30 under 30: Transforming Metals and Brewing Beer

Meet David Liptrot, one of the promising young chemists attending the 2013 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting
David Liptrot, 2013 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

Courtesy of David Liptrot

Each year hundreds of the best and brightest researchers gather in Lindau, Germany, for the Nobel Laureate Meeting. There, the newest generation of scientists mingles with Nobel Prize winners and discusses their work and ideas. The 2013 meeting is dedicated to chemistry and will involve young researchers from 78 different countries. In anticipation of the event, which will take place from June 30 through July 5, we are highlighting a group of attendees under 30 who represent the future of chemistry. The following profile is the 21st in a series of 30.

Name: David Liptrot
Age: 24
Born: Sheffield, England
Nationality: British
Current position: PhD student at the University of Bath
Education: Master’s degree in Chemistry (honors) with industrial placement from the University of Bath

What is your field of research?
I work in organometallic, inorganic and coordination chemistry, which pertain to the interactions and properties of molecules and ions with metal centers. Specifically, I look at novel catalytic transformations using the cheap and environmentally friendly metals of group 2 alkaline earth metals such as magnesium.

What drew you to chemistry, and to that research area in particular?
I've been fascinated with chemistry since seeing fires and explosions in secondary school. After I came to university I realized there was much more to them, and became entranced with chemistry’s theoretical framework. Opportunities to add to this framework during research projects as an undergraduate gave me the “research bug,” and I can't see myself doing anything else now.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I like to dabble in a variety of areas, and I love the opportunities chemistry gives me to do so. In 10 years I want to have advanced the art of chemistry through collaboration so that we have a better framework to answer the challenges we will face.

Who are your scientific heroes?
My chemistry heroes are Robert Mulliken and Dmitri Mendeleev. Their contributions to a theoretical framework for chemistry, along with those from a huge number of other researchers, are what truly separate us from simple alchemists.

What activities outside of chemistry do you most enjoy?
I really enjoy hiking and mountaineering for the solitude and challenges they offer. I also enjoy home brewing—I like to think of it as chemistry with a much more palatable end result.

What do you hope to gain from this year's Lindau meeting?
The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting represents an unparalleled opportunity for me to interact with and be inspired by scientists at the pinnacle of their fields. It will doubtless be fascinating to engage with such a broad range of preeminent researchers, and the conference will give me a fertile source of ideas for the rest of my career. In this respect, I have always found conferences useful, and I can only imagine the effect these inspiring delegates will have on me. Furthermore, I am excited to meet other young researchers such as myself and potentially initiate beneficial collaborations.

Are there any Nobelists whom you are particularly excited to meet?
I am particularly excited to meet Richard Schrock and Robert Grubbs, as I believe their Nobel prizewinning endeavors perfectly describe the potential for groundbreaking collaboration at the interface of inorganic and organic chemistry.

« Previous
20. Rebecca Melen
30 Under 30:
Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting
Next »
22. Marco Jost

Rights & Permissions
Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.
Scientific American MIND iPad

Give a Gift & Get a Gift - Free!

Give a 1 year subscription as low as $14.99

Subscribe Now >>


Email this Article