Teaching, outreach and mentoring

As a CNRS Research Director, I do not teach per se, and this frees up time to develop research methodology and mentor our fellows.

The lectures that I do give are aimed at Master level or above, and in this role I have been visiting a visiting Professor outside France in places including the University of San Luis (Argentina) in December 2013.

However, I do participate in yearly CNRS-Formation courses aimed at laboratory technicians and engineers which explains the essential theory and applications required to use commercial adsorption equipment dealing for the characterization of solids (CNRS Formation web site). This course is organized by Isabelle BEURROIES (isabelle.beurroies(at)univ-amu.fr).

I concentrate on the aspects dealing with the characterization of microporosity and equally give lectures dealing with the use of adsorption at room temperature and adsorption of mixtures.



Outreach Activities

Taking our research to the classroom and to the public in general is a particular interest of mine. It can involve some intellectual gymnastics to explain some of our research at these various levels, but this activity is often quite rewarding. I thus give lectures and/or demonstrations to various audiences several times per year. Some examples include:

  • Discussions around the topic of what is CO2,  preparation, uses and greenhouse effect with high school students from an underprivileged area in the north of Marseille.  This was accompanied by simple demonstrations of detection (lime water), dissolution in water and it's acidification as well as capture with zeolites. My intervention on this very hectic afternoon in May 2016 was organized by a national outreach association,  "les petits débrouillards".
  • Lecture/demonstration concerning "CO2 friend or foe ?"
  • Lecture/demonstration concerning "The problem of Hydrogen ?"
  • Lecture/demonstration concerning "Chemistry and colour", aimed at primary school children



Much of my research activity is carried out with home built automated experiments and are thus not labour intensive. I also privilege collaboration with experts in materials synthesis and molecular modeling with the strategy to optimize discovery. These points and the fact that my group of permanent staff and l still carry out some experiments mean that we concentrate on the quality mentoring of a limited number of early stage research fellows. The aim of this is to give our students facile access to PI's who have an ongoing felling for the experiments, full access to the apparatus required to carry out their research, the possibility of quality collaborations with who I consider world leaders in their respective fields... This thus opens the possibility to carry out innovative research, high-quality publications and overall provide the tools and experience which act as the best springboard to attaining their potential when they move onwards.

Below are listed some of my recent colleagues, their topics, a relevant publication or two and their position now.

  • Ege Dundar spent two years as a Post-doctoral fellow working on molecular modeling in MOFs [ref] with Bogdan Kuchta and low temperature hydrogen adsorption calorimetry with myself. Ege left us in June 2016 to work in Joeri Denayer's group in Brussels.
  • Julien Rodriguez spent a two year post-doc with us studying the mechanical properties of MOFs and their potential use in energy storage devices [ref1], [ref2], [ref3]. Julien also looked at the heats involved during methane storage in a flexible MOF in collaboration with J. Long [ref]. He left us in August 2015 and now teaches.
  • Andrew Wiersum finished his Doctorate with us in 2014 in the framework of an EU sponsored project (FP7 MACADEMIA). He worked on the development of screening methods [ref] and performance indicators [ref] to help chose which laboratory prepared adsorbents (MOFs) could be of interest for upscale and pilot testing. Andrew now works in Brussels for Exon.
  • Estelle Soubeyrand-Lenoir also finished her Doctorate in December 2014 in the EU sponsored project MACAMACADEMIA. She essentially studied the influence of humidity on CO2 capture [ref].  Estelle now works for the French Defense Department (DGA) in Paris.

We regularly host research colleagues from outside the group for short periods. These have included:  Eder Amayuelas (Bilbao - Spain), Christopher Norton (Bochum - Germany), Wahid Jeridi (Gabes - Tunisia), Redouane Melouki (Alger - Algeria), Jhonny Villarroel (San Luis - Argentina), Debora Maia (San Luis - Argentina).