CHeMneT Events Autumn Term 2010

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15 December: Pates Grammar School, Cheltenham, Gloucs

41 Post 16 students from the Gloucestershire state school spent the afternoon extracting caffeine from tea in a laboratory session led by Declan Fleming (School Teacher Fellow at the University of Bath). This event was partially sponsored by the RSC.

The postgraduate assistants present were Monika Zeleznik, Maddy Strickland, Tom Turner and Joshua Konne.

09-10 December Winter School for Senior Students, National University of Singapore

A fast-paced chemistry workshop for senior school students was provided by Bristol ChemLabS and NUS chemists at the fourth Annual Winter Chemistry School. Fifty-six students spent two days in the teaching labs performing a variety of organic extractions and syntheses including making a water soluble orange diazo dye, benzocaine, paracetamol and oil of wintergreen. The polymer PET was also depolymerised.

Lectures on toothpaste chemistry (Tim Harrison), Silicon and Silicone Polymers (Ben Cheesman) and a 'Pollutant's Tale' were well received. Tours of the spectroscopy facilities at NUS were also enjoyed by the students.

Students from the following schools were in attendance: National Junior College, Pasir Ris Secondary School, Tanjong Katong Girl's School, United World College South East Asia (UWCSEA), Meridian Junior College and several home schooled students.

Details of the school and images can be found here.

07-08 December: Winter School for Young Chemists, National University of Singapore

37 students aged 13-14 attended the 4th Annual Winter School staffed jointly by Bristol ChemLabS and NUS. A wide range of experimental work saw students investigating the copper content of defunct Singapore 1 cent pieces, the iodine clock reaction and a circus of experiments on polymers. They also prepared benzoic acid and extracted caffeine from tea leaves and used thin layer chromatography to investigate some drug mixtures.

The students also enjoyed a chemistry quiz, a lecture on 'Fragrance Chemistry' and the lecture demonstrations 'A Pollutant's Tale' from Tim Harrison and 'Extremeophile Chemistry' from Preeti Kaur. Ben Cheesman Shirin Alexander and several postgraduates from NUS were also on hand to assist the students.

Students from the following schools were in attendance: Hwa Chong Institution High School, National Junior College, Pasir Ris Secondary School, SJI-International and home educated students.

More images of the event can be found here

06 December: Fragrance Chemistry Workshop, National University of Singapore

As part of the 4th Annual Winter Chemistry Schools held in Singapore an outreach team from Bristol ChemLabS ran a perfume chemistry workshop for 30 students aged 13+. The session started with Tim Harrison giving a one hour lecture demonstration on Fragrance Chemistry before the group were taken into the undergraduate teaching laboratories where Preeti Kaur and NUS postgraduates led sessions on the design of individual fragrances. The students then prepared their own fragrance to take home. We thank Professor Gaik-Khuan Chuah (NUS) for her organisation of this event.

More images of the event can be found here


30 November: Pollutant's Tale performed at B. Reed Henderson High School, West Chester, Pennsylvania

Tim Harrison and Dudley Shallcross gave two performances of a 'Pollutant's Tale' to an audience of 86 students (15-18) and science staff at B. Reed Henderson High School in Pennsylvania.

'Just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed your presentation on Tuesday. Students are continuing to ask questions about things they learned. Your presentation reminded several of us how important it is to relate the chemistry we teach to everyday issues and that we really need to make sure we are including demonstrations. Sometimes in this era of hands on learning, we forget that teacher demos still have meaning, especially those that are not appropriate for students to do themselves . Thank you again for sharing your time and resources with us, here at Henderson High School.' Deb Gordon, Science Department Chair.

25 November: Hollywood Science, Swindon Academy, Wilts

Research chemist Ben Cheesman presented the inaugural public performance of a lecture demonstration that described some of the chemistry used in the film industry. The 30 minute performance was the kick off to the evening event for a total of 156 Year 7 students and parents at the Swindon school.

"I just wanted to say thank you for the science show on Thursday - all those oooohhs and arrrhhhs - you were brilliant!" Dr Sarah Owenson, Teacher Leader for Science.

25 November: Updates Conference, Emmanuel Centre, Central London

Tim Harrison performed a shortened version of 'A Pollutant's Tale' as the final lecture at the London 'AS/A2 Student Chemistry Interest Day' held in Westminster, central London. 270 post 16 students and teachers were present. Tim joined a distinguished line up of chemists: Dr Oscar Ces (ICL), Dr Colin Chambers (QCA consultant), Dr Jonathan Hare (TV Scientist), Dr Andrea Sella (UCL) and Prof David Smith (York).

24 November: Bristol ChemLabS Schools Christmas Conferences

Christmas came early at Bristol ChemLabS with the annual Christmas Chemistry Conference for school students aged 15 to 18. Due to the popularity of this event two simultaneous conferences were held in the afternoon for the 530 students and teachers who attended from 19 schools spread over an area from Devon to Gloucestershire.

Students attending the original conference enjoyed lectures on 'The chemistry of climate change: greenhouse gas concentrations over the past 50 million years' given by Prof Rich Pancost (Bristol), the very popular 'Chemistry of Chocolate' by Bristol postgraduate Andy Chapman, and the ever funny lecture demonstration 'Chemistry for the Terrified' given by Dr John Kilcoyne (Sunderland and Brainiacs).

The students attending the 'Overflow Conference' saw Dr Alice Roberts (Bristol) give the informative talk 'The Chemistry of Death' whilst Andy Chapman gave a second performance of 'The Chemistry of Chocolate'. This session was completed by a lecture demonstration ‘A Chemical Delight,’ presented by Tim Harrison (Bristol).

The schools and colleges attending the original conference were: Bradley Stoke, Cheltenham Ladies College, Chilton Trinity Technology College, City Academy, Cotham School, Downside School, John of Gaunt School, Ivybridge Academy, Queen Elizabeth Hospital School, Sidcot School, Sir John Colfox, Sir William Romneys School, Strode College and Winchcombe School.

The overflow conference saw students from: City of Bristol College, Cotham School (group 2), Colston’s Girls School, Meriton, Redland Green School, Red Maids School and Taunton School.

John Kilcoyne later gave a second performance of 'Chemistry for the Terrified' during the evening on behalf of the Bristol and District branch of the Royal Society of Chemistry which was enjoyed by 70 people including a group of 10 students from Katherine Lady Berkeley School (Gloucs).

17 November: Caffeine Extraction Morning, Kingswood School, Bath

As part of the Schools' Laboratory Programme 19 Year 12 students from Kingswood School spent the morning extracting caffeine. The students then used infra red spectroscopy and melting point determination to analyse their samples.

Yannan Cui and Shirin Alexander were the two postgraduate STEM Ambassadors on hand to assist Tim Harrison with the practical work.

Photo from January 2010 RSC News

16 November: 'A Pollutant's Tale', Park Campus, University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham

Tim Harrison and Dudley Shallcross joined forces to deliver a performance of 'A Pollutant's Tale' at the University of Gloucestershire as part of the Bristol and District division of the Royal Society of Chemistry's 2010-2011 sponsored programme. The lecture demonstration was enjoyed by 220 senior school students and members of the public.

A report of the event may be found here.

16 November: Chilton Trinity Technology College, Bridgwater, Somerset

Joshua Howgego and Tim Harrison spent the morning delivering 3 sessions of spectroscopy as part of the RSC's Spectroscopy in a Suitcase project and an EU project on visible spectroscopy. A total of 32 students in triple science sets in years 10 and 11 were engaged.

Tim Harrison then delivered a performance of 'A Pollutant's Tale' to a total of 330 year 10 and year 8 students in the school hall.

15 November: Autumn Evening Schools' Conference 2010

This inaugural evening conference for 225 students in Years 10-13 saw Alice Roberts (Bristol) give a fascinating talk on 'The Chemistry of Death'. This was followed by Mike Davies-Coleman from Rhodes University, South Africa with a completely engaging lecture on 'Drugs from Sea Sponges'.

The nine schools attending were Badminton, Bristol Grammar School, Castle School, Cirencester College, Farmors School, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, St Bede's Catholic College, St Mary Redcliffe and Wotton Bassett School.

12 November: Lecture Demonstrations, Hayesfield Girls' School, Bath

Bristol ChemLabS gave three performances of the lecture demonstration 'A Pollutant's Tale' at the school in Bath. Ben Cheesman gave the first performance to 100 KS3 students in the morning before assisting Tim Harrison in delivering two performances in the senior school in the afternoon. 90 KS4 and 50 Post 16 scientists at the school saw the afternoon lectures.

12 November: Research Talk, King's College, Taunton, Somerset

Mike Davies-Coleman, professor of organic chemistry at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, gave the 50 Post 16 students a talk on the extraction of drugs from sea organisms for their regular Friday evening Science Club meeting.

10 November: Bristol Chemical Synthesis DTC School's Organic Synthesis Day

A total of 46 post 16 students from 4 schools participated in a whole day visit to the School of Chemistry. The students spent the morning in the undergraduate teaching laboratories synthesising the anaesthetic benzocaine and in the afternoon learnt about 'What it is like to be an undergraduate at Bristol' from Doug Jennings of the Widening Participation Unit at Bristol. A talk on the 'Synthesis of Aspirin' was also presented and Ben Cheesman rounded off the day with a performance of 'A Pollutant's Tale'.

The schools participating were John Cabot Academy (Bristol), Clevedon School (North Somerset), Queen Mary's College (Basingstoke) and Bristol Cathedral School.

Postgraduates from the Bristol Chemical Synthesis DTC were: Tomas Daugirdas Racys, Simon Carobene, Rickki Connelly, Nick Barron, Nell Townsend, Matthew Hesse, Matthew Burns, Liam Ball, Laura Rush, Helen Pritchard-Smith, Elliot Murphy, Edward Balmond and David Lunn.

The day was sponsored by the Bristol Chemical Synthesis Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) .

10 November: Chemical Kinetics Workshop for KS4 Students

Students from Carmel Christian College (Bristol) and Maranatha Christian School (Swindon) undertook a 2 1/2 hour afternoon practical workshop on rates of reaction. The 22 students investigated the effect of concentration and temperature on reactions and then had some fun with the B-Z reaction.

This was the second in a series of practical workshops designed to support GCSE chemistry for these students who were assisted by postgraduate chemists Tom Turner, Beatrice Cattoz and Mary Bartlett.

04 November: 'Explore ECU', Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia

Tim Harrison worked with two groups of Year 11 students (38 in total) from Mindarie Senior College, Perth as part of the university's widening participation programme 'Explore ECU'. Each session comprised a short liquid nitrogen demonstration and an iodine clock challenge. The winners of each session were given copies of a chemistry text book. Tim was ably assisted by ECU technician Nardia Bordas.

03 November: Caffeine Extraction Morning, Downside School, Bath

40 Year 11 students from this North East Somerset school spent the morning at Bristol ChemLabS extracting and purifying caffeine working with Ben Cheesman, Chris Adams, Georgia Pilkington and Claire Rosling. The students analysed their products by infrared spectroscopy and a determination of its melting point.


21 October: Ribston Hall High School, Gloucester

Postgraduate chemists Joshua Howgego and Aimee Boyle travelled to this Gloucestershire school equipped with the RSC Spectroscopy in a Suitcase kit (although, if we're honest, perhaps 'spectroscopy in several large trunks' would be a more accurate description).

Two sessions for around 30 Post 16 students were delivered. In both sessions the students were confronted with a 'dead body' (Josh) and the challenge of working out what killed him. The students had the chance to use a modern IR spectrometer to identify some chemical samples the 'deceased' had come into contact with.

They also used UV-visible spectroscopy to work out the concentration of paracetamol in his blood stream, and whether this might have been enough to kill him.

The costs of the visit was met by a regional HE STEM project.

20 October: Bristol Schools' Aspiration Raising Day

45 KS4 students from Carmel Christian School, Hanham High School and Yate International Academy took part in a morning workshop in the undergraduate teaching Laboratories which included a green chemistry experiment on the depolymerisation of the PET polymer from which drinks bottles are made. The analytical part of the morning involved using visible spectroscopy.

The afternoon saw the students enjoying a talk on 'What it is like to be a student at Bristol?', from Alex O'Driscol of the Widening Participation Office, followed by 'Extremophile Chemistry' given by Preeti Kaur. Tim Harrison rounded off the day with the lecture demonstration 'A Chemical Delight'. The workshop was sponsored by an EU project grant.

STEM ambassadors Claire Rosling, Joe Wrigglesworth and Tom Turner assisted the students.

20 October: Bridgwater TSN, Aspiration Raising Day

35 Year 10 and 11 students visited Bristol ChemLabS to extract caffeine from tea leaves in the undergraduate teaching laboratories before touring the department and having a talk by a postgraduate chemist and a lecture demonstration. The schools present were: The Robert Blake Science College, Chilton Trinity Technology College, East Bridgwater Community School and Haygrove School.

STEM ambassadors Lucija Soberl and Joshua Konne assisted the students.
This event is sponsored by the Triple Science Network (TSN), funded by the Learning and Skills Network.

19 October: Independent State School Partnership, Wellington College, Berks.

Tim Harrison performed 'A Pollutant's Tale' to 128 gifted and talented students from 14 schools attending a two day course supporting science education.

13 October: Aspiration Raising Day, John of Gaunt School, Wilts

Fifteen KS3 students spent the day at the School of Chemistry undertaking practical work and attending talks. The students extracted caffeine in the morning and enjoyed a talk on 'Extremophile Chemistry' given by Preeti Kaur. This was followed by a performance of the lecture demonstration 'A Pollutant's Tale' given by Tim Harrison to complete the afternoon talks.

Two home study students also joined John of Gaunt School for the day.

13 October: Caffeine Extraction Extra, Great Barr School, Birmingham

Twelve post 16 chemists from this Midlands school spent the day at Bristol ChemLabS extracting and purifying caffeine in the morning and running thin layer chromatography and analysing their own samples of aspirin in the afternoon. Tim Harrison gave a performance of the lecture demonstration 'A Pollutant's Tale' to complete the afternoon.

12 October: Churchill Community Foundation School & Sixth Form Centre, North Somerset

Tim Harrison gave four perfomances of 'A Pollutant's Tale' to all 270 Year 9 students as part of the North Somerset Independent State School Partnership (ISSP) project.

06 October: Spectroscopy Day and Lecture, Sherborne Girls, Dorset

Tim Harrison ably assisted by STEM Ambassador Sophie Franklin, delivered a series of workshops to 22 Post 16 chemistry students on infrared and ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy. The 11 Year 12 students were also given the challenge to work out the concentration of blue food colour using visible spectrometers. A small group of KS3 students in their science club also had a chance to see some liquid nitrogen experiments.

In an evening performance of the lecture demonstration 'A Pollutant's Tale' for the local science club over 100 students and teachers from Sherborne Girls, Sherborne School, Huish Episcopi School and Sturminster Newton High School were present. The day was sponsored as part of an EU grant looking at the use of spectrometers.

05 October: Lecture Demonstration, Badminton School for Girls, Bristol

Tim Harrison gave two performances of the lecture demonstration 'Gases in the Air' for 35 Year 8 and 20 Year 7 girls at the local secondary school in Clifton.


29 September: Spectroscopy Day, Katharine Lady Berkley School, Gloucs

39 Year 12 students from the school at Wotton-Under-Edge spent the day at Bristol ChemLabS. The majority of the day was spent in the undergraduate teaching laboratories working on a circus of experiments including visible spectroscopy, infra red spectroscopy, gas chromatography mass spectroscopy (GCMS) and thin layer chromatography (TLC). At the end of the day -long visit Tim Harrison gave a performance of 'A Pollutant's Tale'.

The chemists assisting the students were Chris Adams, Sophie Franklin, Shirin Alexander, Kaizhong Fan and Beatrice Cattoz. This visit was sponsored by an EU grant. A report on the day from a KLB student can be found here.

22 September: Separation Chemistry Workshop

A total of thirty-four students from Carmel Christian College (Bristol), Maranatha Christian School (Swindon) and School of the Lion (Gloucester)spent the afternoon in the undergraduate teaching laboratories carrying out practical work to support their studies.

20 September: Post 16 Spectroscopy Tours

Ninety Post 16 students and their teachers attended the last two spectroscopy tours of the year. The sessions were led by Jenny Slaughter.

The schools attending were; King Edward School (Bath), Ivybridge Academy Sherborne School for Boys, Sherborne School for Girls, Marlborough College and King's College (Taunton).

09-10 and 13-14 September: Post 16 Spectroscopy Tours

More than 350 post sixteen students from 19 schools from all over the southwest peninsula attended the annual workshops for talks on analytical chemistry over the 8 half day sessions. Sessions on nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), electron microscopy, mass spectrometry, infra-red spectroscopy, gas chromatography mass spectroscopy (GCMS) and X-ray Diffraction were available. The talks were given by a variety of lecturers, technicians and postgraduates.

The 19 schools attending were:
Colstons Girls, Red Maids, Hardenhusih, Dauntsey's, Patchway, Katherine Lady Berkeley, St Brendan's VIth Form, Cotham, Tewkesbury, Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), Kingswood, Taunton School, Blundells School, Stroud High School, Archway, Marling, Cheltenham College, City Academy and Rendcomb College. A report on the day from a KLB student can be found here.

08 September: Ribston Hall School, Gloucs

Tim Harrison gave two performances of 'A Pollutant's Tale' to an audience of 25 Post 16 students and to 40 students in years 8-11 belonging to the Science Club at the Gloucester girls' grammar school.

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