Martyn Twigg retired as Johnson Matthey’s Chief Scientist in 2010 and for many years he was Technology Director in the Environmental Catalysts and Technologies Division based in Royston. During that time the performance of catalytic exhaust emissions control systems for gasoline and diesel engines were dramatically enhanced and new advanced manufacturing processes were developed and introduced which provided the basis for Johnson Matthey’s commercial successes in this area. Before joining Johnson Matthey Martyn worked for ICI in the North West and then at Billingham in the North East. At Billingham he was involved in the development and production of new heterogeneous catalysts used in large single-stream plants that produce hydrogen, carbon monoxide, ammonia, methanol and formaldehyde. He also developed novel proprietary catalysts and processes for high value organic products and industrial pollution control systems. Just before being head-hunted by Johnson Matthey Martyn headed a joint American/European project concerned with novel catalytic polymerisation processes. More recently the part of ICI in which he spent many exciting years became Johnson Matthey Catalysts. Several of his successful catalyst-based projects went on to win prestigious awards, and in 2010 he was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry Industrial Catalysis Prize.
Martyn’s academic career was started by an enthusiastic chemistry teacher. He read chemistry and physics at the University of Hull, UK, and a PhD on mechanistic inorganic chemistry of porphyrin model compounds (University of Kent, UK) before having a junior faculty position at the University of Toronto, Canada, where he worked on mechanisms of reactions of metal-metal bonded carbonyl compounds. Following this was a fellowship at Cambridge with Lord Lewis on synthesis and reactivity of hydrocarbon organometallic compounds and photo-fission of metal-metal bonds in metal carbonyls. Martyn has authored or co-authored several hundred research papers, chapters in technical encyclopedias, edited and written contributions in books. He edits a series of fundamental and applied catalysis books, a series on the kinetics and mechanisms of inorganic and organometallic reactions, and he holds a large number of patents. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Society of Automotive Engineers, and is on the editorial board of scientific journals. He serves on Institute of Mechanical Engineers committees, is Chairman of the Rideal Conference Committee and a trustee of the Rideal Trust. Since retiring Martyn has maintained research activities with several universities in the UK and overseas, and has honorary positions at some. His consulting business is thriving with work in a variety of areas many of which are providing new and exciting challenges!