Thompson Award

Elsevier Science, publisher of Spectrochimica Acta Part A, makes an annual award in memory of Sir Harold Warris Thompson (1908-1983), who was editor of the journal for over 20 years. All papers published in the molecular spectroscopy section of the journal are automatically considered for the award, which consists of $1000 together with a presentation certificate. The paper awarded the prize is selected by the editorial board of  Spectrochimica Acta Part A.

The winning paper in 2002 was “The Renner Effect in Triatomic Molecules with Application to CH2+, MgNC and NH2” by P. Jensen, T. E. Odaka, W. P. Kraemer, T. Hirano, and P. R. Bunker, Spectrochimica Acta Part A 58, 763-794 (2002)

Sir Harold “Tommy” Thompson was born in Wombwell, South Yorkshire, and educated at King Edward VII School, Sheffield, and Trinity College, Oxford, where his tutor was C.N. Hinshelwood. He gained first class honours in Natural Sciences (Chemistry) in 1929. He then spent a year researching in Berlin with F. Haber before returning to Oxford to take up a Fellowship at St John's College. Thompson quickly established himself as one of the finest teachers in the university and many of his students went on to great scientific distinction and included F.S. Dainton, C.F. Kearton, J.W. Linnett, I.M. Mills, R.E. Richards and D.H. Whiffen, all of whom became Fellows of the Royal Society. Thompson's main research interest in Berlin had been gas reactions but on his return to Oxford he focused his research activity in the area of chemical spectroscopy and in particular work on the infrared. During the Second World War he worked for the Ministry of Aircraft Production in collaboration with G.B.B.M. Sutherland on the infrared spectroscopic analysis of enemy aviation fuels, and in 1943 he and Sutherland were members of a British scientific mission which visited the USA on behalf of the Ministry. After the war Thompson continued to play a major role in demonstrating how infrared spectra might be applied to a very wide range of chemical studies. He contributed to international science as Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society, 1965-1971, when the Society's overseas activities were greatly expanded, and as President of International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), 1963-1966, and of International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), 1973-1975. Throughout his life Thompson gave devoted service to football, from amateur player in his youth to Chairman of the Football Association, 1976-1981.

Thompson was elected FRS in 1946 (Davy Medal 1965) and was knighted in 1968.


Thompson Award Certificate