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Win Cafe Sci: “Not so fantastic plastic.”.

Monday 7 Oct 2019
19:45 to 21:00 
Winchester Discovery Centre, Jewry Street, Winchester
Event Link:  

All Cafe Sci talks at Winchester Discovery Centre, Jewry Street are free to attend. Please arrive from 7.15pm for 7.45 start unless otherwise advertised. Licensed bar serving hot drinks, cakes and snacks. No charge to attend. Contributions welcome.

Licensed bar available from 7pm.

“Not so fantastic plastic”. Prof. Andrea Russell

David Attenborough’s Blue Planet programme highlighted the problems with plastics in the oceans, but the problems with plastics in the environment have been known for quite some time. Prof. Andrea Russell, collaborating with Prof. Richard Thompson of Plymouth University, was one of the authors on the paper that introduced the term microplastics in the scientific literature back in 2004 in a paper called “Lost at Sea, Where is all the Plastic”.

In this talk we’ll have look at the problem with plastics. The more common plastics in use will be discussed. Then we’ll consider the role of recycling and composting and explore how microplastic fragments wind up in the natural environment. We’ll also consider where plastics are necessary to modern life and why total elimination of their use is probably not the answer to the plastics problem.

Andrea Russell is Professor of Physical Electrochemistry. Her research interests are in the application of spectroscopic methods to study the electrode/electrolyte interface, with particular emphasis on electrocatalysts and electrode materials for fuel cells, metal-air batteries, water electrolysers, and gas sensors.


Professor Russell obtained her BS degree in Chemistry from the University of Michigan in 1986 and then went on to the University of Utah to complete her PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry in 1989, with funding from the US Congress through a Patricia Harris Fellowship. She was then awarded an NRC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to work at the US Naval Research Laboratory. She came to the UK in 1991, first holding temporary lectureships at the Universities of Liverpool and Newcastle upon Tyne. She was appointed to a lectureship in Physical Chemistry at the University of Southampton in 1997 and promoted to Professor of Physical Electrochemistry in 2007. In 2011 she was appointed as an Adjunct Professor in Chemical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.

Andrea’s research often involves the use of national and international facilities such as the Diamond Light Source, ISIS, and other synchrotron radiation sources in Europe and the USA. She is particularly known for her in situ and in operando X-ray aborption spectroscopic studies of electrocatalysts, with an emphasis on electrocatalysts for PEM fuel cells.

She is the author or co-author of > 70 refereed papers, including an invited review article and has chaired a number of international conferences and symposia, such as the Gordon Research Conference on Fuel Cells (2002) and a Faraday Discussion on Electrocatalysis (2008). She is a member of the EPSRC College, Chair of the Physical Electrochemistry Division of the International Society of Electrochemistry and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and Higher Education Academy.

Andrea’s undergraduate teaching contributions are primarily focused in the first year of the Physical Chemistry course, where she lectures on equilibria and electrochemistry. She also delivers mathematics workshops and key-skills training as part of the practical chemistry module and lectures on ethical practices in science, engineering, and technology. At the postgraduate level she contributes to the electrochemistry modules and the Southampton Electrochemistry Summer Schools, both in the UK and abroad (Xiamen in 2009 and 2012).

She currently serves as the Director of Programmes for Chemistry.

Contact: William Vine, Organiser for Winchester Cafe Scientifique
How to find us: In the front of the library ... hosted by William Vine of Winchester Cafe Scientifique

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