Martyn Poliakoff, the Nottingham chemist, YouTube hit and elder brother of playwright Stephen, has been appointed Britain's science ambassador.
Professor Poliakoff, 63, will promote British science abroad as part of his new role as the Royal Society's "foreign secretary". He said: "In this time, when science and engineering is under threat in the UK, I hope I can counter this and allow British science to triumph."
Professor Poliakoff became an internet sensation in 2007 when he starred in films about the periodic table.
He put his success down partly to his "stereotypical scientist" looks, which include an eccentric hairstyle and thick-rimmed glasses.
The Poliakoff brothers are great-nephews of Lilian Montagu, who founded Liberal Judaism, and the great-grandsons of Samuel Montagu, one of the first Jewish MPs.