Tom was born in South Shields, in the North-East of England, in 1986. After attending Harton Comprehensive, he read the Natural Sciences Tripos at the University of Cambridge, specialising in Chemistry and gaining a 1st class MSci (Hons) in 2008. Tom then switched to the Materials Science and Metallurgy Department to study the physical properties of porous hybrid frameworks under Professor Anthony Cheetham FRS.
A 3 year Research Fellowship at Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge followed, looking at the utility of the structural collapse of hybrid frameworks and lecturing some of the 1B Materials Chemistry course at the department. He has been fortunate enough to receive the EPSRC post-doctoral prize (2012), the Panalytical award for an outstanding contribution to X-ray diffraction (2013), the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source Science Impact Award (2018), and the Woldemar A. Weyl award for glass science (2019).
He started a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 2016, along with a visiting adjunct professor position at The Wuhan University of Technology. He also holds a visiting scientist position at CSIRO Melbourne. He is chair of the Royal Society of Interest Group on Porous Materials.
Finally, Tom is passionate regarding outreach activities, and frequently gives talks on access to higher education.