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Royal Society of Chemistry
Professor Peter Hore

Professor Hore is a biophysical chemist at the University of Oxford, where he holds a University Lectureship in Physical Chemistry and a Tutorial Fellowship at Corpus Christi College.

In 2007 a female bar-tailed godwit  – a medium sized wading bird – was tracked by satellite flying non-stop from Alaska to New Zealand, an 8-day trip of roughly 7000 miles across the Pacific Ocean. Countless godwits cover similar routes in both directions every year. Annually, billions of migratory birds cover distances only slightly less awesome. These spectacular feats raise many questions, one of which is how the birds find their way. Amongst other sources of directional information, it is clear that birds use the Earth’s magnetic field to orient themselves. Peter’s research attempts to unravel the inner workings of this biological compass.

Peter described himself as “stunned, honoured and grateful” to be receiving this prize.

The prize is awarded for work at the interface between chemistry and other disciplines.

An illustrious list of 47 previous winners of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Awards have gone on to win Nobel Prizes for their pioneering work, including Harry Kroto, Fred Sanger and Linus Pauling.

Dr Robert Parker, chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry said: “It is an honour to recognise the illustrious achievements of our prize and award winners in our 175th anniversary year.

“We were founded in 1841 by a group of academics, industrialists and doctors who understood the power of the chemical sciences to change our world for the better. Our winners share that vision and are advancing excellence in their fields, whether through innovative research or inspirational teaching and outreach.

“We are proud to celebrate and support the work of inspiring and influential individuals, whose work has the potential to improve so many lives.”

Prize winners are evaluated for the originality and impact of their research, as well as the quality of the results which can be shown in publications, patents, or even software. The awards also recognise the importance of teamwork across the chemical sciences, and the abilities of individuals to develop successful collaborations.

Story courtesy of the Royal Society of Chemistry.