Arcadia Scotland Summer STEM Research (University of Glasgow) Students meet Nobel Prize winning Chemist!

Dr. Hamish Thompson Resident Director


June 29, 2022

As part of the orientation for the University of Glasgow Summer Research STEM program, I led the students on a tour of the National Museum of Scotland for an introduction to the history of science in Scotland. As part of the tour I showed them the medals of Sir Alexander Fleming.

Orientation Tour of NMS

Little did I think that Nobel Prize winning, Scottish born and educated, Professor David MacMillan (Princeton University) would meet with some of our Summer Research STEM students after he gave a talk at the University of Glasgow. The chemistry research students got the chance to meet him at a post talk reception and hold his Nobel Prize medal! These are some of the kinds of experiences students may have when studying at such superb Scottish research institutions like the University of Glasgow.

Here are some thoughts of Natalie Miller (University of Michigan) -

“Rachel Kallianis (University of Michigan), George Dering (University of Michigan), and I were able to meet Prof David MacMillan because of our association with the University of Glasgow chemistry department. This year it is the department’s 275th anniversary, so they had a week of alumni talks and seminars. Last week we attended multiple talks provided by chemists who attended the University of Glasgow for their undergraduate, graduate, postdoc, or were a part of the faculty. 

Prof David MacMillan completed his undergraduate here so he gracefully gave a talk on his life story, the chemistry that won him the Nobel Prize, and also his experience when he found out he had won. There was a reception after the talk where we were able to talk directly with him and also take pictures.

When I learned that I would be attending the talk of a Nobel Prize winner, I was excited but it was not really ground breaking until I listened to Prof David MacMillan’s talk. However, I was deeply moved by his story about his humble beginnings to the epiphany about his research interests in asymmetric organocatalysis. I became quite a “fangirl” when I was able to meet him individually and take a picture with him! It’s like meeting a celebrity especially as a chemistry student who still has their whole career ahead of them.”