The RSC has elected its first female president only 170 years after it was established. The presidency has gone to renowned electrochemist Lesley Yellowlees at the University of Edinburgh, who will succeed David Phillips in 2012 and hold the position for two years thereafter.

The move ties in pleasingly with this year: 2011 is the International Year of Chemistry, which claims as one of its themes Women in Chemistry. Furthermore, it has now been 100 years since Marie Curie won the chemistry Nobel prize. Did that play any part in the decision to pick a woman for the first time in the history of the RSC – and after an unbroken line of 87 men? Apparently not. β€˜It is a happy and welcome coincidence,’ says Phillips.

Whatever the motivation, Yellowlees is undoubtedly an excellent choice. Among her many accomplishments, she boasts an MBE awarded in 2005 for services to science. And she holds arguably the most prestigious and sought after position in the business: head of the editorial board for Chemistry World.

We wish her well.

Andrew Turley

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