A role model who shows Chemistry can be a real kick

July 16, 2004

Tim Gabriel, who is researching a PhD in nanostructured materials at Southampton University, welcomes the Government's drive to bring more young people into "problem" subjects such as chemistry.

"I had to work really hard to get into science. It's not the easy option, but there have been a lot of rewards," he said. "Chemistry does not have a glamorous image and there aren't many decent role models, but it's important that kids realise it can be fun. I'm enjoying it."

Mr Gabriel is a role model for New Outlooks In Science and Engineering, a schools outreach project sponsored by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. He helps teachers in his region spread the message that science can be sexy. He has access to exciting equipment in his department that is not usually available to schools, but which he can share with young chemists.

But Mr Gabriel points out that if the Treasury is going to boost the supply of scientists into higher education there will have to be a culture change.

"The way science is put across a lot of the time is wrong. It scares people off."

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