My name is Lauren and I am a chemist.
I am currently in my second year studying towards my PhD in inorganic chemistry. The idea behind my research is to design and synthesise cages of different shapes and sizes on a molecular scale. These cages usually have some internal void space which can then be utilised to encapsulate interesting guest molecules that may be unstable outside of the cage. A typical day is spent in the lab investigating transition metal coordination chemistry – synthesising dynamic self-assembled metal-organic systems before using analytical techniques to identify the supramolecular architectures (cages) formed from these reactions.
Beyond the science itself, I am passionate about supporting women in chemistry and academia and recently organised an event for International Women’s Day, highlighting the successes of women in Manchester’s chemistry department. I would like to see chemistry become a more diverse field and hope to encourage people from disadvantaged backgrounds to study chemistry at university. I believe increasing diversity at the academic level within chemistry will have an extremely beneficial and much needed impact within the field. Having people with varied experiences and backgrounds with different approaches to chemical research can only be positive for us all.
As well as social factors, I think chemistry is sometimes undersold to high school and college students, being perceived as just a difficult subject with unknown applications. Increasing public engagement and showing people that there are others high up in chemistry that look and sound just like them is hugely important. I have tutored GCSE science for the past two years and found that chemistry is most students’ least favourite science subject. I think one reason for this could be that chemistry is usually at the very foundation of things, and so it can sometimes be hard to see its real-world applications. My goal for this blog is to highlight interesting, everyday concepts that we may not understand but we also do not question, and to explain the remarkable chemistry behind them.