Laurence Hardwick

Favourite Thing: Watching data appear on a screen as is it generated live and wondering what does it all mean



King Edwards VI Comprehensive, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, UK


MCHEM Chemistry (2003) Southampton, UK and PhD (2006) ETH-Zurich, Switzerland

Work History:

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA (2007-2008), University of St Andrews (2008-2011), University of Liverpool (2011-present)

Current Job:

Reader in Chemistry


University of Liverpool

About Me

I am an electrochemist interested in understanding how batteries work and how to make major improvements to the amounts of energy that batteries can store

My Work

I am a chemist who uses spectroscopy to understand the chemical reactions occuring inside batteries

My research focus is on a type of battery that uses oxygen from the air as a reactant, this family of batteries are called metal-air batteries. Unlike many other battery types which are sealed inside a metal container, these types of batteries have one of their electrodes (the cathode) exposed to the air.

Metal-air battery chemistry is very exciting as it could allow for a battery to have up to ten times more energy storage by mass than present day lithium-ion batteries. Imagine only have to charge your smart phone only once a fortnight! Or imagine driving an electric car for 300 miles before having to recharge!

Why do we not have metal-air batteries today? There are a number of challenges to overcome in material and electrolyte design in order minimise side reactions so that the battery will have long enough useful life. My motivation is to use spectroscopic techniques (such as infrared spectroscopy) that can identify the chemical  reaction pathways of both the desirable and undesirable chemical reactions so that we can design better materials to give  optimum performance.

My Typical Day

Writing up research, applying for funding, working with Postdocs, PhD students and undergraduate project students, teaching preparation and delivery

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Motivated, relaxed, organised

Who is your favourite singer or band?

The Beatles

What's your favourite food?

Sunday Roast

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Seeing a mother and baby bear walking through our picnic in Yosemite National Park

What did you want to be after you left school?

A scientist

Were you ever in trouble at school?


What was your favourite subject at school?

Chemistry (no surprises there!)

My favourite CHRISTMAS LECTURE memory is:

Will be this year – as it is on the research area I am very much interested and involved in

Tell us a joke.

“Oh”! The element of surprise.

Other stuff

Work photos:

Lithium battery materials are generally air and moisture sensitive, therefore in order for us to make our lab scale test cells, we have to use gloveboxes, such as these to assemble them, which contain an inert gas called argon.myimage1