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Department of Chemistry

 
Portrait of pdw12

Teaching

Dr Peter Wothers is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge and a Fellow and Director of Studies in Chemistry at St Catharine’s College.  Aside from lecturing to Natural Science undergraduates at Cambridge, he is involved with a number of projects bridging the transition between sixth-form and university. 

He was instrumental in developing the syllabus for the Chemistry Pre-University qualification and acted as the Senior Examiner for the final years of the Chemistry STEP before it was replaced first by the Advanced Extension Awards, and then the A*.

Outreach

Peter is heavily involved in promoting chemistry to young students and members of the public, and for over 20 years at the annual Chemistry Open Day he has been presenting exciting and informative lectures.

Peter is also involved with the Chemistry Olympiad, organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry, setting challenging papers for year 13 students.  He organised the 41st International Chemistry Olympiad in Cambridge in 2009 and is also the Chair of the Steering Committee for the IChO.  Working with colleagues and teachers across the country he created the popular Cambridge Chemistry Challenge, C3L6, with both an international online competition and a demanding written paper aimed at year 12 students in the UK. 

In 2012 Peter presented The Modern Alchemist at the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, which are aimed at young people and were initiated in 1825 by Michael Faraday.

Peter was awarded the 2013 Nyholm Prize for Education by the Royal Society of Chemistry for his outreach activities. 

Download videos of Dr Wothers' Open Day Lectures.

Popular science writing

Peter has also authored a number of popular textbooks including the first edition of Organic Chemistry with Clayden, Greeves and Warren, and Chemical Structure and Reactivity with colleague (now Head of Department) James Keeler. His latest popular science book, Antimony, Gold and Jupiter's Wolf will be out for Christmas 2019.

Other interests

Peter has a keen interest in the history of chemistry and has amassed a significant collection of early works on the subject. In 2018 he delivered the Sandars' Lectures at St Catharine's College, using antique science books from his own collection, including some of the earliest books written by women chemists working prior to Marie Curie. 

Read more about Peter's Sandars' Lectures.

Publications

Chemical structure and reactivity: an integrated approach
J Keeler, P Wothers
(2008)
Organic chemistry
J Clayden, N Greeves, S Warren, P Wothers
(2006)
Why chemical reactions happen
J Keeler, P Wothers
(2003)
Conformational equilibria involving 2-amino-1,3-dioxans: steric control of the anomeric effect
AJ Kirby, PD Wothers
– Arkivoc
(2001)
2,
58
Stereoelectronic interactions between hetero-atoms
AJ Kirby, IV Komarov, PD Wothers, N Feeder, PG Jones
– Pure and Applied Chemistry
(1999)
71,
385
A test for the reverse anomeric effect
PG Jones, AJ Kirby, IV Komarov, PD Wothers
– Chemical Communications
(1998)
1695
The Most Twisted Amide: Structure and Reactions.
AJ Kirby, IV Komarov, PD Wothers, N Feeder
– Angewandte Chemie - International Edition
(1998)
37,
785

Research Interest Group

Telephone number

01223 336320

Email address

pdw12@cam.ac.uk