Dr Simon Cotton - honorary senior lecturer in the School of Chemistry - was acknowledged in the New Year's honours list with the award of the British Empire Medal for his services to Chemistry and Education. On the 28th April Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Mr Sabapathy CBE, OBE, visited the School, on behalf of the queen to present the medal to Dr Cotton. Many friends and colleagues gathered in the School to share in the celebration and recognition of Simon's dedication to the teaching chemistry to young people, as well as his more broader outreach activities through his writing and podcasts.

Dr Cotton taught Chemistry for 30 years in schools across the country, until his retirement 3 years ago. He is now Honorary Senior Lecturer in Chemistry at the University of Birmingham, where he teaches foundation, 2nd and 3rd year inorganic chemistry. He has written six chemistry related books, and chemistry students across the UK will be familiar with his 'Soundbite Molecules' column, which has appeared in the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) magazine Education in Chemistry since 1996, as well as a number of podcasts he has made for the RSC. He also regularly writes for the 'Molecule of the Month' feature, and the University of Birmingham Conversation blog.