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Cambridge University Library


The Reader for the 2017-18 series of Sandars Lectures is Dr Peter Wothers, Director of Studies in Chemistry at the University of Cambridge. The title of his lectures is: ‘Chemical Attractions’.

Dr Peter Wothers is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Chemistry, lecturing to the first, second and third year undergraduate students. He has co-authored a number of popular undergraduate textbooks including Why Chemical Reactions Happen, Chemical Structure and Reactivity and Organic Chemistry. Peter has made a number of TV and radio appearances, including presenting the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, The Modern Alchemist, on the BBC in 2012. Peter is heavily involved in both the National and International Chemistry Olympiad competitions, and also initiated the successful Cambridge Chemistry Challenge, supported by his College, St Catherine’s. In 2014 he was awarded an MBE for Services to Chemistry.

The dates and titles for the lectures are as follows:

Tuesday 6 March

Chemical Attractions – the spark

The first lecture looks at how a young teenager first became addicted to collecting antique books on chemistry over 30 years ago. (more info)

Wednesday 7 March

Hydrogen Pistols at Dawn

This second lecture looks at some of the key chemical texts from the 18th century, when modern chemistry really began. (more info)

Thursday 8 March

Women’s and Children’s Firsts

In this third and final lecture, we look at some of the earliest books written by women chemists, prior to Madame Curie. (more info)

The lectures will take place in the McGrath Centre at St Catharine’s College and will start at 5pm. The lectures are free and all are welcome. Seats will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

A drinks reception follows each lecture from 6-7pm.