Professor Simon Bott
Professor
Chemistry
Telephone: (01792) 513182
Room: Staff Office - 434
Third Floor
Grove Building
Singleton Campus

I received my B.Sc. from Bristol University in 1983 and then moved to the United States for Ph.D. studies at the University of Alabama.  Other than a year post-doc at Oxford (1987, with Professor Mike Mingos), I remained in the US until returning to the UK in September 2016 to help to create this wonderful new Department of Chemistry at Swansea.  During those 30+ years, I spent a year at MIT working with Professor Steve Lippard and then held faculty positions at the Universities of Alabama (1989 to 1990), North Texas (1990 to 1997) and Houston (1997 to 2016).

I was focussed on traditional chemistry research for the first half of my career.  My own efforts were directed towards inorganic chemistry of organic host compounds.  In addition, I was fortunate to have collaborations in which I was the structural chemist with people such as Malcolm Green, Paul Beer and Steve Cooper at Oxford, Brian Johnson at Cambridge, Barry Sharpless at MIT, Andy Barron at Harvard and Rice, and many other great chemists and friends.  My h-index is 49 and I have nearly 400 publications from these efforts.

Publications

  1. Craig, C., Evans, P., Bott, S., Stokes, D., Abrol, B. Attracting, Preparing, and Retaining Teachers in High Need Areas: A Science as Inquiry Model of Teacher Education (Ed.), A Companion to Research in Teacher Education 455 470
  2. Bott, S., Shen, H., Huang, S., Richmond, M. CO substitution in HRu3(CO)10(μ-COMe) by the unsaturated diphosphine ligand 4,5-bis(diphenylphosphino)-4-cyclopenten-1,3-dione (bpcd): Synthesis and reactivity studies of the face-capped cluster Ru3(CO)7(μ3-COMe)[μ-P(Ph)CC(PPh2)C(O)CH2C(O)] Journal of Organometallic Chemistry 693 13 2327 2337
  3. Ogrin, D., Bott, S., Barron, A. Molecular Structure of [Me2Al(μ-OPh)]2: A Crystallographic and Ab initio Study Journal of Chemical Crystallography 38 5 397 401
  4. Bott, S., Shen, H., Richmond, M. Photochemically promoted regiospecific P–C bond cleavage in the diruthenium compound Ru2(CO)2(bmf): X-ray diffraction structure of Ru2(CO)6[μ-C=C(PPh2)C(O)OCH(OMe)](μ-PPh2) Journal of Coordination Chemistry 60 13 1457 1467
  5. Vipond, J., Woods, M., Zhao, P., Tircso, G., Ren, J., Bott, S., Ogrin, D., Kiefer, G., Kovacs, Z., Sherry, A. A bridge to coordination isomer selection in lanthanide(III) DOTA-tetraamide complexes Inorganic Chemistry 46

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Teaching

  • CH-005 Elementary Chemistry

    This module will introduce students to the concept of atomic structure and electron configuration, inter- and intra- molecular forces, bonding and molecular structures. Through a series of interactive workshops, students will apply this knowledge in order to be able to describe and explain periodicity, the properties of groups and the observed trends, and to predict the shape and simple structures of molecules and ions. Students will also be introduced to acids, bases and pH, Avogadro's constant, simple molecular calculations and the concept of an ideal gas. Students will also become familiar with organic molecules, their functional structures and their uses. This module will form the bridge to help students to transition from GCSE and A-level Chemistry, building a strong foundation for Chemistry at Level 4.

  • CH-006 Fundamental Mathematics for Chemists

    This module will introduce students to the concept of what a number is, they will become fluent with basic algebra, they will become confident with solving trigonometry and geometric problems and they will be able to recognise and use different functions of x. This module will form the bridge to help students to transition from GCSE to A-level maths, building a strong foundation for the Maths that students will be introduced to in Level 4 Chemistry.

  • CH-008 Methods of Analysis and Detection

    This module will introduce students to working in a laboratory environment, including how to work safely, good laboratory practice and how to maintain a good laboratory lab book. In workshops, students will become familiar with different analytical techniques that they will use later during their degree programme and in the work-place and the theory will be reinforced through experiential and applied learning in the laboratory. This module will form the bridge to help students to transition from GCSE and A-level Chemistry, building a strong foundation for Chemistry at Level 4.

  • CH-009 Synthesis and Analysis

    This module will build on CH-008 and will reinforce how to work safely, good laboratory practice and how to maintain a good laboratory lab book. In lectures/workshops, students will become familiar with different reactions and analytical techniques that they will use later during their degree programme and in the work-place and the theory will be reinforced through experiential and applied learning in the laboratory. Students will gain an understanding of how chemical synthesis and analyses and used in everyday life. This module will form the bridge to help students to transition from GCSE and A-level Chemistry, building a strong foundation for Chemistry at Level 4.

  • CH-010 Reactions and Products

    This module will introduce students to theories and laws that underpin our knowledge of atomic and molecular interactions/reactions. It will start with discussions and calculations for chemical equations. Thermodynamics will be include equilibrium, enthalpy, entropy, Gibbs Free Energy, calorimetry and Hess' Law (including,Born-Haber cycles and Le Chatelier's Principle). Simple kinetics and rate laws including catalysiis will be introduced. A variety of simple and fundamental organic reactions will be introduced including but not limited to electrophilic and nuleophilic addition and substitution. This module will form the bridge to help students to transition from GCSE and A-level Chemistry, building a strong foundation for Chemistry at Level 4.

  • CH-122 Chemical Thinking

    This module will meet the challenge of transition to Higher Education from Further Education. Students will be guided in the essential skills to successfully engage with Chemistry in Higher Education, building competence through guided study in Chemistry in group work, basic laboratory safety and practical skills, record keeping and writing of technical reports, peer tuition, note taking, using and giving feedback, mathematics, data analysis, information handling, and coding. The module will have a variety of formative assessment opportunities and summative assessments that include writing of technical reports, a presentation, a practical-based assessment, and a reflective account

  • CH-123 Structure and Bonding 1

    This module will introduce students to the fundamentals of atomic structure, the consequences for forming bonds and the resulting molecular structures. This will introduce to them the concepts of orbitals, shapes of molecules, and how these may be identified through spectroscopy. Experience gained through looking at simple diatomics and polyatomics will be extended to the structures of organic and inorganic molecules and to intermolecular interactions affecting macroscopic states of matter. This module will build on existing understanding and will employ mathematics taught in other modules (CH-122) to conceptualise material taught in this module. The module will have a variety of formative assessment opportunities and summative assessments that include writing of technical reports, a presentation, homework, workshops, and an exam.

  • CH-124 Structure and Bonding 2

    Building on Structure and Bonding 1 (CH-123), this will extend the theoretical underpinning for atomic and molecular structure and will address more advanced examples from organic and inorganic chemistry as well as macroscopic systems. The content of this module will require knowledge developed in prior modules as well as independent reading outside scheduled sessions. The module will have a variety of formative assessment opportunities and summative assessments that include writing of technical reports, a presentation, homework, workshops, and an exam.

  • CH-125 Chemical Reactions 1

    This module will introduce students to the fundamentals of the physical aspects of chemical reactions, both thermodynamic and kinetic. These and other previously-understood concepts will then be applied to the student of addition reactions, both organic and inorganic. This module will build on existing understanding and will employ mathematics taught in other modules (CH-122) to conceptualise some of the material taught in this module. The module will have a variety of formative assessment opportunities and summative assessments that include writing of technical reports, a presentation, homework, workshops, and an exam.

  • CH-126 Chemical Reactions 2

    This module will continue the discussion of the fundamentals of the physical aspects of chemical reactions, both thermodynamic and kinetic. These and other previously-understood concepts will then be applied to the study of substitution and elimination and an introduction to redox reactions, both organic and inorganic. This module will build on existing understanding and will employ mathematics taught in other modules (CH-122) to conceptualise some of the material taught in this module. The module will have a variety of formative assessment opportunities and summative assessments that include writing of technical reports, a presentation, homework, workshops, and an exam.

  • CH-127 Chemical Practice

    This module will introduce students to the three broad employment areas for chemistry: research, teaching or industrial positions. The lecture portion will cover fundamental aspects of being a professional chemist including safety, report writing, project management, and teaching skills. Students will then spend 60 hours with research faculty, on an industrial field trip or serving as a teacher's aide. Assessment will be by coursework, continuing reports on their project, and a final oral and written report.

  • CH-232 Further Inorganic Chemistry

    This module will continue discussion of concepts traditionally considered to be inorganic chemistry studying the structure and bonding of main group and transition metal compounds and major classes of reactions. Symmetry and group theory will also be introduced in this module. Note: it is expected that material, techniques and skills covered in the course of this module will require understanding of any prior module. The module will have a variety of formative assessment opportunities and summative assessments that include writing of technical reports, a presentation, homework, workshops, and an exam.

  • CH-241 Analytical Chemistry

    This course will cover theory and applications of qualitative and quantitative analytical chemistry, with particular emphasis on quantitative chemical analysis. The students will learn about various processes and measurements involved in a chemical analysis, and about statistical analyses of the data acquired during such experiments. The topics related to both classic (e.g., titrations) and modern analytical techniques (e.g., separations and spectroscopy) will be covered. The module will have a variety of formative assessment opportunities and summative assessments that include writing of technical reports, a presentation, homework, workshops, and an exam.

  • CH-349 Integrated Topics in Chemistry

    This module gives students the opportunity to explore options within Chemistry, giving opportunity to apply prior learning to advanced research topics and allowing students to pursue more specialised topics related to their research interests and aligned with the research areas represented within the Department. Study areas available will include advanced spectroscopic techniques, the application of instrumentation in chemistry, as well as more advanced synthetic pathways and a return to more integrated study of the traditional branches of organic/inorganic/physical chemistry. Classes will be supported with workshops which will help students gain a thorough understanding of the integrated nature of Chemistry at an advanced level. Where possible, topics will be taught using relevant examples from primary literature, encouraging students to evaluate and appraise a range of primary literature sources and locate appropriate new sources. The module is designed to be flexible to allow the content to vary with the research areas represented within the Department.

  • CH-S00 Year Abroad (Chemistry)

    Study at a partner institution abroad.

More about me

From about 2000, however, my interests gradually moved from the research lab to the student environment in terms of both traditional teaching and student engagement.  I taught well over 45,000 students during my time in the US, mostly in the first year classes but also in sophomore organic and undergraduate and graduate inorganic classes.  During this time, I was able to develop a number of different strategies in class, many of which translate well to our new department here at Swansea.  I have been humbled during my career with 21 university-wide awards for teaching, student advising, and student engagement.  I also received a state-wide recognition in 2012 by being named a Piper Professor, one of 10 in the state of Texas.

Outside of the classroom, I was the Undergraduate Chair of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Houston for 14 years.  I was co-director of teachHouston from 2008 to 2016, which is one of the more successful science and math teacher preparation programmes in the US and was the first “replication” of the internationally recognized UTeach programme at the University of Texas.  These activities and others resulted in my membership of the American Chemical Society Committee on Education.  I was recently appointed to another term in that group, despite no longer living in the US.  I am only the second non-resident this century to serve in that group, Peter Atkins of Oxford University being the other.

I believe that chemical education is a life-long pursuit and also that chemistry is a subject that can engage and entrance students of all ages.  Accordingly, I have been very active in various outreach activities.  I have performed over 200 chemistry shows to combined multiple thousands of students; I was very instrumental in “Science Fairs” in the US, judging over 100 of these.  I was the Greater Houston representative for the US Chemistry Olympiad, and many other activities.  Partially to this end, I serve as the Vice-Chair of the South Wales West section of the Royal Society of Chemistry.