Charles Rupert McIntyre Prize 2023

Congratulations to third year PhD student Lucinda Wilson, who has been named the first winner of the Charles Rupert McIntyre Prize

Lucinda is pursuing her PhD research within the Brechin group. She was presented with the prize at the Joseph Black Conference last month in recognition of her outstanding research.

The prize has been established in memory of Dr Charles Rupert McIntyre, an alumnus of the University of Edinburgh School of Chemistry, to reward the research excellence of postgraduate students in the School.

A winner is selected each year by the School’s Postgraduate Committee based on their research outputs and scientific contributions to the field of research. Students must also demonstrate their own intellectual contribution to the project, and their role in enhancing exchange of knowledge with collaborators, partners, and the wider academic community, including those outwith their immediate field of research.

Lucinda profile photo

It’s been very exciting receiving this prize and getting recognition for our high-symmetry work. I’m super grateful for the Brechin group and all our collaborators who have contributed.


We are delighted that Lucinda has been awarded the McIntyre PGR Prize in recognition of her outstanding research and contribution to the field of coordination chemistry. Congratulations Lucinda on your impressive achievement!


The School of Chemistry is grateful to Fujifilm Imaging Colorants for generously sponsoring this prize in Dr McIntyre’s memory.

Research Summary

Molecules described by high-symmetry polyhedra (e.g. Archimedean, Platonic, Keplerate) represent ideal species for examining geometric spin frustration, as they possess odd and even numbered faces which prevent the antiparallel alignment of antiferromagnetically coupled spins. The team used p-tert-butylcalix[4]arene (TBC[4]), an organic ligand possessing a tetraphenolic lower-rim predisposed to metal bonding, and its derivatives to access different Archimedean/Keplerate polyhedra and study their magnetic properties.

By combining TBC[4] with FeCl2.4H2O in a high-pressure, high-temperature environment, Lucinda and the team were able to synthesise the first ferric stellated cuboctahedron, [FeIII18(TBC[4])4(O)14(OH)8 (dmf)4(H2O)2]Cl2 (1). Similar synthetic conditions were employed with a thiolated derivative of TBC[4] (TC[4]A) and CuCl2.2H2O to yield the truncated octahedron [CuII24(TC[4]A)6(Cl)6(CO3)6(OH)6(dmf)6] (2). As expected for such high-symmetry geometries, the magnetic properties of both 1 and 2 displayed significant spin frustration, a phenomenon known to lead to interesting energy spectrum and magnetic properties (e.g. ground-state degeneracy, low-lying ground states, unusual magnetisation jumps and attractive magnetocaloric properties). This makes them both academically interesting and potentially useful for application in, for example, cryogenic refrigeration.

Lucinda Wilson research image