1. What made you want to be a chemist?
I always enjoyed chemistry at school and it came quite naturally to me. I really enjoyed the practical side of the subject and this is really what drew me in further and enabled me to see and express the creativity and problem-solving side of research.
2. If you weren’t a chemist and could do any other job, what would it be – and why?
While I’d love to have been a professional footballer (if not just for the money) my talents were never really directed there. I think that a career as a marine biologist, studying the behaviour of fish and the delicate balance of coral reefs would have been perfect, especialy somewhere hot and exciting like Hawaii!
3. How can chemists best contribute to the world at large?
I think that chemists have and do contribute a lot to the world from things like plastics to drugs. As the world around us changes, the challenges that it presents also change and we need to be flexible enough to change our targets to solving (or at least helping to solve) global chalenges such developing new technologies to help abate global warming, and generate clean electricity. We must also be wise enough to teach and enthuse the next generation of chemists to keep solving problems as well as continue to develop a fundamental understanding of chemistry.
4. Which historical figure would you most like to have dinner with – and why?
Shakespeare. So little is actualy known about his life or his inspiration for his many works that it would be fascinating to find out. I’m sure he would be fascinated to see how the subjects for his work are so relevant in todays society as they were in his.
5. When was the last time you did an experiment in the lab – and what was it?
About 2 months ago I showed a new student in my lab how to make an aluminium methyl complex. I still make sure I clear time to help new students get up to speed but it has been about a year since I last did any sustained work on a separate project myself.
6. If exiled on a desert island, what one book and one CD would you take with you?
I’m sure that Ray Mears must have done an extreme survival book that would come in handy! For something a bit more enjoyable I would probably go for 1984 by George Orwell. As for music perhaps Radiohead – The Bends or The Killers – Sam’s Town.
Andrew Dove is in the Department of Chemistry at The University of Warwick and works on the development functional degradable biomaterials, polymerisation catalysis and polymers from sustainable resources.