Polly Arnold

Polly Arnold is the Crum Brown Chair of Chemistry and winner of the Rosalind Franklin Award in 2012 for her scientific work and her promotion of women in science.

Headshot of Polly Arnold

Starting out

Polly was interested in a number of subjects at school but was encouraged to focus on science by her mother who pointed out that it was not something she could do in her spare time.

She was attracted to Chemistry for its problem solving abilities and graduated from Oxford with a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry in 1994. Continuing to Sussex she achieved her DPhil in 1997.

Time overseas

Turning her eyes to a doctorate, Polly applied and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for postdoctoral research at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). After this stint in the US, she returned to Britain, taking a lectureship in 1999 with the University of Nottingham.

UK-US Fulbright Commission

Coming to Edinburgh

Polly joined the University of Edinburgh in 2007 as a member of the EaSTCHEM school and has been with us ever since.

During her time there she was presented with the University of Edinburgh’s Chancellor’s Prize by the Duke of Edinburgh and, the following year, in 2009, she was promoted to the Crum Brown Chair of Chemistry, a position which she still holds.

Polly’s research

Polly focuses on synthetic chemistry and theories of bonding and reactivity.

Her work is a pivotal aspect of our attempts to understand the behaviour of nuclear waste.

Women in chemistry

In 2012 Polly was awarded the Rosalind Franklin Prize for her achievements as a female scientist. She used this money to produce a short documentary film in 2013, A Chemical Imbalance. It looks at the many successful female scientists at the University of Edinburgh in order to address the underrepresentation of women in STEM and aims to gather awareness about gender equality in science.

Watch A Chemical Imbalance online

Find Polly on Twitter @ProfArno