Professor Mike Watkinson: Make me a Molecule: The Power of Synthesis

Professor in Synthetic Chemistry

The discipline of chemistry is often championed as the central science by its practitioners, as it underpins the link between the physical sciences and other disciplines, including the life sciences, engineering disciplines and applied sciences such as medicine, dentistry and pharmacy. Synthesis remains at the heart of the chemical sciences and it is where many chemists ply their craft to make new and exciting molecular structures using well-established, but often new, methodology. Their aim is often to either improve the efficiency in the way we, or nature, makes a molecule, or to generate a new compound or material with improved, or even unexpected, properties. It is without doubt that chemistry will fundamentally contribute to many of the global challenges humanity will face in the coming years including, energy sustainability, health and well-being, food and water security, global warming and ocean conservation to name but a few. In this lecture, I will present a personal overview of some of these issues, how synthetic chemistry may help in providing solutions to them and how our research has, and may continue, to contribute to them, albeit in a small way.


Image of Professor Mike Watkinson Professor Mike Watkinson completed his first degree in Chemistry at the University of St. Andrews before moving to UMIST to undertake a PhD on the development of manganese Schiff base complexes as biomimetic models for which he was awarded the inaugural Laurie Vergnano Award by the Royal Society of Chemistry in 1994. Mike then moved to the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain funded by a Royal Society Postdoctoral Exchange Fellowship returning to UMIST to work on the development of routes to conformationally restricted biaryl systems and was also appointed to an honorary lectureship. In 1998, Mike was appointed as Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry at Queen Mary University of London and was promoted through the ranks to Professor of Synthetic Chemistry in 2010. In 2012, he became the Deputy Dean for Research for the Faculty of Science and Engineering and in 2016 the Director of the QMUL Doctoral College, before moving to Keele in 2018.


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Westminster Theatre, Chancellor's Building
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01782 734036

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