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Putting the 'f' in Chemistry

A molecular exploration of the elements hidden in our electronics

Uranium is one of the most famous or perhaps infamous elements. It is the heaviest naturally occurring element and sits amongst the metals at the bottom of the periodic table, the f-elements. Its packed nucleus draws the core electrons in close, subtly changing the behaviour of its compounds. This has generated many headaches for scientists dealing with nuclear waste which contain complex mixtures of uranium compounds and those of its more radioactive neighbours.

We design and make new molecules of uranium, and its rarer, man-made, highly radioactive  neighbouring elements, that allow us to model and study these interactions.  Where these challenge our traditional views of uranium chemistry, we improve our fundamental understanding of uranium's behaviour, and thus our ability to deal with our nuclear waste legacy. Additionally, this new knowledge is helping the development of environmentally cleaner ways to extract technology-critical rare earth metals such as neodymium, used in wind turbine magnets, and dysprosium, a potential future quantum computer component.

About the speaker

Polly L Arnold OBE FRS is the Crum Brown Chair of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh. She holds degrees from Oxford and Sussex, and was a Fulbright postdoctoral fellow at MIT prior to returning to a lectureship in the UK in 1999 (www.homepages.ed.ac.uk/parnold). Her research is focused on exploratory synthetic chemistry of the heavy elements at the bottom of the periodic table, the f-block. She is the fifth youngest woman to be elected to the fellowship of the Royal Society.

Polly also made 'A Chemical Imbalance', a call to action for equality of opportunity for women and minorities in STEM, and was awarded an OBE in 2017 for services to chemistry and women in STEM (www.chemicalimbalance.ed.ac.uk).


Continuing Professional Development

This event can contribute towards your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours as part of the IET's CPD monitoring scheme.


18 Jun 2019

6:45pm - 9:00pm

Add to Calendar 06/18/2019 18:45 06/18/2019 21:00 Putting the 'f' in Chemistry A molecular exploration of the elements hidden in our electronics and our nuclear waste. Hammersmith International Ctre 1, Shortlands, Hammersmith, London W6 8DR, UK


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Novotel Hammersmith

Hammersmith International Centre, Shortlands
W6 8DR
United Kingdom


Evening Lecture: 18:45 for 19:00 start.