Polly L. Arnold

Hans Fischer Senior Fellow

The University of Edinburgh

Chair of Synthetic Inorganic Chemistry

Fritz E. Kühn

Focus Group
C-H Activation Chemistry

Short CV

Polly L. Arnold obtained a BA from Oxford in 1994 and D.Phil in 1997 from Sussex. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for postdoctoral research at MIT, and returned to the UK to a lectureship at the University of Nottingham in 1999. She moved to the University of Edinburgh 2007, and was promoted to Chair in 2009. She is also currently an EPSRC Leadership Fellow. Other recent research awards include the Bessel Prize from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Chancellor's prize of the University of Edinburgh, and the Sir Edward Frankland Prize Lectureship from the UK Royal Society of Chemistry.

Selected Awards

2011 Visiting Professorship, University of Lille

2009-2014 EPSRC Leadership Fellowship

2008 The Chancellor's Prize, 'Rising Star'

2008; University of Edinburgh. Awarded annually by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh to a member of the University with the most potential for future international research excellence

2008 Sir Edward Frankland Prize Lectureship, RSC. Prize of £2000 and an award lecture

2007 Humboldt Foundation, Friederich Wilhelm Bessel award. This award is made annually to ten promising scientists under the age of 45. Prize of €45,000, and a research sabbatical at the RWTH Aachen, whose Chemistry department is ranked 2nd in Germany.

2000-2005 EPSRC Advanced Fellowship

1999 Novartis Prize for Public Appreciation of Science

1997-1998 Fulbright Scholarship

Research Interests

Her research is focused on exploratory synthetic chemistry that challenges preconceived ideas of structure, reactivity, and bonding particularly in electropositive d- and f-block metal systems. Her group is recognized particularly for f-block chemistry and innovative catalytic transformations and in the activation of small, unreactive molecules such as carbon monoxide, silanes and hydrocarbons. The studies made in her group on fundamental structure and bonding have ramifications across synthetic chemistry as a whole. This research hopes to contribute to future worldwide energy solutions with new knowledge about uranium and its neighbours in nuclear fuel and wastes, and new catalytic conversions of hydrocarbons and simple carbon oxides and oxygenates into new materials.

Selected Publications

  • Arnold, Polly L.; Turner, Zoë R.; Bellabarba, Ronan; Tooze, Robert P.: Carbon–Silicon and Carbon–Carbon Bond Formation by Elimination Reactions at Metal N-Heterocyclic Carbene Complexes. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 133 (30), 2011, 11744-11756.
  • Mansell, Stephen M.; Kaltsoyannis, Nikolas; Arnold, Polly L.: Small Molecule Activation by Uranium Tris(aryloxides): Experimental and Computational Studies of Binding of N 2 , Coupling of CO, and Deoxygenation Insertion of CO 2 under Ambient Conditions. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 133 (23), 2011, 9036-9051.
  • Arnold, Polly L.: Uranium-mediated activation of small molecules. Chemical Communications 47 (32), 2011, 9005.
  • Arnold, Polly L.; Hollis, Emmalina; White, Fraser J.; Magnani, Nicola; Caciuffo, Roberto; Love, Jason B.: Single-Electron Uranyl Reduction by a Rare-Earth Cation. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 50 (4), 2010, 887-890.
  • Arnold, Polly L.; Pécharman, Anne-Frédérique; Hollis, Emmalina; Yahia, Ahmed; Maron, Laurent; Parsons, Simon; Love, Jason B.: Uranyl oxo activation and functionalization by metal cation coordination. Nature Chemistry 2 (12), 2010, 1056-1061.
  • Turner, Zoë R.; Bellabarba, Ronan; Tooze, Robert P.; Arnold, Polly L.: Addition-Elimination Reactions across the M−C Bond of Metal N-Heterocyclic Carbenes. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 132 (12), 2010, 4050-4051.
  • Arnold, Polly L.; Buffet, Jean-Charles; Blaudeck, Robert P.; Sujecki, Slawomir; Blake, Alexander J.; Wilson, Claire: C 3 -Symmetric Lanthanide Tris(alkoxide) Complexes Formed by Preferential Complexation and Their Stereoselective Polymerization of rac -Lactide. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 47 (32), 2008, 6033-6036.
  • Arnold, Polly L.; Patel, Dipti; Wilson, Claire; Love, Jason B.: Reduction and selective oxo group silylation of the uranyl dication. Nature 451 (7176), 2008, 315-317.
  • Patel, D.; Liddle, S. T.; Mungur, S.A.; Rodden, M.; Blake, A.J.; Arnold, P.L.: Bifunctional yttrium(III) and titanium(IV) N-heterocyclic carbene-ligated lactide polymerization catalysts. Chemical Communications 1124, 2006.
  • Arnold, Polly L.; Scarisbrick, Andrew C.; Blake, Alexander J.; Wilson, Claire: Chemical Communications (22), 2001, 2340-2341.

Publications as TUM-IAS-Fellow


  • Arnold, Polly L.; Prescimone, Alessandro; Farnaby, Joy H.; Mansell, Stephen M.; Parsons, Simon; Kaltsoyannis, Nikolas: Characterizing Pressure-Induced Uranium C-H Agostic Bonds. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 54 (23), 2015, 6735-6739 mehr… BibTeX Volltext ( DOI )


  • Arnold, Polly L.; McMullon, Max W.; Rieb, Julia; Kühn, Fritz E.: CH Bond Activation by f-Block Complexes. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 54 (1), 2014, 82-100 mehr… BibTeX Volltext ( DOI )


  • Arnold, Polly L.; Jones, Guy M.; Odoh, Samuel O.; Schreckenbach, Georg; Magnani, Nicola; Love, Jason B.: Strongly coupled binuclear uranium-oxo complexes from uranyl oxo rearrangement and reductive silylation. Nature Chemistry 4 (3), 2012, 221-227 mehr… BibTeX Volltext ( DOI )
  • Arnold, Polly L.; Mansell, Stephen M.; Maron, Laurent; McKay, David: Spontaneous reduction and C-H borylation of arenes mediated by uranium(III) disproportionation. Nature Chemistry 4 (8), 2012, 668-674 mehr… BibTeX Volltext ( DOI )