Tom was born in South Shields, in the North-East of England, in 1986. He read the Natural Sciences Tripos at the University of Cambridge, specialising in Chemistry and gaining a 1st class MSci (Hons) in 2008. He then moved across to the Materials Science and Metallurgy Department, to study the physical properties of porous hybrid frameworks under Professor Anthony Cheetham FRS.
A 3 year Research Fellowship at Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge followed, alongside lecturing some of the 1B Materials Chemistry course at the department. He started a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 2016, along with a visiting adjunct professor position at The Wuhan University of Technology and a visiting scientist position at CSIRO Melbourne. The research group is best known for the discovery of hybrid melt-quenched glasses, and seminal works exploring the interface of the coordination polymer, MOF and glass domains.
In his career to date, Tom has been fortunate enough to receive the EPSRC post-doctoral prize (2012), the Panalytical award for an outstanding contribution to X-ray diffraction (2013), the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source Science Impact Award (2018), the Woldemar A. Weyl award for glass science (2019), the Philip Leverhulme Prize in Chemistry (2019) and the Royal Society of Chemistry Harrison Meldola Memorial Prize (2020).
He has spent research stays in both the University of Kyoto (hosted by Prof. Susumu Kitagawa and Prof. Satoshi Horike), and the University of Canterbury, New Zealand (hosted by Prof. Paul Kruger). He is also vice-Chair of the International Zeolite Association Commission on MOFs and chair of the Royal Society of Chemistry Interest Group on Porous Materials. The committee were awarded the inspirational committee award by the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2021. This was for admitting over 300 members as the RSC’s newest interest group, and organisation of events during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tom is passionate regarding outreach activities, and frequently gives talks on access to higher education. He loves hiking, camping, and river crossings.