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Prof David Phillips

Prof David Phillips

Kirsty Young's castaway is the President of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Professor David Phillips.

His love of science has taken him on an extraordinary journey. At the height of the Cold War, he swapped a post in America for a place at the Academy of Sciences in Moscow, where he partied with the Bolshoi and was interrogated by the KGB. He is also Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at Imperial College, but, despite his eminence, he admits his students had a 'professor button' fitted onto their hi-tech lasers. It was, he explains, a knob he could twiddle while showing visitors around the lab, but it wasn't connected to the machinery and meant he didn't ruin his students' experiments.

Record: The Marriage of Figaro
Book: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Luxury: A piano with music

Producer: Leanne Buckle.