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Professor of Natural Philosophy in the Department of Physics, University of York

Tom McLeish is Professor of Natural Philosophy in the Department of Physics at the University of York, with an interdisciplinary remit spanning the sciences and humanities. He is also a member of the university's Centre for Medieval Studies and Humanities Research Centre

His science specialises 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, the formation of silk and the physics of evolution.

Within his broader interdisciplinary research interests, he is a co-investigator in projects on medieval science, philosophy of emergence, social framing of science and technology, and the 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. From 2008-20014 he was Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at Durham University

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, and was founding Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Soft Matter and Functional Interfaces.

His book on the cultural position of science and its theological underpinnings, "Faith and Wisdom in Science", was published by OUP in 2014. A second book, on the vital role of creativity and imagination in science, and its comparison to art, 'The Poetry and Music of Science' was published by OUP in 2019.


  • 2014–present
    Professor of Physics, Durham University
  • 2018–present
    Professor of Natural Philosophy, University of York
  • 2008–2014
    Pro-vice-chancellor for research, Durham University


  • 1987 
    Cambridge University, PhD/Soft Matter Physics


  • 2014
    Faith and Wisdom in Science, OUP

Professional Memberships

  • The Royal Society
  • The Institute of Physics