Jonathan Hunter

Best quote from a chat so far "The only cleavage I want to see is at a cellular level."

Favourite Thing: It sounds really boring but I love using rotary evaporators (a machine which boils then condenses liquids). When the solvent starts to condense, it looks like it’s raining inside a glass tube and it’s really mesmerising to watch!



Eastrington Primary School, Howden Secndary School, Selby College, University of Nottingham


11 GCSEs, 4 A levels, Medicinal and Biological Chemsitry with an assessed year in industry (MSci)

Work History:

Morrisons, Reckitt Benckiser (AirWick?), Reach Separations, Critical Pharmaceuticals, Haemostatix

Current Job:

PhD Student


Centre of Doctoral Training in Sustainable Chemistry ♻ at the University of Nottingham

About Me

I am very energetic and need to do loads of things to use up that energy.

I live with my other half in the south of Nottingham. We have two rescue cats called Sir Reginald and Princess ?(Reg & Prinny for short). They are very nervous but are lovely once they get to know you.

During my degree, I was diagnosed as dyslexic. I normally don’t let it bother my work but as this will be all written/online, you may have to forgive me for some errors.

I am a Judo black belt, Brazilian Ju Jitsu blue belt and have been doing Muay Thai Kick boxing for about 6 months. So as you can tell I like to fight. It’s one of those things that if you’ve had a really hard day, once someone is trying to punch you in the face, you forget all your problems. In the last year, I have started coaching Judo at a local club, where I teach people from 6-16 and 16+, which I really enjoy.

I love films (Fav = Star Wars Ep 5 The Empire Strikes Back ), reading (Frankenstein!!!! ) and TV (Game of Thrones⚔).

I really like aliens ? as well, but not hunting for ufos. There is an area of chemistry called Prebiotic or abiotic chemistry which studies the point when chemistry became biology. I love it! It’s just so cool that rocks and water at some point became life!


My Work

Continuous flow ? photochemistry☀️ using non-invasive ⚗ analysis methods.

I am part of the Centre of Doctoral Training in Sustainable Chemistry♻.  This means that my project is focused on doing chemistry in more environmentally friendly ways.

The continuous flow part is similar to how you can turn your tap on at home and instantly get hot water, as opposed to boiling a kettle – but which medicines. This means that medicines could be made very energy efficiency and in larger quantities (bath vs. cup of tea).

Photochemistry is the use of light to make chemicals instead of expensive metals and lots of heat. The use of light means that I can make medicines which are, otherwise, very hard to make. This is also quite an environmentally friendly way to make chemicals.

The non-invasive analysis methods is a way of checking if a reaction is completed without having to take a sample. Think cooking rice and being able to know exactly when its done just by looking at it – but with medicines!



My Typical Day

I have no typical day.

In the last three weeks alone, I have been doing lots of different things. I have been doing Infra Red, UV/vis spectroscopy,  organic synthesis, chromatography, building various different sizes and types of reactors, writing computer programmes, processing data, having meetings, participating in public engagement, learning how to use new software, reading, planning research and giving presentations.

As you can see I do a wide variety of things so I don’t suppose there ever is a typical day.

I’ll give you a rough break down of how today went.

7:00 get up, eat breakfast, feed cats ?, get ready for work.

8:00 get on bus?

8:45 -arrive at work, drop my bag off at the office, go to lab put on lab coat and safety goggles.

9:00 starting warming up the gas chromatograph (GC), check reaction from yesterday, clean reactor, check emails

10:30 tea and biscuits☕️

11:00 put samples on GC, carry on cleaning reactor

12:00 lunch?

13:00 check samples on GC, help tidy the lab for health and safety inspection

15:00 tea☕️

15:30 pre weigh vials and plan work for next week, look at data from GC

16:30 decide data from GC showed experiment did work well

16:45 turn off GC

17:00 go home

18:30 have evening meal?

21:00 have bath and think up a excellent new idea for possible synthesis?

22:00 decide to think about it some more and in the meantime watch family guy

23:00 fall asleep

What I'd do with the money

It would be fantastic.

I’d try to collaborate with the Outreach teams at Nottingham University and come up with an exhibition or show that will teach people about how chemistry is having an effect on climate change and how we are working to reduce global warming. It’s something I’m really interested in and think other people would like it too. It would be nice to show the public that we care about the environment and what we are trying to do to look after it!

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Thinker, fighter, feline-friend

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Biffy Clyro

What's your favourite food?

BBQ Chicken pizza

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Spent two weeks in France learning about aliens, prehistoric life and how the Earth was made.

What did you want to be after you left school?


Were you ever in trouble at school?

Yep, especially in Science and English

What was your favourite subject at school?


What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

Titrated my own wee to find out how much vitamin C was in it.

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

Watching QI/ My Granddad

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

Cage fighter

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

I’d like to have an element named after me, be able to read people’s minds and keep bees ?

Tell us a joke.

Why did the bear dissolve in water? It was a polar bear! (Chemistry jokes are awful!)

Other stuff

Work photos:

First of all my cats.


Ginger = Princess , White = Reggie.

Everyone in my year (cohort) on the CDT with me.


The lab


This is me working in the lab. Looking like I’m doing something science-y.


This boring white box is a gas chromatograph which I have been using. It heats mixtures up until they become a gas and separates them. It’s really useful for helping me work out if I’ve made what I think I have and how pure the chemicals I’ve made are. myimage4

Another piece of equipment I use is a rotary evapourator. It heats things up and reduces the pressure of a solution so that the solvent boils off. This solvent is then condensed into the next flask along. It’s a really useful machine for getting a product out of a solvent. It’s my favourite one to watch!


My bosses: Professor Mike George (left), Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff (right)







My boss blowing stuff up: