Dr. Mark Foreman is an associate professor at Chalmers University in Sweden. He is very much interested in solvent extraction. Within the TARANTULA project, he aims to develop new solvent extraction processes that allow for an efficient recovery of niobium and tantalum from ores. Read a short interview with him below. (23/07/2020)

Mark is holding a mixer settler stage.

What are you working on?

Within the TARANTULA project I am developing new solvent extraction processes which allow for an efficient recovery of niobium and tantalum from ores. This work also allows me to gain a better understanding of deep eutectic solvents. I have other research interests such as lithium recycling in the LIMEX project and the development of automated and semiautomated systems for the measurement of radioactivity.

What attracts you in the research project you are working on?

I am very pleased to be able to be part of the TARANTULA team as it gives me the opportunity to work on the topic I am so passionate about: metal chemistry. This work gives me the chance not only to put my knowledge of deep eutectic solvents (and related substances) to work, but also to deepen my understanding of them, and share this knowledge with colleagues from other partner institutions.

Where do you work? What do you like about your organization or the city you live in?

I work in Göteburg (Sweden) at Chalmers University of Technology in the Nuclear Chemistry / Industrial Materials Recycling unit (KK/IMR). I like Chalmers as it is a university where research on a wide range of different topics is done, I particularly like KK/IMR unit as it is a very diverse workplace, there we have a cooperative team who work on a range of important problems to make the world a better place.

Example of a uranium glass object

How do you recharge?

I have been involved with electronics since before I was ten and I have held an amateur radio license for close to thirty years. When I am not doing chemistry, cutting the grass or other everyday tasks, I often am considering various matters in electronics or occasionally even operating my radio station. I have been working on a design for an analogue (non-digital) computer which simulates the economy of a country.

Another hobby of mine is to collect uranium glasses (Vaseline glass) by going around second hand shops with a UV light. These items look normal under daylight, but the glass has fluorescent properties which appear under UV light.

Who is your hero, and why?

I say be careful when you choose a hero, some people who were heroes of mine are no longer heroes when I discover more about them. But an enduring hero of mine is Marie Curie, I admire her for being the first ever radio-chemist and for her careful work in isolating two new elements under primitive conditions without fouling herself internally with radium.

Biography

Mark Foreman is an associate professor who was born and grew up in Beckenham (Southeast London). After gaining a first class honors degree (ARCS + BSc) at Imperial College in chemistry he studied under Derek Woollins’s supervision at Loughborough for a PhD in organo sulfur phosphorus chemistry before working as a postdoc in Aberdeen, Brno, Imperial College and Reading. After working as a lecturer at Reading he moved to Sweden to work at Chalmers. Mark has an academic interest in solvent extraction, this includes the development of new reagents and processes using solvent extraction. Mark also has an interest in solvent extraction from deep eutectic solvents and other hypersaline media. Mark’s other chemical interests include nuclear reactor chemistry (mainly accidents), coordination chemistry and main group chemistry.