Moving on: 12 years at Nottingham

Its 12 years since I first arrived at the University of Nottingham as a fresh-faced undergraduate. I didn’t think back then I’d still be here 12 years later, having studied two degrees and worked in a number of  jobs across the university. Now it is time to move on (more on this in a later post perhaps), so I thought I’d look back on my time at Nottingham with a photoblog.

My first home in Nottingham was Willoughby Hall. I was a resident of the ground floor extension (bottom right), which I later found out had an infamous reputation around campus (not of my making, I hasten to add).


Willoughby Hall

Like most of my fellow undergrads, I moved into a house in Lenton, directly underneath the brooding blocks of Lenton flats. When I moved in Sainsbury’s Local was still Jacksons’ and the Dog n Topper (now Tesco’s Express) and Grove pubs (now nothing) were still open.

Will Ave

My house in Lenton

I was fortunate enough to be lectured by a certain Professor Martyn Poliakoff and his 1st year lecture course on Green Chemistry was influential in encouraging me to continue in chemistry after my first degree.

Polfest- Martyn's 60th birthday

Martyn talking at his 60th birthday celebrations- “PolFest” as it was dubbed

After four years, I graduated with an MSci (Hons) in Chemistry, then decided to return to study a PhD with Pete Licence.


The first graduation, MSci (Hons), in 2006

My PhD saw me grapple with pieces of kit a little bit different to what I’d been used to as I learnt a number of techniques in order to study ionic liquids at very low pressures.


The X-ray photoelectron spectrometer I worked on

XPS chamber

A picture of inside, showing the type of sample I was analysing.

From time to time, even the Professor (Rob Jones) was happy to get his hands dirty.

Distil kit

Distilling an ionic liquid (photo courtesy of Kevin Lovelock)

Four years later, I was graduating again.

PhD Grad

The Licence and Jones research groups, July 2010

Although I may lived and worked in one place for over a decade, there were chances to travel, especially to international conferences.


Mount Fuji; Japan, 2007


An Australian salt-water crocodile; Cairns, 2009


The Lincoln Memorial; Washington, 2011

It wasn’t all sight-seeing and tourism, work had to be done too!


At our exhibition stand in EcoChem; Basel, 2013

Beyond research, there were opportunities to do outreach,


At a science schools’ fayre

show an MP around the lab,

Chris Leslie Nick

Chris Leslie MP learns about metal-organic frameworks

and take part in games of tug-o-war.

Chem party tug of war

Chemistry Summer Party, 2014

Outside the lab, I enjoyed relaxing at the cricket,


Nuts the Squirrel, Trent Bridge

walking in the Peak District,

Grindsbrook Clough

Grindsbrook Clough, Edale

and sampling the local music, err, talent.


Surreal Panther, who we stumbled upon in the Canal House one evening

In case of a late night thirst, there was always one establishment that could be relied upon,

Bar Schnapps

although the University itself is well equipped for those seeking refreshment.


Local news crew films footage at the student union bar, Mooch

There were sporting successes


Inorganic Cricket XI win the post-grad league, 2013

and failures;

Broken tennis bat

some bad times

Chemlab fire

New “Carbon Neutral Laboratory” catches fire, September 2014

but plenty of times to celebrate.

Colloquia celebration

Celebrating after winning the “Barker Prize” for best final year PhD colloquium, 2009

So thanks to the city of Robin Hood

Robin Hood

The Robin Hood statue, Nottingham “Light Night”

and to all those I’ve met, worked with and befriended there over the years.

ensemble photo

Top row (l –> r): outside Willoughby Hall, 2003; Emma PhD graduation 2014; my graduation 2006. Middle row (l –> r): watching PolFest, 2007; the BPU team, early 2014; Larping in Derbyshire, 2011; a night out in Nottingham 2009. Bottom row (l –> r): in the caves under the Old Salutation, 2013; Pete in his robes, 2009; posing in the Peak District, 2005.

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1 Response to Moving on: 12 years at Nottingham

  1. Danger says:

    Keep one eye over the shoulder for those chaos brothers. You never know when they’ll reappear.

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