Tuesday 22 September 2020

Prof. Andrew Dove

“A Sustainable Future with Plastic”, Professor Andrew Dove, University of Birmingham.

Due to the environmental impact of their improper disposal, there is growing pressure to rethink our use of, and dependency on, plastics – especially single use plastics. Indeed, since the build-up of plastics in the ocean was highlighted by the BBC’s Blue Planet II in late 2017, there has been a backlash against their use with some even demanding the creation of a plastic-free world. While plastics pose undeniable environmental challenges, they also enhance our lives and contribute to global progress. Their lightweight nature, excellent barrier properties and ductility help reduce carbon emissions and food waste thus providing a potential net positive to the environment. This talk will discuss these concepts as well as focus on how Chemistry can help create a sustainable future with plastic through improved materials and chemical recycling.

Tuesday 22 September 2020

Elizabeth Driscoll, University of Birmingham.

Since the turn of the century, rechargeable batteries are found everywhere in day-to-day life: smart phones, laptops and (more recently) electric vehicles. The chemistry underpinning all these applications, makes use of Li-ion batteries. Although 30 years on from the initial design of this technology, the push for more efficient energy storage devices remains heavily in the spotlight for both consumer devices, transport and large-scale grid applications. The current challenges posed with increased interest and uptake, whilst lithium reserve poses future limitations, requires understanding the application’s requirements whilst mitigating the advancing climate crisis. In this talk I will cover how these batteries work using a Jenga to show the shuffling motioning, in addition to some key characteristics such as rate of charge and degradation, whilst relating the application back to electrochemical and redox potentials. The remainder of the lecture will then cover where research efforts are currently focusing, from high power applications for EV to Na-ion batteries, before concluding with the recycling efforts at the University.

Tuesday 29 September 2020

Dr John Snaith


Chemistry is the cornerstone in the continuing search for new medicines. Since the efforts of William Henry Perkin to synthesise the antimalarial quinine in the mid nineteenth century, chemists have used their skills to prepare compounds for the treatment of disease. This talk will start with a brief review of the treatment of ailments through the ages, and from there go on to look at the work of Perkin which led others to the discovery of the sulphonamide antibiotics. The many roles played by chemists in the modern drug discovery process will be considered, looking at how chemical synthesis, natural product isolation, and genome data are used to generate promising compounds, and how these are developed into successful drugs.

Tuesday 3 November 2020

Professor Richard Tuckett,


No spin or soundbites here – it’s time to get to grips with the greenhouse effect, global warming, ozone depletion and climate change, and discover how such environmental issues influence United Kingdom and International Policy. Perhaps all may not be a simple as it seems. You will be made aware of the problems that face the planet. Rest assured, we are in good hands, our politicians are scientifically literate .

Richard Tuckett has just retired as Professor of Chemical Physics at the University of Birmingham, he now holds an Emeritus position. His research area is high resolution gas-phase spectroscopy and reaction dynamics, especially of molecular cations created by tunable vacuum-UV radiation from a synchrotron. Recent studies have centred on long-lived greenhouse gases, leading to a subsiduary interest in atmospheric chemistry, climate change and energy consumption. He has talked extensively on this subject throughout the UK. His views might seem controversial to some, others have said they are plain common-sense. You choose!

Tuesday 17 November 2020

Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff (University of Nottingham)


Sir Martyn Poliakoff is a Research Professor of Chemistry at the University of Nottingham where he teaches green chemistry. Originally an inorganic chemist, he has researched in many different areas and his published work involves more than 50 different elements. In recent years, Sir Martyn has become well known for his collaboration with videomaker Brady Haran, making the Periodic Table of Videos on YouTube, www.periodicvideos.com

Tuesday 1 December 2020

Dr Tom Smith, CarnDu Limited


“Remember, Remember the 5th of November ….” A pyrotechnical extravaganza of colour, light and sound, bangs, whistles, explosions and sparks. Or yet another quiet evening at home?