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Rex Richards (chemist)


Rex Richards (chemist)

Sir Rex Richards
Born Rex Edward Richards
(1922-10-28) 28 October 1922
Colyton, Devon, England[1]
Doctoral students Ray Freeman
Known for
Notable awards
Sir Rex Edward Richards FRS, FRSC, FBA (born 28 October 1922) is a British scientist and academic. He has been Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford[2] and a director of the Leverhulme Trust.


  • Education 1
  • Career 2
  • Awards and honours 3
  • References 4


Richards was educated at Colyton Grammar School, then proceeded on to St John's College, Oxford where he was awarded a first class Bachelor of Arts degree in 1945 and a Doctor of Philosophy in 1948.


After graduating Richards stayed at the University as a Merton College, Oxford.[6]

Sir Rex Richards has chaired numerous committees concerned with higher education, including an independent enquiry to investigate factors that might deter young physicians and dentists from choosing clinical academic careers.

Sir Rex has maintained an interest in the art world as well; he was a member of the National Gallery Scientific Advisory Committee from 1978 to 2007 and its Chairman from 1991–1993. He was Trustee of the Tate Gallery from 1982–1988 and 1989–1993, of the National Gallery from 1982–1988 and 1989–1993, and of the Henry Moore Foundation from 1989–2002; he was Chairman of the Moore from 1994–2001. He was also Chairman of the British Postgraduate Medical Foundation from 1986–1993.

Richards's research work in the Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory at Oxford was primarily concerned with nuclear magnetic resonance. His early work, leading to the award of a D. Phil. in 1948, was on infrared spectroscopy and was supervised by Harold Warris Thompson.[3]

Awards and honours

Richards was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and won the Davy Medal in 1976. His nomination for the Royal Society reads:[7]

Distinguished for his work on nuclear magnetic resonance and its application to chemical problems. He has made outstanding contributions to the development of this technique, and was the first to apply it to the determination of unknown molecular structures. During recent years he has stimulated other work in the field by his own numerous applications. Earlier, he has done work of high quality in infrared spectroscopy, thermo-chemistry and magnetochemistry and has discovered important information about certain clathrate structures. He was awarded the Corday-Morgan Medal in 1954.


  1. ^ GRO Register of Births: DEC 1922 5b 15 AXMINSTER – Rex E. Richards.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d Manuscript papers of British scientists, University of Bath, UK.
  4. ^ University of Warwick brief biography, Coventry & Warwickshire, UK.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
Academic offices
Preceded by
Robin Harrison
Warden of Merton College, Oxford
Succeeded by
John Roberts
Preceded by
Sir John Habakkuk
Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University
Succeeded by
Geoffrey Warnock
Preceded by
1st Viscount Amory
Chancellor of the
University of Exeter

Succeeded by
Lord Alexander of Weedon

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