Meet the Hello Bio team: Dr Richard Patterson

Meet the Hello Bio team: Dr Richard Patterson
7 years ago

Meet the Hello Bio team: Dr Richard Patterson

In our new blog post series, we're introducing you to the entire Hello Bio team, so you can get to know us a bit better. We’re a team of scientists (and friends!) who care passionately about supporting life scientists.

Today, it's the turn of Dr. Richard (Rich) Patterson, our Head of Chemistry!

So Rich, did you always want to be a scientist when you were younger?

Yes, once I started to learn about science at school. Before that I wanted to be Indiana Jones.

What made you pursue a career in chemistry?

I was always fascinated by fireworks and rockets (as all kids are) but I became even more fascinated when I started to understand how they worked and how to make them. (But don’t try that at home, kids!)

What was your PhD in?

Following my degree at Swansea University, I studied for my PhD in organofluorine chemistry, at Cardiff University. In particular I was looking at the effects of fluorine in drug candidates and how substituting fluorine for alcohols and other groups in the molecule can improve its properties – solubility, bioactivity etc. After my PhD I then took a post-doctoral research position at Bath University.

What advice would you give someone just starting their PhD?

There’s a lot of science out there, if something isn’t working don’t worry about it - just try something else.

What did you enjoy most about your PhD?

I loved the idea that I was making and doing things that no one had ever done before. It was a bit like exploring (though not quite the same as Indiana Jones).

If you weren't a scientist what do you think you would be doing?

I think I might have been a writer, I’m convinced I’ve got at least one decent novel in me.

What is it about life science that gets you most excited?

The endless possibilities, there are literally no limits to what can be done.

Which scientists working today do you admire and why?

I’m a fan of some of the physicists and cosmologists like Julian Barbour, Roger Penrose and Lee Smolin. I’ve read some of their books and the ~6% that I can actually understand I find fascinating.

What is your favourite scientist joke?

A photon boards a plane and the steward asks if he has any luggage. ‘No’, he says ‘I’m traveling light.’

What’s your favourite science quote?

Einstein ‘We cannot solve problems with the same thinking that we used to create them’

What do you think is the greatest scientific discovery of all time?

I think it was Boltzmann, and the second law of thermodynamics; it’s the driving force behind almost everything we know about the universe. And yet there are still some phenomena (in biology and cosmology) which run in completely the opposite direction and no one really understands why.

What do you enjoy most about working for Hello Bio?

I think it’s that we genuinely try to help researchers as much as we can. I’ve worked for other companies in the industry who are solely driven by squeezing a maximum profit, there’s just no job satisfaction in that.

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