Dr Simon Hall
Chemistry was a radical career change for Dr Simon Hall whose professional life saw him working as a senior bond market analyst with Reuters. In 1997, he switched interests and decided to read for a PhD at the University of Bath with Professor Steve Mann, subsequently moving to Bristol as Professor Mann took up post as Bristol’s Director of the Centre for Organized Matter Chemistry. Dr Hall’s research group is interested in complex functional materials and how, by controlling crystallisation, their functionality can be altered and improved.
“It is interesting to me as it gives us all a deeper understanding into how behaviour such as superconductivity, piezoelectricity, magnetoresistance and ferroelectricity can emerge as a function of crystal size and shape. These are all very important physical properties for modern devices.”
As the father of two teenage children, a good work-life balance is important to Dr Hall. The use of online administrative and assessment systems, including the Dynamic Lab Manual (DLM) in the School of Chemistry allow academics to work remotely and reserve time for both research and family commitments.
“The school has a very positive and inclusive working environment, with an emphasis (quite rightly) on safety at work. There are also plenty of extra-curricular events run by the GCA such as the bake sales, quizzes and charity summer and Christmas parties that engender a strong community spirit within the School.
“The working environment overall consists of good communication and great teamwork, and for me,
Chemistry continues to be a fascinating and enjoyable place in which to work.
“My advice to aspiring scientists would be to read widely, discuss your work with everyone and study hard what interests you the most.”