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Manchester United figure honoured

Published: 21st September 2005

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Dr Les Kershaw was honoured this week by the Royal Society of Chemistry

BECKHAM, Giggs and Scholes are among his protégés, but he also taught hundreds of students at MMU.

Former lecturer and current director of Manchester United's Youth Academy Dr Les Kershaw was honoured this week by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Les who received the President's Award at a ceremony at the Faculty of Science and Engineering on Tuesday, September 20 has been acclaimed for his ground-breaking work with the youth team where he has transferred his analytical powers to the football field.

Dr Kershaw was recruited from MMU by Sir Alex Ferguson who had recognised and valued his powers of objectivity and dedication serving as a part-time scout for Arsenal under George Graham.

From that early alliance between manager and chemist Dr Kershaw rose to become head of the Manchester United Football Academy, regarded around the world as an exemplar of good practice and a platform for the club’s outstanding domestic and international success in the 1990s and beyond.

Scientific skills

The Royal Society of Chemistry said: "Dr Kershaw has been a contributor to RSC work and teaching for several decades and he has demonstrated that the observational and logical skills of a scientist can also be employed in many other fields of endeavour including sport."

The award will mark in particular work undertaken by Les Kershaw at Manchester United when the club hosted a science workshop at Carrington for more than 500 local children who were able to learn about the celebrated C60 (‘Buckyball’) molecule.

The event with Sir Alex Ferguson and 'Buckyball' discoverer Sir Harry Kroto stirred tremendous interest in chemistry in the north-west and is now viewed as a model method of transmitting the essence of science to the young.

The award was presented to Dr Kershaw by Dr Simon Campbell whose work led to the discovery of Viagra.

Note: The Royal Society of Chemistry is the UK Professional body for chemical scientists and an international Learned Society for the chemical sciences with 45,000 members worldwide. It is a major international publisher of chemical information, supports the teaching the chemical sciences at all levels and is a leader in bringing science to the public.