For as long as I can remember, I have loved chemistry and been infuriated by people who, when I tell them that I am a chemist, reply that they always hated chemistry or were completely rubbish at it. Come on! If you tell me you’re an accountant, do I tell you that I think it’s boring or that I can’t do arithmetic?
Chemistry is one of the cornerstones of our world and whether you like it or not you are made of “chemicals”. I want people to embrace chemistry, one of the key ways that we can transform our world. And I try to do this by doing public science, either on stage (especially through the Cheltenham Science Festival), in print or through TV and radio.
In my research, I worry a lot about the lanthanides (or rare earths), exotic-sounding elements at the bottom of the periodic table but which light up our world. You can hear more about this in my Life Scientific interview recorded in 2012. I am basically a synthetic chemist, which means that I am interested in making stuff and studying its properties. I also make materials made of carbon, silicon or germanium that have unusual properties. You can check out my UCL webpage.
This blog will focus on chemistry that catches my eye, science communication, cycling, and issues related to energy policy, and climate change.