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Jonathan Coleman is an outstanding highly recognised material scientist. He is the Erasmus Smith’s Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy (1724) and a Principal Investigator and both the CRANN and AMBER research centres.

Professor Coleman leads an Irish research group which is internationally renowned for its achievements in the highly competitive field of two-dimensional nanomaterials. He has helped to shape the field, most notably by the major discovery of a technique called liquid phase exfoliation. The invention of this versatile method has enabled the large-scale production of defect-free graphene and a wide range of other nanosheets used both in fundamental research and in numerous real-world applications, finding an increasing number of practical applications in areas ranging from sensors and printed electronics to battery electrodes and gas-impermeable plastic beer bottles.

His scholarly contribution lies in his insights into physical chemistry and his ability to formulate simple models of the exfoliation process, which has facilitated its application to many different two-dimensional materials and given new impetus to the graphene boom of the first decade of the 21st century. His clear, reliable and accessible papers published in the leading scientific journals include a series of ground-breaking contributions that continue to guide the field. These highly cited contributions  citations reflect the fact that this is a hugely popular field that has benefitted from lavish support from the EU graphene flagship. The author lists testify to Coleman’s ability to assemble the best team, from Ireland and abroad, to tackle a particular problem.

Coleman has conceived and designed a number of different projects for which he has assembled large collaborative research teams. He has been awarded eight patents and research awards of 10 million euro.

The quality of Professor Coleman’s contributions has been acknowledged with numerous awards both within in Ireland and internationally. In particular, he was inducted into the Advanced Materials Hall of Fame in 2022 and in 2019 he won the TUBALL award for the best application of nanotubes. He was awarded the Kroll Medal from the Institute of Materials in 2012 and he was named the 2011 Science Foundation Ireland Researcher of the Year. In that same year, he was named among the top 100 Materials Scientists of the previous decade by Thompson Reuters.

In addition to giving public talks and speaking in schools, Professor Coleman’s work has featured frequently in national and international print media including The Scientific American and The Times. He has appeared on radio and television, including a coast-to-coast interview on Fox News. He featured in a video produced by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and contributed to Nano in My Life, a DVD used in Irish Secondary schools for 15–16-year-olds studying science. His demonstration of how to make graphene in a kitchen blender and silly putty graphene sensor sensitive to a spider’s footprint have captured the attention of non-scientists around the world.

The focus on excellent research has led to Coleman’s involvement in leadership positions in the EU Graphene Flagship where he is Deputy Director of Materials Science and a member of the influential Science and Technology Forum. He obtained his PhD from Trinity College Dublin in 1995, was elected to membership of the Royal Irish Academy in 2015 and he currently serves as Head of Physics at Trinity.