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hristopher Exley is one of the most knowledgeable and widely cited aluminumresearchers in the world. Exley has published over 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers and recently authored a book about aluminum, “Imagine You Are an Aluminum Atom: Discussions With Mr. Aluminum” (Skyhorse, 2020).
However, in July of last year, Exley was forced out of his position as a tenured professor. His extensive scientific discoveries, he explained, have started to call into question the safety of aluminum, especially when it becomes sequestered in the human brain.
Instead of celebrating this important science, Exley’s university withdrew funding for his research.
A Devoted Aluminum Researcher
On any given day in his old laboratory at Keele University in Staffordshire, England, you could find Exley—bespectacled, blue-jeaned, and pony-tailed—looking over an experiment design with his graduate students, double-checking the results of an analysis, or discussing the meaning of his team’s most recent findings.
His path toward becoming a research scientist was straightforward: After earning an undergraduate degree in Biology, Exley received funding from Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), Britain’s largest chemical company, to earn his Ph.D. ICI is the parent company for both Syngenta, which bioengineers seeds and other agricultural products, and the vaccine manufacturer, AstraZeneca.
In 1992, Exley began working at Keele. The university sits on a wooded campus with seven lakes and ornate stonework 19th-century buildings. Today some 10,000 students study there.
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