Professor Donal D C Bradley
Doctor of Science, honoris causa (2017)
Professor Bradley joined the University of Oxford in 2015 as Head of the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division, Professor of Physics and Engineering Science, and a Professorial Fellow at Jesus College. Before that, he was with Imperial College London for almost 15 years, having been recruited in 2000 as Professor of Experimental Solid State Physics and subsequently becoming the Lee-Lucas Professor in 2006. He rose quickly and took up the headship of the Department of Physics in 2005, where his father, laser pioneer Professor Dan Bradley, FRS, held the same position during 1976–1980; Professor Bradley’s wife Bev and son Conor are also both graduates of the department so there is a strong family connection all round. In 2008, Professor Bradley became the Deputy Principal, Faculty of Natural Sciences, and in 2011 the Pro-Rector then Vice-Provost for Research. In 2009 he founded the Centre for Plastic Electronics and served as Director till he left for the University of Oxford.
Professor Bradley completed his undergraduate study in Physics at Imperial College and received the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce Silver Medal as an outstanding graduate of the Royal College of Science in 1983. He then went to the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge for his PhD study. After receiving his PhD in 1987, he decided to explore places outside the UK; he was a visiting scientist at the Max-Planck-Institute for Solid State Sciences in Stuttgart, Germany, and spent a year as Toshiba Research Fellow at the Chemical Laboratory, Toshiba R&D Center in Kawasaki, Japan. On his return to the UK as Unilever Research Fellow in Chemical Physics, he, together with Cambridge colleagues, invented conjugated polymer electroluminescence in 1989, leading to the founding of Cambridge Display Technology Ltd. Then, after a brief stint as Assistant Lecturer and Churchill College Fellow in Physics, he joined the University of Sheffield in 1993 as a Reader in Physics, being promoted to Professor in 1995, where he built up a new electronic and photonic molecular materials research programme that continues to thrive. In 2000 he was invited to return to Imperial College to launch the initiative that culminated in founding the Centre for Plastic Electronics and further entrepreneurial activities also followed, with the founding of Molecular Vision Ltd and Solar Press (UK) Ltd focused, respectively, on medical diagnostic devices and solar energy generation.
The invention of conjugated polymer LEDs launched the field of plastic electronics research and if one looks back along its subsequent path, one can see the many significant contributions to the science and application of molecular electronic materials and devices that Professor Bradley has made, leading to his becoming one of the most highly cited materials researchers in the world. As one of the pioneers of plastic electronics, Professor Bradley has also been bestowed with numerous awards and prizes in recognition of his path-defining achievements. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2004, Fellow of the Institute of Physics in 2005 and Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology in 2013. He was also appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to science in 2010. Among many awards, Professor Bradley received the European Union Descartes Prize in 2003 and the Royal Society Brian Mercer Award for Innovation in 2007. He was also awarded the Faraday Medals of both the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Institute of Physics. In 2010, he received one of the Royal Society’s premier awards, the Bakerian Medal and Lecture. In 2013, he was further appointed a Trustee of the Rank Prize Funds and Chairman of their Optoelectronics Advisory Committee.
Professor Donal Bradley’s friendship with Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) began when he first visited the University in 2011 and spent three days at the Department of Physics and Institute of Advanced Materials. It was during that visit that Professor Bradley and Professor Cheah Kok Wai came up with the idea of organising an annual exchange workshop between Institute of Advanced Materials, HKBU, and Center for Plastic Electronics, Imperial College. The idea very quickly evolved into an annual tri-party─Institute of Advanced Materials, Center for Plastic Electronics and Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences—workshop on advances in organic electronics. In the past six years, Professor Bradley has not only been involved in the tri-party workshop, he also served as an Academic Advisor and is currently the Adjunct Chair Professor of the Department of Physics. As a close friend of HKBU and a strong supporter of our research, Professor Bradley visits HKBU regularly and encourages our students to study in the UK. As a result, two HKBU Physics graduates have embarked on PhD study at Imperial College and the University of Oxford. Today, the bond between HKBU and Professor Bradley will become even closer as he becomes our alumnus.
Professor Donal D C Bradley is an internationally acclaimed plastic electronics expert. With his devotion and untiring efforts to scientific research, he has made remarkable contributions to the development of science and technology, and received prestigious recognition for his extraordinary academic and research achievements.