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Cecile Dreiss 2Colloid science is a very broad and dynamic topic, spanning a wide range of areas within soft matter, from classical dispersions and surfactants, to biological interfaces and biocolloids, nanoparticles for drug delivery, formulation science, self-assembled systems, ‘smart’ materials and active matter. We are keen to hear from anyone with an interest in colloid science: chemists, engineers, physicists, biologists, pharmacists, food scientists - and we welcome you to our meetings!

This committee has a long history. The CSCG (SCI) was founded in 1958 by Sir Eric Rideal to support the growing importance of colloids and surface chemistry in industry. In 1971, Ron Ottewill, Geoff Parfitt and Dennis Haydon created the CISG within the Faraday Society, in response to the increasing number of colloid centres within academia. In 2002 the two groups joined to form the "Joint Colloids Group" (JCG) and provide a coherent focus for the UK colloid and interface science community, both in academia and industry.

The Joint Colloids Group runs various scientific events, from one-day meetings to a triennial multi-day international conference (UK Colloids, since 2011). We also support bursaries for attendance at UK and worldwide meetings through the Rideal Trust. We administer three awards: the McBain Medal, the Thomas Graham Lecture and the Rideal Lecture, which recognise researchers through the different stages of their career (further detail can be found on this website).

Your support, input and suggestions are highly appreciated, whether as a speaker, delegate or sponsor, an established scientist, a PhD student or an early career researcher. If you are interested in becoming involved, please do contact us. We look forward to meeting you at our events.

Cécile Dreiss, Chair of the Joint Colloids Group

Making and breaking colloidal assemblies: Using chemical, physical, and mechanical stimuli to control soft matter

McBain Medal Meeting 2018

SCI, Belgrave Square, London, UK Tuesday 11 December 2018

Organised by SCI's Colloid & Surface Chemistry Group and RSC's Colloid & Interface Science Group

The meeting will be of interest to both industrial and academic researchers, particularly those from colloid chemistry, soft matter physics and chemical engineering backgrounds working in functional, responsive, and self-healing materials; controlled release; tuneable soft materials and soft actuation. The meeting will focus on fundamental aspects that underpin applications in formulations, catalysis, soft robotics, nanomaterials processing and more.  In addition to hearing great presentations and the opportunity to contribute a poster, there is plenty scope for networking to catch up with old friends and make new ones.

Synopsis This meeting showcases outstanding soft matter scientists describing some of their recent research in a programme constructed by Dr Valeria Garbin of Imperial College London.  Dr Garbin is the 2018 recipient of the McBain Medal and her lecture and the presentation of the award conclude the meeting.  Dr Garbin’s research programme focuses on fundamental aspects of microscale transport phenomena in soft and biological matter. Her team has performed the first measurement of steric interactions between nanoparticles at fluid interfaces, discovered new mechanisms of the removal of nanoparticles from fluid interfaces, and pioneered the use of optical tweezers to manipulate biocolloids for ultrasound medical imaging. The McBain Medal is presented annually to an early career researcher (within 15 years of the award of a PhD) for outstanding achievement in colloid and interface science. 

The full program can be found in this link.

For more information and to register go to

Tharwat Tadros

Obituary: Tharwat F. Tadro 

Tharwat Tadros died on 23rd May 2018. He was born in 1937 in Kena, near Luxor, in Upper Egypt. He subsequently attended Alexandria University where he obtained a first-class honours B.Sc. Degree in 1956 – aged 19! He then carried out postgraduate research in electrochemistry with Professor Sadek in Alexandria., after which he was appointed to a lectureship in chemistry at the same university. In 1966 he took up a two-year visiting co-worker position with Professor Hans Lyklema at the Agricultural University in Wageningen, the Netherlands. There he worked on the electrochemical properties of the porous silica /aqueous electrolyte interface. Afterwards, instead of returning to his position in Alexandria, Tharwat accepted a job with TNO in Delft. The main reason was that in Wageningen he had met Wikie Buter, whom he married in 1969 in Wassenaar. Later that year they moved to the UK, where Tharwat began his long association with ICI Plant Protection Division at Jealott’s Hill in Berkshire. 

Tharwat soon established a strong product development team at Jealott’s Hill. Moreover, he was encouraged at that time to make contacts with academic groups to pursue more fundamental studies. Many such long-lasting collaborations were set up, including with Bristol, Imperial College, Liverpool, Nottingham, Reading, Wageningen, Groningen, Barcelona, Sofia and Crackow. This produced a great many PhD graduates and postdocs, whom Tharwat co-supervised. He also had many UK and overseas visitors as research co-workers in his laboratory. Tharwat was appointed as a visiting professor in at least three universities: Imperial College, Bristol and Reading. He gained a strong international reputation as a leading authority on many aspects of both pure and applied colloid and interface science. He published around 300 papers and authored, co-authored or edited some 20 books in the field! He was frequently asked to give both individual lectures and industrial teaching causes in this area. His lecturing style was unforgettable and unique, but much appreciated by those listening! For example, in the old days, when overhead transparencies were the main form of visual aid, Tharwat would arrive at a venue and pull out a great wad of such transparencies from his briefcase. He would then select from this collection, as the lecture proceeded, those that he thought would be suitable for the topic and audience he was addressing. He would frequently modify a transparency or construct a new one as he went along!

When some of the former speciality chemical businesses of ICI were split off, as Zeneca, Tharwat stayed on at Jealotts Hill in the newly formed Zeneca Agrochemicals business. This subsequently became the present-day Syngenta Company. Even after he formally retired in 1994, Tharwat remained as a consultant for this company and others and continued to give short-courses on many topics, travelling all over the world. He was much in demand! Tharwat was President of the International Association of Colloid and Interface Scientists from 1990 to 1992. He served on the SCI surface and colloid chemistry section committee for some 15 years, being chair from 1987 to 1989. He was presented with a number of awards and medals. These included: the RSC Colloid and Surface Chemistry Medal in 1989; the RSC Silver Medal and Industrial Lectureship in 1990; and the SCI Founders Lecture (now the joint RSC/SCI Rideal Lecture) in 1991. Tharwat and Wikie were very proud of their family in the UK. Tharwat also strongly supported his family back in Egypt.  Moreover, he was truly one of the” father figures” of colloid and surface science. Many people around the world, not least myself, have reason to be grateful to him for his continued support and friendship down the years.
Brian Vincent, Bristol University.

Sir Eric Rideal Travel Bursaries

The Sir Eric Rideal Travel Bursaries are a joint bursary between the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Society of Chemical Industry. It provides funds for attendance at a conference in the field of colloid and surface science.

Sir Eric Rideal (1890–1974) was the founding Chair of the RSC Colloid and Interface Science Group.

The Rideal Trust annually offers financial assistance to promising academic research workers in the general field of colloid and surface science to attend conferences and/or to visit relevant research institutions.

Awards of up to £500 will be made on a competitive basis to assist with travel and/or subsistence and/or conference registration fees.

There are two closing dates for applications each year:

  • 15 April (for travel planned between 1 June and 31 December)
  • 15 October (for travel planned between 1 December and 30 June).

Please see the Rideal Bursary page on the SCI’s website for specifics.

Follow the Joint Colloids Group on Twitter

The Joint Colloids group has established a Twitter handle. Follow us on @ColloidsGroup to keep up-to-date with news and events for the UK colloids and surface science community.

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You can become a member by joining one of the two groups:

SCI Colloid & Surface Chemistry Group (CSCG).

RSC Colloid & Interface Science Group (CISG).

The former is open to SCI members only. The latter is open both to RSC members and associates AND to scientists and engineers who belong, either, to a chartered professional or learned body from outside the chemical sciences, or to another chemical society with whom the RSC has entered into an international partnership agreement approved by RSC Council. Non-RSC members of CISG pay RSC a small annual fee to cover administration and postage.


For information on how to become a member of the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) or Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) please see the links below: 

Non-members of RSC wishing to join CISG should contact the RSC Membership Dept. (contact details at, asking to join the Colloid & Interface Science Interest Group, only, and mentioning their own affiliation.  The membership administration fee is £10 currently. In case of difficulty please contact a member of the Joint Committee.