Professor Claire Vallance

Fellow and Tutor in Physical Chemistry

University Lecturer in Physical Chemistry

BSc.(hons), PhD, LTCL

Claire holds a B.Sc.(hons) degree from the University of Canterbury (Christchurch, New Zealand), where she graduated first in her year.  She stayed at Canterbury for her Ph.D. studies with Prof. Peter Harland, spending a six month period working in Oxford with Prof. Mark Brouard.  On completion of her Ph.D., she returned to Oxford to take up a Violette and Samuel Glasstone Fellowship in the Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory and a Junior Research Fellowship at St. Catherine’s College.  This was followed by a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in the Department of Chemistry and a Tutorial Fellowship at Hertford College.  In 2005 she was appointed to a University Lectureship in Physical Chemistry in association with Hertford College, and in 2014 she was awarded the title of Professor of Physical Chemistry. 

Undergraduate teaching 

Claire is responsible for all of the physical chemistry tutorial teaching in Hertford.  The physical chemistry course covers thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, spectroscopy, photochemistry, surface chemistry, and much more!  Within the Department of Chemistry, Claire gives lecture courses on a range of topics, including chemical kinetics, reaction dynamics, and astrochemistry, and is also involved in teaching the undergraduate laboratory course.

Postgraduate teaching 

Claire has an active research group within the Department of Chemistry, and supervises a number of postdoctoral fellows, D.Phil. students and fourth year (“Part II”) students on the M.Chem. course.


Claire’s research interests include reaction dynamics (understanding the ‘physics’ of chemical reactivity), imaging mass spectrometry, and the development of laser spectroscopy techniques for chemical sensing.  Further details of Claire’s research can be found at


See ‘Publications’ page at