.A. Smith, “Viscoelastic Properties of Single Polysaccharide Molecules Determined by Analysis of Thermally Driven Oscillations of an Atomic Force Microscope Cantilever”, Langmuir, 20, 9299-9303 (2004).
  • T. C. B. McLeish and W. C. K. Poon, “Real Absences in the Sciences:  Scientists’ Response to George Steiner’s Real Presences”,Theology, (2) (1999)
  • T.C.B. McLeish, “Values in Science Research” in “Values in Higher Education” S. Robinson and C. Katulushi eds., Aureus Publishing (2005)
  • Greti Dinkova-Bruun, Giles E.M. Gasper, Michael Huxtable, Tom C.B. McLeish, Cecilia Panti and Hannah Smithson, “Dimensions of Colour: Robert Grosseteste’s De Colore; Edition, Translation and Interdisciplinary Analysis”, Durham Medieval and Renaissance Texts (2013).


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