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Saving precious elements

Join the Royal Society of Chemistry here at the Ri to celebrate Chemistry Week 2019

Royal Institution

Event description

Join us during the International Year of the Periodic Table to highlight how precious elements are being lost to landfill or hoarded in old tech devices.

Some elements, such as gallium and indium, have less than 100 years’ supply if we carry on using them at the rate that we currently do, so hear about the Royal Society of Chemistry's sustainability campaign to encourage government, retailers, consumers and manufacturers to play their part in safeguarding these elements for future generations.

About the panel

Chair: Victoria Gill

Victoria Gill is an award-winning science correspondent for BBC News, who’s reported on everything from missions to Mars to plastic pollution on Earth. Her work can be found on BBC television, radio and online news. She's completely fascinated by the natural world and you can find her most recent radio feature documentary on the amazing axolotl - Secrets of the Sacred Salamander- on BBC Radio iPlayer. 

Prof Andrea Sella

Prof Sella is a synthetic inorganic chemist, teacher of chemistry, and presenter of chemistry in public both live on stage, on radio and television, and through social media. He writes the Classic Kit column for Chemistry World and tweets under the name @SellaTheChemist.

Prof Margaret Bates

Prof Bates has been involved in wastes management for over 25 years and undertook her PhD on landfill microbiology. She is a Chartered Wastes Manager and a Chartered Environmentalist. Margaret has advised a range of governments on wastes management issues. She appears in the Hot 100 (Resource Magazine) most influential people in wastes management and acts as an expert for a range of local and national organisations.

Janet Gunter

Janet is an activist & anthropologist who co-founded the Restart Project in 2013 to address the throwaway, consumerist model of electronics and growing mountain of e-waste that it’s leaving behind. The project brings people together to share skills and gain the confidence to open up their stuff, providing a hands-on way of making a difference, as well as a way to talk about the wider issue of what kind of products they want.

Dr Tim Gabriel

Tim Gabriel is a Lecturer in Chemical Sciences at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he teaches Chemistry to laboratory scientist degree apprentices based in small to blue-chip chemical companies located all over England.  

His research looks at the creation of nanomaterials for the advancement of energy related devices. His journey into this field began with his PhD at Southampton University exploring the electrodeposition of mesoporous semiconductor materials.  More recently, Tim is developing nanomaterials and fabrication methods to enhance the efficiency of the hydrogen evolution reaction. Alongside his academic position, Tim is an experienced public speaker developing science based talks, demonstrations and sessions for schools and colleges, and in previous years has been an EPSRC science communicator, faraday lecturer, science writer and teaching consultant.


Those with an RSC VIP ticket are invited to a drinks and canape reception before the lecture. Please arrive from 6.00pm, where you will be directed to the reception on the ground floor. 

Please have your tickets ready at the door. 


The doors will open at approximately 6.30pm, with a prompt start at 7.00pm. There will be time for questions after the talk.

Latecomers will be admitted ot the gallery.

Please note that the cafe will be closed before the talk. Access to the building will start from 6.00pm. 


The theatre is on the first floor and there is step-free access from the street via lift.

The closest underground station is Green Park, which is step-free.

There is space at floor level in the theatre for wheelchair users.

Seating is usually unreserved for our events. If you and your group require seating reservations, please do let us know by email and we’ll be more than happy to help. Email:

Carers can receive a free ticket to an event by emailing

Our theatre is equipped with an Audio Induction Loop.