Robin Perutz studies the chemical reactions of compounds of metals stimulated by absorption of light – photochemical reactions. After an undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences at Cambridge, he worked for his PhD in Cambridge and Newcastle. Subsequently, he worked in Mülheim (Germany), Edinburgh and Oxford, before moving to York in 1983 where he became a full professor in 1991. His research is important for understanding molecular structure and the mechanisms of catalytic reactions. Nowadays, it includes the development of new photochemical methods and the use of photochemistry to store the energy of sunlight.
He has received awards from the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Italian Chemical Society and the French Chemical Society. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society, the UK’s equivalent of the National Academy of Sciences, in 2010. Robin has been very active in the women in science agenda for more than 15 years – York Chemistry became the first department to win the Athena SWAN gold status, an award for good practice on women’s equality.
He is also very involved in supporting STEM students with disabilities and has served on national committees both for disabilities in science and women in science. Scientists fleeing conflict in former Yugoslavia, Iraq and, most recently, Syria have worked in his laboratory. Robin has been the Royal Society’s representative on the International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies since 2013.