Francesca Palombo

Favourite Thing: Discovery through experiments



2003-2007: PhD in Physical Chemistry, University of Perugia, Italy; 1998-2003: MSc in Chemistry, University of Perugia; 1993-1998: Scientific lyceum “G. Pellecchia”, Cassino, Italy


PhD; MSc; Chartered Chemist

Work History:

2013-present: University of Exeter; 2012-2013: University of East Anglia; 2009-2011: University of Perugia, Italy; 2007-2009: Imperial College London

Current Job:

Lecturer in Biomedical Spectroscopy


University of Exeter

Me and my work

I feel comfortable when I do my work in an effective and vibrant environment; science is always new and challenging, that is why I love it.

My Typical Day

I turn on the PC, check my emails, start replying, go for a meeting, check emails again, go for lunch, back with emails, work on a paper or grant proposal, get in touch with collaborators and supervised students, finish off with emails and take docs home for reading.

I should say it is not all about emails! I have got 4 tutorial groups per week, meaning that I meet about 20 students (Physics and Natural Sciences, first year) for one hour per week and provide support during their studies. I also prepare lectures (Physical Chemistry for second year Natural Science students) and assess undergraduate and postgraduate students in their research activities. I am a supervisor and mentor of PhD students. I submit papers on my research and grant proposals to get funding for my research. I review papers that other scientists have submitted for publication. I attend conferences to present my research and to get to know the advances in my field and whether I can collaborate with other scientists to perform some work. I am interested in research communication and in activities aimed at inspiring the next generations of scientists. I am keen in encouraging women to decide for a career in science and academia.

What I'd do with the money

I would invest the money to support communication and outreach activities

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Committed; loyal; workaholic

Who is your favourite singer or band?

There are many but probably now I would say Franz Ferdinand

What's your favourite food?


What is the most fun thing you've done?

Sledging with friends using plastic bags on a snowy hill at night – the greatest fun ever!

What did you want to be after you left school?

Manager in industry

Were you ever in trouble at school?

Sometimes – covering up school mates who got in trouble

What was your favourite subject at school?


What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

Managing an ultrafast laser experiment

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

My science teacher in high school – she was brilliant

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

Architect; missionary

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

Receive the Nobel prize; receive this prize; have my relatives to live closer to me

Tell us a joke.

What did the thermometer say to the graduated cylinder? You may have graduated, but I have many degrees

Other stuff

Work photos: