Colour Synthesis Solutions’ Women in Science – Louise Hall

 Meet Louise Hall, Analytical Chemist, at Colour Synthesis Solutions (CSS)!

We are putting the digital spotlight on Louise in the second installment of our series CSS Women in Science.

Colour Synthesis Solutions appreciates the efforts of our dedicated team as we utilize an unparalleled expertise in chemistry and colour to solve problems via creative solutions for our clients.

Our Women in Science feature will peer beyond the traditional job description and provide extra insight about these valuable members of the CSS team.

We asked Louise to answer these questions:

  • Where did you go to school? 

Louise: The University of Salford in Greater Manchester, England.

  • What made you choose chemistry?

Louise: At high school my favourite subjects were the sciences, and I went on to study all three at the A Level. I’m very much not an artistic person — something my mother delights in reminding me still (LOL), and now my teenage daughter also makes the same comments to me! So, it was always going to be a technical/scientific path I followed.  

I really enjoy the investigative nature of the sciences and how logical and ordered it can be, as well as interesting! At A Level, I realised just what a male-dominated area the sciences were. Certainly, this was the case at my college. In our physics class there were just two girls – more in the biology and chemistry, but still many more boys to girls. This made me even more determined to stick it out and follow a scientific career! At A Level I enjoyed Chemistry and Biology more than Physics and so I eventually narrowed it down to Chemistry following some career advice.

  • Favourite type of project you have worked on at CSS?

Louise: I can’t relate specifically to a project at CSS, as I have not really been there long enough. However, as an analytical chemist it is always interesting learning new techniques of analysis that can complement the analytical capabilities within a laboratory.

In any aspect of science things are always changing, developing and improving. You can never know everything and there’s always something more you can learn to develop your own understanding. During my career to date this has happened a number of times on techniques new to me and techniques I have been using now for almost 20 years!

In my last analytical role for example, which is similar to CSS now, it was very exciting adding LCMS to our laboratory after many years of it being on the wish list to complement the GCMS! At that point LCMS was something I had never used or been hands on with in a practical setting. I was involved in the choice of instrument, visiting manufacturers for demonstrations of instruments, working with the engineers when the instrument was installed and was then given the task of becoming the in-house ‘super-user’ and all LCMS came my way once the instrument was set-up and running. This was an enjoyable, rewarding and daunting task!

A lot of time was spent reading up on the subject, experimenting with the instrument and communication with a Swiss colleague who was an expert in order for me to pick up enough knowledge to get the analysis going for us in Manchester. There is still much more I can learn about this technique and others I use daily! Whenever you add new techniques there is great satisfaction when you finally have it set-up and running and see the results!

I’ve been very fortunate in my analytical experience. Working in a research and development environment has meant that over the years I have been able to use many different analytical techniques and this has certainly kept the career interesting!

  • How has CSS helped achieve some of your goals? 

Louise: After having my second child I decided to take a break from work for 12 months prior to him starting school. I wanted to take some time out and have that time with him. I knew this would be the last time I had a little toddler around, so I wanted to make the most of it! I then returned to work in a different career but still within sciences, but found that I missed the lab activities, the analytical instruments and the practical side. The longer time went by, the further away my analytical career felt.

CSS is giving me the opportunity to return to the lab and the time to re-familiarise with the techniques.  After four years out of the lab, CSS took a chance and gave me an opportunity that I will be eternally grateful for! So far, 7 months, I think it’s working out well!

  • What is your favourite colour and why?

Louise: I don’t think I have one favourite colour. I like different colours for different moods, settings or clothes! I like dark colours for warmth/comfort/cosiness, light and bright colours for the garden/outdoors. I like a spectrum of colours, which is good for working in a dye company I suppose!