I went to University in France, at the Ecole Polytechnique near Paris. I also spent 1 year in Japan at the University of Tokyo.
I have a PhD in Chemistry.
I have worked at Imperial College in London and in a company called Air Liquide in France before coming to Bath.
I am a researcher in the Department of Chemistry of the University of Bath.
The University of Bath
Favourite thing to do in my job: My favourite thing to do in science is to make new molecules that no one has ever made before me. I feel like an explorer!
In my lab, I take small molecules that no one wants like carbon dioxide or sugars from food wastes, and I transform them into long chain molecules that are used to make degradable plastics.
I am interesting in using resources like waste to make useful materials, in particular new degradable plastics that would then be less polluting and would not use any of our plant precious resources. I for example research the use of carbon dioxide and food waste sugars as building blocks to make long chain molecules (or polymers) that are the main component of plastics.
My Typical Day
My typical day involves a lot of running around, between my lab where my students and I work, and my office where I can hide from my students…
My day starts early, before 8.
My wife drops me off at the University and I usually starts the day by making a list of things I need or want to do on that day. I then enjoy an early coffee in my office while I answer my emails and read the scientific news on the internet. It is very important to be up to date when you’re a scientist : you do not want to reinvent the wheel… It is also good for inspiration and very motivating to see all the fantastic research that is done around the world.
I usually then drop by the lab to check on the reactions we put on the day before with my students. This is usually when we analyse the results of our experiments and discuss together what would be the next step to get better results.
After a break for lunch with friends from other labs and even other departments, I go back to the lab and do more reactions with my students.
BUT… there are no such day as a typical normal boring day! A day is usually turned upside down by things like:
– tutorials to undergraduate students
– supervising an experimental module in the teaching labs
– research seminars where an invited speaker from another University comes to give a talk
– meetings with colleagues regarding a collaboration
– meeting with students to discuss the progress of their project
– fixing a piece of equipment that has just broken
– ordering some new chemicals or new equipment
– writing a article to get our results published in a scientific journal
– trying to get some money from the government or some companies to continue doing our research
This extends my day to around 6-6:30 when I usually decide to go home because despite my love for my job, my family life is the most important thing to me!
What I'd do with the prize money
I would come to YOUR school! I would go on a tour around the South West of the UK, to visit schools and demonstrate some of the reactions we do in my lab.
With some money, I would like to visit a lot of schools near where I live, and demonstrate some of the reactions we do in my lab.
I believe that the best way to talk about my work is actually to go in person to schools and … talk myself about my work no?
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Friendly, tidy, grumpy
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
I have worked with students that decided to continue working in science after that.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
All my science teachers
Were you ever in trouble at school?
No… I don’t remember… Surely my parents could tell you…
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
I would be a writer.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I like a lot of bands, but one of my favourite band is Arctic Monkeys.
What's your favourite food?
Pasta with sweet potatoes and a spicy chili pepper sauce
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Living in Japan for 1 year.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Wish 1: Being able to time travel Wish 2: Going on a space travel Wish 3: Inventing something that changes the life of people