Originally trained as a research chemist in biological organic chemistry (PhD, University of Cambridge, 1989) I worked as a project manager in the petroleum industry and as head of chemistry in a top-ranking London day school (PGCE, King's College London, 1998) before learning that science has a history! Beginning to study that history, I was disappointed to find no modern academic history of my original scientific discipline, synthetic organic chemistry. That’s why, between 2004 and 2009, I researched and wrote a second PhD dissertation on the origins and development of organic synthesis, the late 19th century’s most powerful and productive science (PhD, University of London, 2009).
Since 2009 I’ve taught history of science and history of chemistry at University College London and in the History and Philosophy of Science graduate program at the University of Notre Dame.
I am currently working to complete the manuscript of a book provisionally entitled Material World: Analysis and Synthesis in the Making of Modern Chemistry.