Robert Bowles

Favourite Thing: Doing an experiment that works and proves your hypothesis. Much harder to do than you’d think.



Kings College Guildford, although it was called Park Barn then (1984-1990). University of Portsmouth. (1990-1997)


8 GCSEs A-C; A Level Biology and Physics; AS level in Economics; BSc (Hons) in Biology; PhD in marine biotechnology

Work History:

My PhD involved researching the production of fish oil by algae. Then I did 2 years research into how to grow algae to sell to fish farmers. Following that I did sales and marketing for an educational software company and I have now worked at the Royal Society of Chemistry for 8 years.

Current Job:

Providing career support to members of the Royal Society of Chemistry.


The Royal Society of Chemistry

Me and my work

I develop online career resources for the Royal Society of Chemistry.

I’m not currently working as a scientist but I do help other scientists to plan and manage their own careers. I work for the The Royal Society of Chemistry, which is the UK’s professional body for chemical scientists, supporting and representing our members and bringing together chemical scientists from all over the world.

In a complex and changing world, chemistry and the chemical sciences are essential. They are vital in our everyday lives and will be vital in helping the world respond to some of its biggest challenges.

We have over 50,000 members who work in many different jobs and my job is to help them make the most of their careers by developing a really good website which provides them with everything they need to work out what they want to do with their careers. Many of them start doing one thing and then end up wanting to try something else. Some want to work in a lab and others want to use their scientific knowledge in other ways. Others want to change jobs because their personal cirucmstances change or they need to move. Many of them come to us when they have a career decision to make, and we help them to make the one that’s right for them.

The Royal Society of Chemistry  also invests in educating future generations of scientists by supporting things like I’m A Scientist. Part of this investment has been building of our new careers website called A Future in Chemistry which I project managed. It shows the really wide range of careers open to people who study chemistry and also provides information about what to study and where to study it, once you leave school or college.

What I'd do with the money

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Cheerful, relaxed, scientist

Who is your favourite singer or band?

I can’t pick just one! I love a bit of 80’s rock though, so MeatLoaf and Marillion would be on the list and Madness wouldn’t be far behind. Bascially any band that begins with an M.

What's your favourite food?

I love a really good burger!

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Whitewater rafting in the Dominican Republic.

What did you want to be after you left school?

I really had no idea. I thought I might want to work in publishing because I’ve always liked books.

Were you ever in trouble at school?

A few times, nothing major though. The odd detention and I once got given lines at middle school for reading a comic in class!

What was your favourite subject at school?

Honestly – it was biology, even though I work for the Royal Society of Chemistry now. See? Just shows the multi-disciplinary nature of science!

What's the coolest job in chemistry you've come across?

Working for the World Gold Council – promoting the uses and applications of gold. Yes, that’s a real job! Although the chemists working for the Bank of England designing new bank notes come a close second.

What do you think is the best science discovery in history?

So many to choose from but I’d probably pick DNA. It’s structure is so simple and yet complex at the same time.

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

Hmm, I’d really like to have a job where I can take as much time off as I’d like to go travelling to all the places I haven’t been to yet, but want to. And have the money to do it. 3rd wish? Probably to be a little bit fitter.

Tell us a joke.

A scientist was driving along when he realised he had lost his way. He pulled into a gateway where he saw a man standing in a field. The scientist looked at his map and still could not work out where he was (it was in the days before SatNavs!). The man continued to stand in the field. The scientist called the man over and said, “I hope I’m not disturbing you, but I was wondering if you could tell me where I am”. The man, who it turned out was the farmer, came over and said to the scientist that he was disturbing something very important because the farmer was waiting for his Nobel Prize. The scientist thought this curious so asked the man how could this could be. The farmer responded that as he understood it a Nobel Prize was awarded to someone who was outstanding in his own field!

Other stuff

Work photos:

The Royal Society of Chemistry has an office in London in Burlington House on Piccadilly. myimage1

I work at our office in Cambridge. myimage2 I hope the purple sky doesn’t mark the start of a Zombie Apocalypse!

This is our main office in Cambridge, not a lab bench in sight. myimage3