Professor Brian Vincent, FRSC1 was awarded the 2010 Overbeek Gold Medal in recognition of his outstanding career in the field of colloid and interface science. His exceptional scientific achievements have inspired generations of scientists. Additionally, he has great organisational and leadership abilities as demonstrated by his successful periods as Chairman of both SCI2 (1988-1992) and RSC3 (2002-2005) Colloid Groups in the UK and of IACIS4 (2003-6). He is a fine teacher who is always in demand and has a friendly and approachable personality. He and his research are internationally recognized but have been particularly welcomed by students in Eastern Europe and in industry.
Brian started his research career as the first PhD student in Bristol of Ron Ottewill in 1968. After a postdoc with Hans Lyklema in the Netherlands and a short spell in ICI in the UK, he returned to Bristol where he has thrived ever since. He accepted a Chair in Physical Chemistry in 1992 and became the 5th Leverhulme Professor in 1993, heading the Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Section to 2002 and the Colloid Sector to 2007.
Brian has worked in almost all areas of colloid science: suspensions, emulsions, foams, polymers, surfactants, synthesis, responsive systems, encapsulation, targeting, adsorption, depletion, deposition, phase behaviour, electrophoresis, etc. To date, he has published 275 refereed papers, co-authored and/or edited 4 books and is co-inventor of 7 patents. His many awards include: SCI Colloid & Surface Chemistry Group Founder’s Lecture (1997); SCI Distinguished Service Award (2000); RSC Award in Surface and Colloid Chemistry (2004); Royal Australian Institute of Chemistry, The Alexander Award & Lecture (2007); The IACIS Award & Lecture (2009); UK Polymer Colloids Forum, The Ottewill Award & Lecture (2009); and Honorary Doctorate at the University of South Australia (2010).
In addition to his own science, he has made a huge contribution to the international colloid community, especially through his pioneering activities for students. He initiated and co-organised the First UK Colloid and Surface Science Student Meeting in 1991 and the first European Colloid Meeting in Bristol in 2003. These are now ECIS Student Conferences every two years and Brian has led each one, with his charm, enthusiasm, energy, experience and wisdom. His extensive range of friends and contacts has enabled him to find new hosts volunteer and ensure that each Conference is successfully run.
Brian has also been very active at the Colloid/Industry interface. He has supervised joint projects with many companies that investigated the background to a huge range of colloidally based products. He has encouraged scientists in industry to contribute to the open, academic colloid arena. On the most applied level, Brian has been a consultant for many of the leading companies that use colloid technology worldwide. Together with Jim Goodwin he founded the Bristol Colloid Centre (BCC) in 1993 and led it as Director until 2007. The BCC provided an early and excellent example of a effective industrial-academic interactions in the colloid and interface field.
Although Brian retired formally at the end of 2007, he took up a Senior Research Fellowship in Bristol and remains very active. He continues to publish and contribute to supervision of new research in Bristol. His number of students and postdocs now stands at 90 and 50, respectively. Brian’s outside contributions are as strong as ever: including service on the UK Polymer Colloids Forum, on the Rideal Trust, and on the IACIS Council. Of course, he does not let up in the area of perhaps his greatest contribution to the European colloid community: his pioneering of activities for students: he is guiding the ECIS 2011 Student Conference in Sweden while simultaneously starting the planning for the ECIS 2013 Student Conference in Berlin!
The nomination for Professor Brian Vincent for the Overbeek Gold Medal included the phrase: with “the combination of these [scientific, didactic and personal] qualities, he was for many young people an ideal of a creative scientist.” And concluded: “One can say, therefore, without exaggeration that rarely in science so much was owed by so many to one person.” Praise indeed to Brian Vincent!
1 Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry
2 Society of Chemical Industry
3 Royal Society of Chemistry
4 International Association of Colloid and Interface Science