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Episode 8 - Professor Saiful Islam
The world is facing an energy crisis – our current energy storage and conversion technologies must continue to evolve to cope with an ever-growing population, but to avert a climate catastrophe science needs to meet those demands in a green and sustainable way. Well, thank goodness then for people like Saiful Islam, Professor of Materials Chemistry at the University of Bath and our guest for episode 8!
We caught up with Saiful at The Assembly Inn, Bath, to hear about his upbringing in Crouch End (apparently not as cool in the 70s as it is today), his optimistic outlook, his penchant for 3D glasses and how he likes to model... We also got to hear some behind-the-scenes stories from Saiful’s excellent Royal Institution Christmas Lectures (see below for a clip), including tales of baking with GBBO star Selasi Gbormittah and nearly taking Richard Dawkins' head clean off with a cannon ball. Be sure to listen right to the end to hear Saiful’s extremely impressive performance in our inaugural ‘Periodic Table Music Quiz’.
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About Saiful Islam, this week's guest:
After a youth sound-tracked by The Stranglers, The Jam and of course The Smiths, Saiful Islam decided to further his scientific education, and bagged himself a BSc and PhD from University College London, under the supervision of Professor Richard Catlow. An exciting post-doc in New York, investigating oxide superconductors, cemented Saiful’s passion for research and he returned to the UK in 1990 to become a lecturer and later reader at the University of Surrey, before eventually making his way to Bath to take up his current position in 2006. He now researches new classes of compounds for rechargeable lithium batteries and next-generation solar cells, with a view to meeting our growing energy demands in a green and sustainable way.
His academic work and his public engagement work have earned him a health list of accolades. Perhaps his highest profile public engagement work was delivering the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures in 2016, a clip from which you can view right here:
You can also follow Saiful on Twitter (@SaifulChemistry) and contribute to his impressive page of albums and hit singles with chemistry references.