Chemistry

Chemistry is an extremely successful subject at Charterhouse.

Chemistry at Charterhouse has a rich history and the department can boast the discoverer of two elements (Pd, Rh) amongst its Old Carthusians. The department at present is staffed by a well-qualified team of subject specialists several of whom have taught Chemistry at a university level. The labs are well stocked with modern laboratory equipment including UV-Vis spectrometers and a diamond IR-spectrometer. 

Chemistry is a core compulsory subject in the Under School and a popular choice for pupils in the Specialists, over a  quarter of pupils in the Sixth Form choose to study Chemistry beyond GCSE level. Each year many pupils go on to read Chemistry or a related subject, such as Natural Sciences or Medicine, at university. 

In the Under School, years 9-11, pupils study the Edexcel iGCSE Chemistry syllabus, this provides a very strong foundation for continuing with Chemistry into the sixth form. In the Specialists, years 12-13, Chemistry is offered in the form of the CIE Pre-U or as part of the International Baccalaureate. Both courses cover Chemistry in an academically rigorous manner and provide pupils with an excellent foundation for higher level study. The department offers pupils the chance to enhance their knowledge outside the standard syllabus with numerous national competitions such as RSC Chemistry Olympiad and regular lectures from prestigious speakers such as Peter Atkins and Peter Wothers. 

Full details of the curriculum are available in the Under School (Years 9-11) Curriculum and Sixth Form Curriculum sections.

Dr Robert Snell, BSc, MChem, DPhil -  Head of Department

Dr Snell joined Charterhouse in 2013 following the completion of his post-doctoral research at the University of Cambridge. Dr Snell specialises in organic chemistry, in particular the synthesis of natural products, he holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford (Brasenose College). Dr Snell completed his undergraduate studies at the universities of Exeter and Bath and has worked in numerous academic and industrial labs across the UK and in Singapore. Outside of the classroom he has an active interest in cycling, rock climbing, martial arts and is involved with the CCF (army), Judo and hockey within the School. He is a House Tutor in Lockites.

Mr Andrew Johnson, MSc

After being awarded the Rex Whinfield Prize for obtaining the top First Class Honours at the University of York, Mr Johnson then took up his life-long passion to become a teacher and joined Charterhouse in 1989. Since then he has fully embraced the life of a boarding school teacher running a variety of extra-curricular activities, though focussing mainly on the sporting and outward bound areas, and in the interim has also run the Chemistry Department for five years. He is Racquets, Master of Examinations and is a tutor in Weekites.

Mr Robert Morgan, BSc

Mr Morgan is a teacher with twenty-two years’ experience teaching Chemistry, formerly at Wisbech Grammar School where he was the Head of Chemistry.  After gaining a BSc in Biochemistry at University College Swansea, Mr Morgan worked as a process manager at ICI Chemicals and Polymers. He started teaching after he took a PGCE at the University of Worcester.  His interests include running, cycling, tennis, squash, reading and travel. 

Dr Geoff Nelson, BSc, MSc, DPhil 

Born and educated in Canada, Dr Nelson gained his BSc and MSc at Queen’s University Kingston, Ontario. After completing an DPhil at the University of Oxford, he undertook a role as a post-doctoral research associate at Imperial College London, moving to become an Instructor of Chemistry at Bader International Study Centre. He joins Charterhouse on a one year appointment from Oxford, where he has been a Stipendiary Lecturer of Physical Chemistry and Visiting Researcher since 2013. Geoff’s interests include CCF, rowing, cricket, football, music and military history.  

Miss Nicola Shedden, BSc

Miss Shedden joined Charterhouse having taught at The Harrodian School. She was educated at St. George’s School in Ascot and gained her BSc in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Durham and stayed on to complete her PGCE. Her interests include tennis, badminton, skiing and horse-riding.

Mr William Taylor, MSci, MA

Mr Taylor joined Charterhouse in 2015 coming from an industrial production chemist position specialising in aroma chemicals. He read Natural Sciences at Clare College, Cambridge, focusing his academic interests towards Chemistry and Physics. Mr Taylor has a particular enthusiasm for organic synthesis techniques and medicinal chemistry. His other interests include kung fu, jiu-jitsu, scuba diving and rowing.

Miss Jeni Tod, MSc

Miss Tod studied Chemistry at Oxford University specialising in Physical Chemistry. After work as a business consultant she undertook teacher training at the Institute of Education in London. Her first teaching post was at Highgate school in North London, before she moved to Charterhouse in 2011. Miss Tod is also Warden of Chetwynd, the main girls' Hall of Residence, and was previously Master of the Specialists (Sixth Form). Outside of the classroom she is a keen sailor and is the Master in Charge of sailing at the School.