I have a PhD in Chemistry

Things You Might Not Know About Me, Part 2

by Clive Walker in Life

Organic Chemistry postgraduates group. I'm third from right at the back.
Organic Chemistry postgraduates group. I'm third from right at the back.

These days, I work with websites but before that I studied chemistry and worked in the pharmaceutical industry for many years. In fact, I have a PhD in organic chemistry1 from the University of Bath.

  • My PhD was called The Synthesis of Endothiopeptides2 and I completed it in 1984.
  • My chemistry studies were based in a laboratory - a very hands-on practical experience.

I spent three years at Bath. Working in the Department of Chemistry. Learning more about organic chemistry. Living in cheap, shared, student houses. It was my main experience3 of student life.

Looking back on my time in chemistry, I loved it and I think I was moderately successful – although I didn't reach the very top.

Independence

Recently, I've been thinking about why I liked it so much and one reason is that I was completely independent and was able to control my own 'destiny'. That sounds a bit corny and, clearly, my supervisors at Bath (Professor Malcolm M. Campbell and Dr David W. Brown), and many other people, gave me a lot of direction and deserve a huge amount of credit. I'm very appreciative of that support and the faith that they showed in me.

In some ways, that's also why I like working as a freelance web developer. Independence means a lot.

Back to chemistry, I spent three great years4 at Bath and it was a defining period for me. Career-wise, it gave me a step up and I went on to carry out further organic chemistry research at a post-doctoral level (that's another story). Subsequently, I had a career with a large pharmaceutical company.

Why did I change career?! And how did I end up working as a web developer? Well, things change. You can't work in a laboratory for ever. But that's a tale for another day...

  1. "Organic" here means the study of the chemistry of carbon compounds and does not have green or environmental connotations. ↩︎

  2. Here is it is: The Synthesis of Endothiopeptides ↩︎

  3. My first degree was obtained by part-time study. ↩︎

  4. I have a few regrets, things I didn't do, personal stuff I could have done better, but, overall, I would do most of it again. ↩︎

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