St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School, Barry, Wales (1979-1986); University of East Anglia, Norwich, England (1986-1993)
BSc Chemistry (1989); PhD Chemistry (University of East Anglia 1993)
Researcher at University of Nottingham (1993-1994); Researcher at University College Dublin (1994-1999)
Lecturer in Chemistry (since 1999)
Along with some colleagues at my university, I set up a research group called “The Centre for Research into Atmospheric Chemistry”… or CRAC Lab for short. At the moment we have around 10 people working on a range of research projects related to particles in the atmosphere. We do experiments in the lab to work out how some particles are formed in air. We also take our instruments to different places to measure the chemicals in particles and try to work out where they come from. Last year one of my students spent 2 months on the French island of Corsica and right now our equipment is in Killarney (Co. Kerry) as part of an EPA project looking at air pollution from coal/peat/wood burning.
My Typical Day
Any combination of the following….teaching chemistry, discussing experiments and results with my research team, writing articles or research proposals, presenting my research at conferences.
What I'd do with the prize money
Use it to develop a cool demonstration lecture on air pollution and climate change that I would give at schools around the country.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Friendly, playful, silly (my two kids chose those words!)
What did you want to be after you left school?
I think I wanted a sensible job like being an accountant. Thankfully I became interested in Chemistry!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Yes….more will be revealed over the next few weeks.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Recently I’be been listening to Paolo Nutini, The Script and Imelda May….but my all-time favourite band is The Beatles!
What's your favourite food?
My wife’s roast beef dinner with lots of yorkshire puddings.
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Piloting an aeroplane – what a buzz!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
good health, good fortune and to go on a (return!) trip to outer space.
Tell us a joke.
Q: Why can you never trust atoms? A: They make up everything!