Meet our Director of Education: Professor Michael J Went

We continue our ongoing "meet the staff" series this week by putting our Director of Education, Professor Michael Went, in the spotlight.

Professor Michael J Went completed his first degree in chemistry before studying for a PhD in chemistry at the University of Bristol. A postdoctoral fellowship then enabled him to continue his research in inorganic chemistry at Northwestern University. Michael joined the University of Kent in 1986 initially teaching organometallic and transition metal chemistry. He was instrumental in establishing the forensic science programme at Kent and now teaches chemistry and forensic topics. He is currently the Director of Education for the School of Physical Sciences.

Here, Professor Michael Went shares his answers to our “Meet the Staff” questions.

1.What three words would you use to describe yourself? 

Professional, conscientious, enthusiastic.

2. What inspires you in your work?

Helping students achieve their potential.

3. When did you first realise your interest/passion for Chemistry and Forensic Science? 

At school.

4. What would you say was your greatest achievement in your research?

Developing organic transformations at metallic centres.

5. What areas would you like to see progress in research for the School of Physical Sciences?

Application of analytic methods in forensic science.

6. Why did you choose to teach at the University of Kent?

Kent offered the possibility to continue my research and develop my skills as a lecturer.

7. What has been a personal highlight for you in teaching?

Developing the mock forensic courts and supervising projects.

8. Which other areas of research would you personally like to study?

Medical imaging.

9. What is your proudest achievements outside of your work?

Passing my motorbike test (at second attempt)!

10. What has been your greatest challenge?

Developing the original forensic science programme at Kent.

11. What do you like most about Canterbury?

It’s a beautiful small historical city.

12. If you could pick anyone throughout history, to discuss their research in physical sciences, who would it be and why?

Michael Faraday because of his diverse interests in physical sciences and his commitment to public lectures.


Thank you Mike for your time and answering our questions.

Stay tuned for our next member of SPS in next month’s newsletter.