Editor, Chemistry World
I graduated from the University of Edinburgh, eventually leaving with a PhD in NMR spectroscopy after spending a happy decade in and around the Joseph Black chemistry building. I’ve since worked in education, publishing and project management. Diverse roles, but all linked by communication and, of course, science – a (winding) thread that led to my interest in science writing and journalism.
At Chemistry World, my interest in spectroscopy has broadened to cover the whole ‘spectrum’ of physical chemistry. But much as I love leafing through Phys. Rev. Lett., I’m as interested in the people behind the papers as the science itself, and speaking with scientists about their work is both a pleasure and a privilege. We are not cheerleaders for science; a good science story is a good story. However, the telling needs some skill, and at least a little knowledge, to do it well. I hope we manage that.
A year of war in Ukraine
The full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine is now one year old. For Ukraine, the anniversary has been a moment to reaffirm support among its allies and keep the world’s attention on Kyiv as the conflict moves increasingly by increments with no end in sight. For the Kremlin, the moment has been used to justify continuing the war, as a special operation that was supposed to last weeks now runs into its second year. For those who have lived through the war, it’s a reminder of just how much has changed and how much has been lost.
How will AI and automation change chemistry?
It’s going to change our lives. But it’s not clear in what ways
Will we always keep naming things after people?
Choosing a name deserves careful consideration
Visualising the Nobel nomination archive
Who nominated whom for the biggest prize in chemistry
Wastewater has huge potential for global health
Monitoring programmes can help healthcare and empower communities
Welcome to Up to the Challenge
Chemistry World and Notch Communications delve into some of the most innovative science tackling the UN’s sutainable development goals
We need our simple symbols, but machines might not
Will the curly arrow still be with us in another 100 years?
What’s the secret science of conspiracy theories?
Conspiracies can tell us a lot about science and society
Solving solar panel waste highlights the need for sustainable thinking
Moving to a circular economy requires political, economic and scientific cooperation
Searching for the holy grails of chemistry
How has science progressed over 25 years?
How human is science?
Technology is changing our subject, and ourselves
Covid-19 poses trust issues for science
The pandemic is proving the importance of public trust in science
No panacea for a pandemic
Science doesn’t have easy answers for Covid-19
Science can’t fix Whitehall on its own
There seems to be a genuine effort to put science at the heart of the UK’s government but this comes with risks as well as rewards
Put priority in its place
Why is priority so pervasive in science?
The data behind the Nobel prizes
We’ve looked at over 100 years of data behind who and what wins the Nobel prize
The end of the periodic table?
The superheavy elements might break our beloved table
Rewriting the textbooks is our duty, because credit and recognition are much more than a reward for the individual. We use them to show what we value, and what matters to us – what lies behind us to be discovered is just as important as what lies ahead
The Cambridge Structural Database hits one million structures
Warning! Contains extreme crystallography
Don’t let a good story outgrow the facts