21 Aug 2014
Each year, SCI awards scholarships to help members support their studies. Paul has been just been awarded a scholarship. Here he tells us a bit more about himself.
Paul Brack was born and raised in the county of Northumberland. He freely admits to being a latecomer to the joys of chemistry, only really becoming hooked by it (having previously harboured a passion for history) at the age of 17, just in time for University applications. He completed A-levels in Chemistry, History, French and Physics at Haydon Bridge High School, winning the History and A-level Prizes, and a Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Award for Young People for his part in a peer support initiative. Paul then spent two years in the south of France as a volunteer for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, before beginning his undergraduate study of Chemistry at Loughborough University in 2008.
During his undergraduate degree, Paul won eight awards and prizes, including the prestigious Sir Robert Martin Achievement Prize for being an academically outstanding student who has quietly and considerately undertaken a lot of extracurricular responsibility in order to help his fellow students and be an ambassador for the University. Funded by the EPSRC and a Nuffield Undergraduate Research bursary, Paul was able to spend two summers carrying out research in the Department of Chemistry (in the Inorganic and Organic sections). These whetted his appetite for research and his interest was further enhanced by his 3rd and 4th year projects on photoelectrochemistry and electrospinning. He also completed a placement year as a Process Chemist at AstraZeneca, Charnwood and a summer internship at Intelligent Energy studying PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) fuel cells by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy before graduating with a 1st class MChem degree in Chemistry in July 2013.
Paul began his postgraduate studies in the Energy Research Laboratory, Department of Chemistry at Loughborough University under the supervision of Dr Sandie Dann and Dr Upul Wijayantha in October 2013. He is funded by an EPSRC CASE award in collaboration with Intelligent Energy. The principal goal of his project is to find an environmentally benign material which can efficiently produce high purity hydrogen under mild conditions for use with a portable PEM fuel cell.
Paul is a keen writer, and in recent years has won three national writing competitions and been a finalist in three more. He also serves as the Physical Sciences Editor at Experimentation, a student-run science magazine. He spends the rest of his time being educated about dinosaurs, sharks and monsters by his two young sons.