Professor Sir Richard Friend is one of today’s great physicists. Born on January 18, 1953 in London, he graduated from Trinity College in 1974 with a BA (First Class) in Theoretical Physics and obtained his Ph.D. from the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge in 1978. He joined the Faculty of the Department of Physics at Cambridge since 1980 and is currently holding the prestigious Cavendish Professorship of Physics at that university. He is also a Fellow of St. John’s College and Chairman of the Council of the School of Physical Sciences at the University of Cambridge and the Tan Chin Tuan Centennial Professor at the National University of Singapore. In addition, he is a principal investigator in the Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration (IRC) on Nanotechnology in Cambridge, founder and Chief Scientist of Cambridge Display Technology Ltd. and Consultant at Plastic Logic Ltd.
Professor Friend’s pioneering work on the semiconductor physics of conjugated polymers has had a profound impact on physics and beyond. He has essentially invented a new type of electronics using organic semiconductors and persisted with their development into polymer light-emitting diodes that are now widely used and offer the potential of cheaper, larger and flexible displays. He continues to develop polymer photovoltaics and directly printed polymer transistors. He authored around 700 publications in peerreviewed journals, and more than 20 patents. The Institute for Scientific Information identified him as the most cited physics scientist in the UK for the decade 1990-1999 and is currently one of the two most cited physicists in his country (~ 39,000 citations).
Professor Friend received numerous awards and honors. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, Fellow of the Royal Society of Engineering, Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Physics, Honorary Fellow of Trinity College (Cambridge) and Honorary Fellow of the University of Wales (Bangor). He holds honorary doctorate degrees from the universities of Linkoping (Sweden), Mons-Hainaut (Belgium) Heriot-Watt (Edinburgh) and Radboud Nijmegan (Netherlands). He is also the recipient of many prizes including the prestigious Rumford Medal of the Royal Society of London, Silver Medal of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Faraday Medal of the Institute of Electrical Engineers, Gold Medal of the European Material Research Society and Descartes Prize of the European Commission, in addition to the King Faisal International Prize for Science. He was knighted in 2003 for his services to physics.
In 2010, he was elected as one of the three laureates of Millennium Technology Prize for his development of plastic electronics.
Professor Friend, has been awarded the prize in recognition of his pioneering research on the physics and engineering of semi-conductor devices made of plastic materials. The fabrication of these devices and circuits by ink jet printing that he has introduced is radically different from the traditional manufacturing technology and has paved the way for the development of a wide range of applications of plastic semiconductor devices.