Michael Ashfold
University of Bristol


"For his innovative work on molecular photodynamics, especially in combining multiwavelength experiments on small molecules, high quality electronic structure calculations, and physical organic chemistry concepts into a “bigger picture” for broad understanding of experimental photodynamics of systems of increasing complexity."


Mike Ashfold obtained his BSc (1975) and PhD (1978) degrees from the University of Birmingham prior to postdoctoral research at Oxford University and appointment as a Lecturer, Reader and, since 1992, Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Bristol. His research interests include molecular photochemistry, diamond growth by chemical vapour deposition methods, and the physics and application of pulsed laser ablation processes. He uses translational spectroscopy methods to explore the fragmentation dynamics of many gas phase molecules following excitation with ultraviolet light, with a view to establishing a ‘bigger’ picture of the factors that influence and determine molecular photochemistry. His recent activities seek to explore the extent to which knowledge gained from studying prototypical small molecules can inform our understanding of the photochemistry of larger, more complex systems, and the extent to which understanding derived from gas phase studies can inform our understanding of solution-phase photochemistry. His research has been recognised by various awards including the Marlow, Corday-Morgan, Tilden and Liversidge Medals and Prizes of the Royal Society of Chemistry, an EPSRC Senior Research Fellowship (1997-2002), Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowships (in 1994 and 2011), and a Daiwa-Adrian Prize. He was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society in 2009.

Selection Committee:

William Stwalley, Chair; N. Levinger; D.M. Neumark; M. Zanni; R. Walsworth