Jon Benton

Favourite Thing: I really like learning and discovering new things. Everything is really interesting and I think the best thing is when you come up with an idea and get to see it develop overtime to something that is really quite special.



Guthlaxton College 2002 – 2006


University of Manchester 2006 – 2010, University of Sheffield 2010 –

Work History:

Infineum UK Ltd. 2008-2009


University of Sheffield

Current Job:

Postgraduate Student

Me and my work

I currently look at splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen via sunlight to produce clean renewable fuel for the future.

I’m a PhD student at the University of Sheffield and am one of the many scientists out there in the world looking at tackling the energy crisis of the future.  I am hoping to produce a new pathway for the production of hydrogen via sunlight.

It’s really exciting to see so much work being done on an area that is really important for the future, but fingers crossed I’ll get there first :p.

My Typical Day

I check what I need to do and spend a lot of time in the lab either preparing a sample or testing it.

As there is so much to learn and not much time to do it in, I often have to plan my days quite well.  As I’m involved in looking at devices, sometimes this means I’m in the lab fabricating new devices and other days I’ll be testing them.  Sometimes of course, I have to spend time in the office going over my results and learning about what other people in my area are doing.  Each day can be really varied and it is surprising how long certain tasks can take.

I have fun though with the people I work with and get to use some really cool equipment including lasers for analysis and a device that recreates the sun inside my fume hood.

What I'd do with the money

Develop educational tools to raise awareness on renewable energy.

I have been developing a book series for primary school children to work alongside a website I am also hoping to create. The purpose is to raise awareness of renewable energy, recycling and sustainability – an area I am passionate in.  I also hope to expand this to provide online learning materials to raise the awareness of these important issues.  The money will help me to print copies of the first few editions to give to schools to develop the idea further and to try and make it available for everyone.

An example of my book title page: myimage1

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Passionate, inquisitive, friendly

Who is your favourite singer or band?


What is the most fun thing you've done?

Climbed to the top of Mt. Fuji in Japan and watched the sunrise – was awesome!

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

To be smarter, healthier and have more time.

What did you want to be after you left school?

I initially thought I wanted to be a lawyer but after doing a placement I decided against it, then after choosing to go to university I realised I wanted to go into research of some kind, however I’m still studying now and my final career choice definitely hasn’t been set in stone.

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

A few times, but honestly, I just enjoyed learning so always tried my best.

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

Tell us a joke.

Why do chemists call helium, curium and barium the medical elements?…………………………………..because if he can’t helium or curium you barium!