Professor of Physics and former Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, Durham University

Tom McLeish is a physicist at Durham university specialising in soft matter, rheology and biological physics. He is a theoretician, but has always worked closely with experimentalists, industrial scientists and has run several large interdisciplinary teams. Current research focuses on functional protein dynamics.

He is also a co-investigator in research programmes into public engagement with responsible innovation, medieval science, and theology of science.

After a degree, PhD and post-doctoral research at Cambridge, he was a lecturer in physics at Sheffield University from 1989. From 1993 to 2008 he was Professor of Polymer Physics at Leeds University, concurrently Director of the IRC in Polymer Science and Technology from 2003.

He is an awardee of the Weissenberg Medal and Bingham Medal from the European Society of Rheology and Society of Rheology and was elected to the Royal Society in 2011. From 2008-2014 he served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at Durham. He is currently Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Soft Matter and Functional Interfaces.

His book on the cultural position of science, "Faith and Wisdom in Science", was published by OUP in 2014.


  • –present
    Professor of Physics and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, Durham University


  • 1987 
    Cambridge University, PhD/Soft Matter Physics