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The University of Southampton

Stuart Bartlett PhD, 2012

Postgraduate student

Stuart Bartlett's Photo

Hi, I'm Stuart Bartlett and I studied PhD within Chemistry at the University of Southampton.

The most enjoyable thing about my studies here is the interaction with my research group. It gives me the opportunity to work with a host of interesting, intelligent and inspirational people.

I decided to do a chemistry PhD at Southampton because of its good reputation, with world renowned academics. When looking more closely at the projects available, it was possible to see the great opportunities they provided.

I started my PhD after graduating from a 4 year MChem in Chemistry with Analytical Chemistry from Loughborough University, with my final year project based on GC-MS.

The reason I decided to progress with a PhD was due to my 4th year project at Loughborough, which gave me an invaluable experience of research and working within a research group. At this point I realised I wanted to further my chemistry career, and this provided an excellent opportunity for me.

My research currently at Southampton is based on catalysts that produce, selectively, 1-hexene or 1-octene. We are looking at the exact nature and mechanisms they produce these chemicals by using high energy X-rays provided by synchrotrons.

Chemistry also allows me to get involved in spreading chemistry into schools via the outreach programme, where we take interesting experiments into schools. One day a year we invite people of all ages to the University to learn about a wide range of science in a family day event, which I help out at by demonstrating the use of plastics and polymers.

The main differences between my undergraduate and postgraduate studies are that you have to be able to set and work to your own targets within in a large project. With this comes a lot more freedom but a much greater responsibility as people will depend on the work you do. The biggest difference is that as you go through your PhD, you will be considered an expert and expected to propose solutions to problems which nobody else has the answer.

Southampton as a location has lots to offer, like a usual big city, but it also has the advantage of being situated next to the New Forest National Park and Bournemouth which provides great beeches for the summer.

In the future, I am certainly looking to stay in research and perhaps undertake a new project and challenge.

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