Andrea Sella

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Andrea Sella
OccupationChemist and broadcaster

Andrea Sella (born February 1961) is a chemist and broadcaster based at University College London where he is a Professor of Inorganic Chemistry.

He studies rare-earth metals[1] and collaborates with several research groups on hydrogen storage, carbonitrides, and nanotube insertion chemistry, he has been involved in numerous television documentaries, including the 2010 BBC documentary Chemistry: A Volatile History, which was nominated for the 2010 British Academy Television Awards in the category Specialist Factual.[2] In 2014 he presented "My Family and other Ibex"[3] and "Urine Trouble: What's in our Water"[4] on BBC Radio 4, he has been a guest on Melvyn Bragg's In Our Time and appeared regularly on radio programmes like Start the Week, Weekend, Newshour, the Today Programme and the Infinite Monkey Cage. He has been consultant and contributor for the BBC World Service's series "Elemental Economics" presented by Justin Rowlatt.[5]

Early life[edit]

He was born in Italy In 1961, but grew up in the USA and East Africa.

He studied chemistry at Trinity College, University of Toronto as an undergraduate and did research for a PhD under Professor Robert H Morris, he completed a PhD in Chemistry from 1986-90 at Balliol College, Oxford studying with Professor Malcolm Green.


His monthly column in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Chemistry World, "Classic Kit", with guest contributions by his Masters student, Talitha Humphrey, explores the history of chemistry through the lens of scientific apparatus.[6]

He is also well known for science demonstrations for both schoolchildren and adults,[7] he sits on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Cheltenham Science Festival and on the Education Committee of the Royal Institution.

He was awarded the 2014 Michael Faraday Prize from The Royal Society for "his excellent work in science communication".[8]

Since February 2014, he has been a frequent guest speaker in a BBC World Service radio programme called "Elements",[9] he explains how chemical elements behave, react, and how they are used. In the programme that aired on 16 September 2016 featuring thorium, he temporarily replaced Justin Rowlatt as the host.[10]


  1. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - The Life Scientific, Andrea Sella". 2012-09-11. Retrieved 2014-08-15.
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  5. ^ "Elemental Economics". 2015-01-23. Retrieved 2015-01-23.
  6. ^ "Classic Kit | Chemistry World". Archived from the original on 2015-01-10. Retrieved 2014-12-15.
  7. ^ Nina Notman. "Pied Piper of chemistry | Chemistry World". Retrieved 2014-08-15.
  8. ^ "UCL scientists honoured by Royal Society". University College London. 2014-08-24.
  9. ^ "Elements - BBC World Service". BBC. Retrieved 2016-09-18.
  10. ^ "Thorium (Th), Elements - BBC World Service". BBC. Retrieved 2016-09-18.