Will Hartz

Academic Profile

In 2017, I graduated with a Masters in Chemistry from Oxford University. During my first four years in Oxford I enjoyed working as part of an Organic Chemistry research group and having the opportunity to go on a polar expedition.

For my master's research I aimed to develop new methodology for the synthesis of novel organic compounds for polymer surface modification. Potential applications include anti fraud banknotes, polymer body implants and glues for smartphones.

I was also fortunate to be part of a team retracing the first crossing of the Arctic Island of Spitsbergen done by Oxford University in 1923. We conducted repeat photographs of the landscape, created digital elevation models of a glacier and collected DNA vascular plant samples. We have since made a feature length documentary about our expedition, which premiered at the Royal Geographical Society in November 2017 (www.SpitsbergenRetraced.com).

Current Research

Whilst science has undoubtedly advanced technology, often overlooked are the “whole-of-life” effects of new technologies and therefore understanding the ‘post-consumer’ environmental effects is important research.

My primary research interests are in Organic Chemistry and in Polar regions. Hence I have become interested in Arctic pollution, particularly persistent organic pollutants. For my research I wish to understand this further by quantifying their presence, potentially through the development of new techniques, in abiota (and more rarely biota) with the intent of shedding more light of the movement of pollutants to and within polar regions.

In 2018, I am studying and researching for 5 months at the University Centre in Svalbard in Arctic Norway. This is an exciting opportunity to learn more about Arctic pollution, whilst conducting further fieldwork in the archipelago and studying as part of an international community.


Publications to follow

Contact information