Interview: Lampitt Medal winner John Brown

22 September 2020

Mr John Brown is this year’s Lampitt Medal winner. He is a longstanding member, Past Honorary Treasurer and Past Chair of the Finance and Investments Advisory Committee. Having made significant contributions to establishing the London Group and to Charter SCI By-Laws, he has also brought business into SCI HQ. Here, John describes his involvement and experiences at SCI.

Why did you decide to become a member of SCI?
I had just left University in Nottingham and moved to London to train as a Patent Agent (as Patent Attorneys were known at that time). I felt that, of the SCI offerings, Chemistry & Industry especially would be useful.

Why did you decide to get involved in SCI activities?
For networking and to keep abreast of scientific developments. I have also enjoyed a number of social events.

What has driven your long-term involvement with SCI?
My desire to see SCI run efficiently for the long-term benefit of others by the application of chemistry. I also enjoyed the social side of membership of SCI. In the past, there used to be many more social events organised by SCI for members than have been organised in recent times.

How has your involvement with the Society reflected (or combined with) your professional interests?
It did not really, at least not to any significant way, except for the information obtained from Chemistry & Industry and friendships made.

Has your professional career been shaped or influenced in any way by your involvement with SCI?

What makes you excited to continue to participate in SCI activities?
Giving back something to society, by helping a worthwhile charity, and meeting other like-minded people.

How do you think your contribution has helped shape SCI?
My main contributions to SCI are related to governance generally and financial matters, in particular serving on the Council and then BoT for many years. This including nearly seven years as chairman of FIAC and Honorary Treasurer of SCI. I also had a significant part in the revision of SCI Governance, which resulted in a major revision in 2011 of the Charter, By-Laws and Rules of SCI. I have also aided SCI with Patent Law and Trademark issues.

What would you like to see SCI become in the future? Where are our biggest opportunities?
I would like SCI to become less large-business centric and do more to directly assist and involve individual members.

How do you feel about being recognised as a Lampitt Medallist?
GREAT!! It feels particularly good because my wife was awarded the Lampitt Medal back in 2012 and I think that we must be the first married couple to have both been honoured with this award.

What inspires and motivates you?
Travelling and horse-racing! Pre the virus pandemic, I was very often travelling, either in the UK or somewhere overseas. I am a breeder as well as an owner of race horses. I am also a Parish Councillor, as well as the treasurer of a small local charity helping disabled people in many ways.

What advice would you give to someone looking to get more involved with SCI?
Join a group and contribute! It does not matter if the Group is a Technical one or a Regional one – just join at least one and be active. There are now fewer Regional Groups than there used to be, but it is often easier to be active in a relatively local Regional Group than in a Technical Group which may normally meet far from where you live/work.

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