Dr Peter Watson

Subject: Chemistry

Department: Chemistry

Academic position: Fellow by Examination


Dr Peter Watson is a physical chemist and spectroscopist with broad interests in structure-energy relationships and instrument design. He completed his PhD at the University of Western Australia under the supervision of Dr Duncan Wild. In his doctoral studies he investigated weakly bound complexes in the gas phase to provide insight into the entry and exit channels of atmospheric reactions.

After completing his PhD in 2022, Peter joined the group of Professor Stuart Mackenzie in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Oxford. Here, Peter investigated catalysis of gases on metal ions and clusters, and developed new instrumentation to study these interactions as part of an EPSRC Programme Grant, New Directions in Molecular Scattering. In March 2023, Peter joined Magdalen College as a Fellow by Examination.


Peter has broad interests in spectroscopy and structure and is currently researching how we understand fundamental reactions catalysed by metals. These include widely used Grignard reagents, commonplace in organic chemistry for creating carbon-carbon bonds. Peter’s goal is to determine spectroscopically how these species are formed and how best to improve their performance. As well as this, species exhibiting metal-carbon interactions are prime candidates for astronomical observations and robust, lab-based data can guide these searches.