Dr Peter Childs is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemical & Environmental Sciences at the University of Limerick. He is President of the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland and Chairman of the European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences (EuCheMS) Division of Chemical Education. Dr Childs was an Open Scholar at Oxford, where he studied Chemistry and gained his D.Phil. in 1968. He was a Fulbright Scholar and a post-doctoral research fellow at Northwestern University, Illinois before serving for a number of years as lecturer in Chemistry at Makerere, Kampala, Uganda. Upon returning to the UK he held research posts at the universities of York and Leeds, and was a part-time tutor with the Open University before moving to Ireland to take up a lectureship in Chemistry at Thomond College of Education and then at the University of Limerick. Dr Childs was BP Science Educator of the Year in 1985 and was Irish nominee for the UNESCO Science Prize in 1999. He has gained a number of awards, including the Boyle-Higgins Gold Medal of the Institute of Chemistry, Ireland (1992) and the Lucent Foundation Award for the Lucent Science teacher initiative (with George McClelland and Frank McGourty, 2000-2003). The University of Limerick gave him their Community Service Award in 2001 and the Royal Society of Chemistry their Higher Education Teaching Award for 2002-2003.
Dr Childs has been involved in various aspects of chemical education: curriculum development; role of practical work; language in science education; promotion of chemistry in schools; environmental science education; industry-education liaison; analysis of science performance; teaching of environmental chemistry; European liaison in chemical education; third level teaching of chemistry in Ireland; training of chemistry teachers. Amongst his other research interests are the history of chemistry, particularly in relation to Ireland – he is currently researching the history of the early Irish chemical industry – the history of chemical language and nomenclature and the role of serendipity in chemical discovery.
Dr Childs is a frequent speaker on Science and Faith issues and gained the Templeton Award for Science and Religion Courses (with Dr Michael Culhane) in 2000.
- Olga Aslibekian, Peter Childs and Richard Moles, Metal Concentrations in Surface Waters in the Vicinity of the Silvermines Abandoned Mine Site, ,Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 21, 347-352, 1999
- Childs, P.E. ‘Science education in the Republic of Ireland and the ‘Celtic Tiger’’, Revista de Educacion en Ciencias, 2(1), 6-12, 2001
- Childs, P.E. Securing the future of chemistry: a case study of developments in chemical education in Ireland’, CERAPIE, 3(3), 2002, 361-369
- Childs, P.E. ‘James Muspratt’ in Irish Innovators in science and technology, edited by Charles Mollan, William Davis and Brendan Finucane, Dublin: RIA, 2002, 68-69
- Childs, P.E. ‘A woman of substance’, Chemistry in Britain, 39(1), Jan. 2003, 41-43