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2nd Meeting of the 198th Session (2018-2019)

A Chemical Imbalance - an easier problem to solve for nuclear waste than for women in STEM?

Prof Polly L Arnold

Professor Polly L Arnold

Professor Polly L Arnold OBE FRS FRSE FRSC
Crum Brown Chair of Chemistry
University of Edinburgh

In the Augustine United Church
41 George IV Bridge
Edinburgh, EH1 1EL
On Monday 29th October 2018, at 7pm

The subtleties of structure and bonding in compounds of uranium and its neighbours in the f-block are still poorly-understood. A fundamental understanding is needed to develop environmentally cleaner ways to extract technology-critical rare earth metals, and for the safe, long-term handling of our nuclear waste legacies. Drawing on our research to make exotic new molecules, this lecture will explore what chemistry can teach us about these complicated but important metals. Outside the laboratory, there is another economically important imbalance in science: the talent pipeline still leaks female scientists and engineers at a disproportionately high rate, with the cost to the UK economy estimated as £2 billion per annum. The University of Edinburgh’s female scientists started their campaign for equality with street riots in the 1870s, and today Edinburgh’s School of Chemistry has been recognised for its excellence in equality and diversity actions. I made the film ‘A Chemical Imbalance’ as a call to action to improve equality of opportunity in STEM, and will take a look at how we’re doing.

Polly obtained degrees from Oxford and Sussex and was a Fulbright postdoctoral fellow at MIT before returning to a UK lectureship in 1999. Her research focuses on the design and synthesis of highly reactive f-block complexes that can activate inert small molecules such as carbon oxides and hydrocarbons, and that can provide fundamental information on structure and bonding. She was awarded the Lord Kelvin Medal, the RSE's senior physical science prize in 2017. Polly is an active advocate for inclusion and diversity in STEM, and was awarded an OBE in 2017 for services to chemistry and women in STEM.

Complimentary tea, coffee and biscuits are served from about 6:40pm onwards before the meetings.
There is a hearing loop in the meeting room and ramped access to the building is available.
Members of the Public are welcome to attend.

Mr Peter Jones, Secretary
secretary@rssa.org.uk
Telephone: 0131 622 0428