Professor Michael Lynch

BSc, PhD, RChem, FInstInfSc, MBCS

Information School

Professor Emeritus


After obtaining my B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry from University College, Dublin in 1954 and 1957, I worked for two years in industry before joining the staff of Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), a Division of the American Chemical Society, in Columbus, Ohio in the USA, in 1961, where I became Head of the Basic Research Department. I returned to the UK in 1965 to become a teacher and researcher in what was then the Postgraduate School of Librarianship and Information Science (now the Information School), a post that I held until my retirement in 1995.

In 1989, I was awarded the Skolnik Award of the American Chemical Society "for pioneering research of more than two decades on the development of methods for the storage, manipulation, and retrieval of chemical structures and reactions as well as related bibliographic information, including generic structure storage and retrieval, automatic subject indexing, articulated subject index production, document retrieval system, and database management."

I was Honorary President of the Chemical Structure Association, which awards the triennial CSA Trust Mike Lynch Award among others.

Research interests

My research interests centered on the characterization of data structures implicit in records of information, both in relation to databases of text and of chemical structures, and on applying these data structures for the development of algorithms which might then lead to useful applications. Among the applications resulting from this work are text compression, as well as methods for searching databases of chemical substances for substructures, the identification of changes due to chemical reactions, and the design of improved chemical patent information systems. Much of the research was funded by the information industry, and has been influential in the design of present-day systems.

I have produced more than 140 research publications and several textbooks, and travelled widely to teach and report on research activities. I have supervised 12 PhD students.