The ConversationConversation

Article on Sulfur polymers.




Bright Club


Bright Club is an interesting UCL Public engagement event that needs a bit of explanation..

The event takes place in a pub and is hosted by a comedian. The idea is that academics have a 10 minute slot to try to teach / convey some form of their science in an amusing and slightly off the cuff sort of a way.It is geared towards a sector of the community that is otherwise untargeted by UCL. These are the people who probably wouldn’t turn up to lectures and other events.



bc3-3x2The event I was involved in was called “Film” and rather than talking about cinema and blockbusters I was there to talk about functional thin films.

Possibly the most scary public speaking event that I have ever been involved with through work. Trying to mix science with stand up comedy was in my mind a recipe for disaster..

It went really well and was received in good spirit.

In the bc1-3x2recording you should note that the sound track has come directly off my microphone so if you can hear the audience laughing then it is for real.. I’d highly recommend it to anyone, both to go and visit for a laugh and to take part on stage.





Welcome Trust Packed Lunch

This is an interview with an audience about an interesting piece of science. The title was Charlie Dunnill on glass.

Self-cleaning glass – such as the roof of St Pancras station – has revolutionised architecture. UCL materials scientist Charlie Dunnill is taking this technology one step further, and hopes that one day it may be used to kill bugs. He talks to the Welcome Trust’s Hugh Blackbourn about how materials science is paving the way for more hygienic conditions in our hospitals.


Welcome Trust Elements

elements3x2 This is an amazing public hands on demonstration where we show some cool science based on a theme. In the year of the Olympics we did Gold, Silver and Bronze.  My experiment demo was to show people how to make a silver mirror in a test tube using classic A-level syllabus chemistry and let them take home their very own silver.  The year before I had some really cool glass tubes that I had made containing Iodine allowing members of the public to see the sublimation and recrystallisation of iodine using a heat gun. Andrea Sella’s video on Elements

Salters Challenge

Esalters-3x2very year I am one of the Judges for the Salters challenge at UCL Chemistry. On two consecutive days more than 100 year 7 and 8 school students come and solve a forensic puzzle using practical chemistry in the morning and perform a second challenge in the afternoon. It is an amazing opportunity to really get enthusiastic and inspire school children to get involved in practical chemistry.


Hydrogen as an “Energy Vector” – The Hydrogen Bike

I am in the process or trying to set up a out reach display that will involve the use of hydrogen as an energy vector.   The display consists of a number of things including:

  • Exercise bike attached to a dynamo.
  • Water splitting device to store the energy as hydrogen.
  • Hydrogen burner so you can actually light your own hydrogen flame.
  • Full risk assessments and training for users.

See our Facebook page for interactions.