CHeMneT Events Summer Term 2011

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31 August: Victoria Girls High School, Grahamstown, South Africa

Tim Harrison and Sophie Franklin gave performances of 'A Pollutant's Tale' to 160 Grade 8 and 9 learners. This was followed by a performance of 'A Pollutant's Tale' to 140 Grade 10 and Grade 11 Geography and Physical Science learners and their teachers at the state boarding school in the heart of Grahamstown.

31 August: A Pollutant's Tale, Education Department, Rhodes University, South Africa

Tim Harrison gave a performance of 'A Pollutant's Tale' to 50 of Khula Learners at the university's Education Department. Khula ('to grow' in the local language isiXhosa) learners are a group of the top science learners in Grade 10 (15 year olds) from five historically disadvantaged High Schools in Grahamstown who excel in physical science and maths.

30 August: Archie Mbolekwa School, Grahamstown, South Africa

Tim Harrison, assisted by Sophie Franklin, delivered two performances of 'A Pollutant's Tale' to a total of 110 learners aged 15-16 at the local township school. The event was facilitated by Joyce Sewry of Rhodes University.


31 July- 03 August: Science Week Celebrations, Johannesburg, South Africa

Tim Harrison spent 4 days working at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Johannesburg delivering a series of 7 lecture demonstrations to a total of 2300 'learners' aged from 12 to 17 at South Africa's biggest science centre. The learners came from a wide variety of state and independent schools in the surrounding area and Soweto.

As this is International Year of Chemistry it was fitting that Tim performed the talk 'A Chemical Delight' which briefly discusses the chemical industry, explains what is an isn't a chemical reaction and which also shows some simple chemical kinetics. The reactions demonstrated included many of those that have inspired generations of chemists such as work with liquid nitrogen, hydrogen explosions and iodine clock reactions and why disposable babies nappies can absorb urine!

The visit was sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry South African (North) branch.

20 July: Perfume Chemistry Workshop, Broadlands School, Bristol

Tim Harrison gave a short talk to all 200 Year 10 students on the chemistry of fragrances to start the day at this local school. In addition, 22 Year 10 Triple Science students were selected to take part in a day-long perfume workshop led by Tim Harrison and assisted by Shirin Alexander. These were students who were working exceptionally well in their Chemistry lessons. Each student took home a personally designed bottle of fragrance.

Commenting on the day Head of Science Abby Jones said 'Thanks Tim for your time today. The students loved it. They feel really engaged by Science and are considering it at a higher level, which is great.'

18 July: Aspiration Raising Day, Isambard Community School, Wiltshire

37 Year 10 students from the school in Swindon enjoyed the day at Bristol ChemLabS working on caffeine extraction in the morning and having lectures in the afternoon. Preeti Kaur talked about her research on 'Extremophile Chemistry'. Tim Harrison gave a performance of 'Gases in the Air' to complete the visit.

Postgraduates Francesca Speranza, Monika Zeleznik and Grace Cookey helped the students with their practical work.

09-16 July: Chemistry Summer School, Colegio de San Francisco de Paula, Seville, Spain

5 senior students from the school in the old part of Seville attended a summer school as part of their annual visit to Bristol ChemLabS. The students were accompanied by their teacher Jane Fletcher a former Bristol postgraduate.

They spent 3 days in the laboratories learning practical techniques not covered at school, hearing a variety of lectures and talks. Part of their programme involved cultural and social activities such as visits to Bath, Oxford, South Wales, ten-pin bowling, ice-skating, the cinema, shopping and eating non-Spanish foods.


14-15 July: Year 12 University Chemistry Experience Camp

This annual two-day residential course, intended for students who are considering reading a chemical sciences degree somewhere in the UK was again held at Bristol ChemLabS. The course had a full programme of practical sessions, talks, lectures, tours and some social activity. Six students were in attendance. The practical work involved working with £60k worth of equipment whilst carrying out analytical work with UV-vis spectroscopy, performing caffeine extraction, and the synthesis of benzocaine. Talks on the pharmaceutical industry were given by Tim Gallagher, 'Silicone and Silicone Chemistry' by Ben Cheesman and the lecture demonstration 'A Pollutant's Tale' by Tim Harrison and NMR spectroscopy by Craig Butts. Sessions on electron microscopy and mass spectrometry were also given.

This event was to promote chemical sciences degree courses in the UK and not specifically at Bristol.

Postgraduates Aimee Boyle and Rory Power aided Ben Cheesman with the students.

13 July: Farmors School Science Festival, Fairford, Gloucs

STEM Ambassador Ben Cheesman gave an evening talk titled 'Silicon and Silicones' in which he explored the everyday uses of the often overlooked element silicon, to 14 students at the school's inaugural science festival.

More details of the festival can be found here.

11 July: Aspiration Raising Day, Ribston Hall High School, Gloucs

36 Year 10 students spent the day at the School of Chemistry. The morning was spent extracting caffeine from tea in the undergraduate teaching laboratories. Postgraduate chemists Georgia Pilkington, Beatrice Cattoz and Mary Bartlett assisted the students in their practical work.

In the afternoon the students spent time in a lecture theatre seeing talks before going on a tour of the chemistry department. Tim Harrison gave a performance of 'A Chemical Delight' and Ben Cheesman followed this with a talk on Silicon and Silicone Chemistry.

More information abut such days can be found here.

11 July: Sutton Trust Summer School Chemistry Morning

22 Year 12 students from the Sutton Trust Summer School spent the morning working in the undergraduate teaching laboratories where they extracted caffeine from tea. All the students were talented Post 16 students. The event was organised by the University of Bristol's Widening Participation Office.

11 July: Aimhigher Unitaster Summer School

The Bristol University organised Aimhigher Unitaster Summer School (formerly known as the Higher Education Summer School) saw a performance of 'A Chemical Delight'. All participating (50) students were Year 11 from the south-west with the ability to progress to Higher Education. The event is organised annually by the University of Bristol's Widening Participation Office.

08 July: Pre-A Level Chemistry Day, Ribston Hall High School, Gloucs

26 Year 11 students spent the day at the School of Chemistry as part of a two-day introduction to their A-Level chemistry course. The students extracted caffeine from tea assisted by Beatrice Cattoz and Ben Cheesman, in the morning. The afternoon saw a talk on university life by Tim Harrison and a lecturette on Silicon and Silicone chemistry given by Ben Cheesman. The afternoon was finished by a performance of 'A Chemical Delight' given by Tim Harrison.

06 July: Wellington College Year 11 ISSP Day

26 Year 11 students from eight Berkshire schools spent the day at the School of Chemistry as part of the Wellington College Independent State School Partnership (ISSP) summer school. The morning practical session involved the extraction of caffeine from tea in the Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories. The students then enjoyed afternoon lectures on 'Silicon and Silcone Chemistry' given by Ben Cheesman before being entertained by an extended version of the lecture demonstration 'A Chemical Delight' performed by Tim Harrison.

"I just wanted to say thank you for a wonderful day - the pupils (and the teachers) all enjoyed the practical, the tour around the department, the Silicon lecture and your demonstrations were talked about the whole way home to Berkshire." Davina Stansfield, accompanying ICT teacher.

Students from the following ten schools were in attendance: The Forest School, St Crispins, The Holt School, The Piggott, Maiden Erlegh, Waingels College Bulmershe, Kings International, Tomlinscote and Edgbarrow.

05 July: Organic Synthesis Workshop, Patchway Community College, Bristol

A group of 9 local Year 12 students spent the day at Bristol ChemLabS. In the morning the students investigated the synthesis of the anaesthetic benzocaine before enjoying a talk on 'Silicon and Silicone Chemistry' given by Ben Cheesman and a 'Pollutants Tale' performed by Tim Harrison in the afternoon.

Matt Burns and Ben Cheesman aided the students in their laboratory work.

04 July: Christian School Polymer Workshop

24 students from Carmel Christian School (Bristol) and Maranatha Christian School (Swindon) spent the morning at the School of Chemistry engaged in a practical workshop investigating polymer chemistry working with Tim Harrison, Lucija Soberl and Ben Cheesman. At the end of the session Ben Cheesman gave a talk on Silicon and Silicone chemistry.


27 June-01 July: Bristol - Trinity College Dublin Chemistry Summer School

The School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol and the School of Chemistry, Trinity College Dublin held the seventh residential chemistry summer school for Year 12 chemistry students and Year 11 students who intend to study Post 16 chemistry. The summer school started in the School of Chemistry at Bristol and then moved to Trinity College Dublin during the week. The 50 students attending were from the UK, Ireland and from Saint Aloysius College in Malta.

The UK and Irish students worked in undergraduate teaching laboratories in both universities, having lectures, tours, talks, demonstrations and social events whilst the 21 Maltese students spent just 3 days at Bristol ChemLabS.

Bristol postgraduate chemists James Cooper, Grace Cookey, Mary Bartlett, Joshua Lay, Monika Zeleznik, Beatrice Cattoz, Katie Lim and Maddy Strickland assisted the students in the laboratories aided by Colm Delaney and Valerie Gerard from Trinity College Dublin.

Ben Cheesman assisted Tim Harrison in the supervision of the lab tasks.

A report from Malta can be found here and here.

28 June: A Pollutant's Tale, Royal High School, Bath, N. Somerset

Tim Harrison gave a performance of the ever popular lecture demonstration to 100 Year 9 students as part of their Climate Science day.

23 June: Festival of Contemporary Science for Schools

150 students and 15 teachers from a dozen schools spent the day in the University enjoying a full programme of lectures and talks. The students from Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset, North Somerset and Dorset had three streams of talks from several science departments to choose from during the day. Topics ranged from the Chemistry of the Mobile Phone to the large Hadron Collider and from Extremophiles to the Cardiovascular System.

Bristol ChemLabS Outreach Director, Tim Harrison, coordinating the event said, 'We are delighted to give local students and their teachers a glimpse of some of the leading edge science research being undertaken here at Bristol. We hope to make this an annual event for students as we have done for the teachers festivals of contemporary science we hold in January'.

Chemists involved in the day were Preeti Kaur, Ben Cheesman, Katie Shaw, Tim Gallagher, Tim Harrison , Jenny Slaughter and Julian Eastoe. Joshua Howego and Beatrice Cattoz assisted in the smooth running of the day.

Some of the schools attending were: Badminton School, Blundell's School, Colston's School, Dauntsey's School, Leweston, Malvern College, Monkton Combe School, Queens College (Taunton), Sherborne School, The Royal Grammar School.

15 June: St Mary's College, Wellington, New Zealand

Tim Harrison, aided by postgraduate chemist Brad Anderson from Victoria University Wellington, gave four performances of the lecture demonstration 'A Pollutant's Tale' to a total of 400 students from Years 9-13. Two thirds of the school population saw the talks.

14 June: SS Peter and Paul School, Hutt City, New Zealand

Tim Harrison, assisted by Dr Suzanne Boniface and postgraduate chemist Brad Anderson from Victoria University Wellington, gave a performance of 'Gases in the Air' to an audience for 90 Year 7 and 8 girls at the school close to Wellington. This was followed by three iodine clock workshops for the 90 girls.

13 June: Fragrance Synthesis Workshop, University of Victoria, Wellington, New Zealand

Tim Harrison gave the introductory talk for 5 KS4 home-tutored students as part of the University of Victoria's outreach programme.

10 June: Chipping Sodbury Festival, S. Gloucs

Tim Harrison gave a performance of 'A Pollutant's Tale' for 31 Year 7 and 3 Post 16 students from Chipping Sodbury Schools at the local festival in South Gloucestershire.

Comments made on the 2011 performances were 'Many thanks for the super shows you gave to the schoolchildren as part of the festival. The committee has asked to express our sincere thanks and I know the pupils and staff were very appreciative of the day.'

09 June: Caffeine Extraction Workshop, Malvern St James School for Girls, Malvern, Worcs.

Photo supplied by Malvern St James School29 Year 12 chemistry students, on their first visit to Bristol ChemLabS, extracted caffeine from tea during the morning and analysed their products using melting point apparatus and infra-red spectroscopy. The afternoon session was spent in a lecture theatre. Postgraduate chemist Matt Hesse gave a talk on the history and synthesis of aspirin. Tim Harrison then gave an extended performance of 'A Pollutant's Tale'. The afternoon was completed by a tour of the School of Chemistry.

The students were assisted in the laboratory by STEM Ambassadors Katie Lim and Mark Greenhalgh.

"I would like to thank you for an excellent day yesterday, the girls had a wonderful time and they were full of it on the journey home. I think the trip has been voted the best ever !!

We will certainly want to make it a regular slot for the Y12 students. It was very useful for them to hear about UCAS applications and personal statements. I will promote your enrichment courses for any who might be thinking of Chemistry at University.

Thanks again, your enthusiasm was certainly infectious !! "

Helen Chapman (School teacher Malvern St James School for Girls)

A report from the school may be found here.

(photograph kindly supplied by Malvern St James School for Girls)

07 June: TSN Sponsored Aspiration Raising Workshop, Somerset LEA

110 Year 9 students from 8 Somerset schools spent the day at Bristol ChemLabS. Students spent half the day extracting caffeine from tea leaves and the remainder of the day in the lecture theatre. Doug Jennings gave two talks on what it is like to be a student at Bristol University. Magda Wajrak from Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia gave two talks entitled 'Arsenic in Drinking Water - the Silent Killer'. Tim Harrison and Ben Cheesman each gave a performance of 'A Pollutant's Tale'.

While the students were enjoying their programme their teachers were in a practical chemistry workshop.

The schools represented were: St Dunstan's School, East Bridgwater Community School, Haygrove School, Stanchester Community School Parkway, The Taunton Academy, Huish Episcopi Academy, Robert Blake Science College, Chilton Trinity Technology College and Kingsmead School.
Triple Science Network (TSN) sponsored the morning event.

STEM Ambassadors Ben Cheesman, Rory Power, Emily Baker, Grace Cookey, Aimee Boyle, Sewa Abdullah and Kaizhong Fan assisted the students in the labs.


16 May: Salters' Festival of Chemistry

64 keen young chemists from 16 schools in Monmouthshire, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Devon and Bristol competed for prizes at the Salters' Festival of Chemistry. Students in Years 7 and 8 represented their schools in two separate chemistry tasks, one set by Salters' and the other by Bristol ChemLabS. Whilst the students work was being judged by a panel of postgraduate chemists Tim Harrison delivered one of his lecture demonstrations to educate and amuse the students.

This is an annual event that Bristol's School of Chemistry have been involved with for more than 10 years.

The winning teams for the Salters' Challenge were:

First place: Redland Green School, Bristol
Second place: King's School, Gloucester
Third place: Hannam High School, Bristol

The winning teams for the University Challenge were:

First place: Blundells, Somerset
Second place: The Red Maids School, Bristol
Third place: Marling Stroud

The schools and groups taking part were: Balcarras School, Blundell's School, Bristol Grammar School, Bristol Home Educators, Chilton Trinity Technology College, Colston's Girls' School, Haberdashers' Monmouth School for Girls, Hanham High School, Haygrove School, Mangotsfield School, Marling School, Redland Green School, The King's School (Gloucester), Red Maids' School, The Robert Blake Science College and Yate International Academy School.

The Salters' Festivals of Chemistry are an initiative of the Salters' Institute, whose aim is to promote the appreciation of chemistry and related sciences among the young. This Salters' Festival of Chemistry is one of fifty three Festivals which are taking place at Universities throughout the UK and Ireland between March and June 2011.

14 May: Skirting Science, Hans Price Academy, Weston-super-Mare

Preeti Kaur presented the opening talk for the annual event for 250 Year 9 girls considering careers in science.

11 May: A Pollutant's Tale, Amman Baccalaureate School, Amman, Jordan

Tim Harrison presented an unusual version of 'A Pollutant's Tale' to 45 Year 12 students at this well regarded school in Amman. The event was unusual because the lecture was performed without the usual demonstrations that accompany the talk apart from the smell of whale vomit and a few other VOCs! A short, additional presentation on Bristol Universitywas also given to 3 students wishing to apply for medicine.

11 May: Perfume Chemistry Workshop, Wootton Bassett School, Wilts

Ben Cheesman presented a lecture demonstration 'Fragrance Chemistry' for 29 Year 7 and 8 students from the Wiltshire school. Shirin Alexander and Beatrice Cattoz then joined Ben to deliver the practical side of the workshop. The students left the laboratories with bottles of fragrance that they had put together themselves. STEM Ambassador Nisha Doshi also assisted the Bristol ChemLabS team in acting as a guide in taking students on a tour of the School of Chemistry.

04 May: Polymer Day, Sherborne School for Girls, Dorset

67 Year 10 students from the independent day and boarding school for girls spent the day at Bristol ChemLabS learning about polymer chemistry. They spent the morning exploring a circus of polymer experiments in the undergraduate teaching laboratories making nylon, casein, various slimes, investigating thermo plastics and making benzoic acid the precursor for some monomers. After lunch Preeti Kaur gave a talk on 'Extremophile Chemistry', Tim Harrison gave a short talk on carbon and silicone polymers before presenting the lecture demonstration 'A Pollutant's Tale'.

The postgraduates assisting Tim Harrison, Alison Rivet and technical staff in the labs were: Mary Bartlett, Lucija Soberl, Grace Cook, and Monika Zeleznik.


05 April: A Pollutant's Tale, Ashton Park School, Bristol

Ben Cheesman presented. The lecture demonstration 'A Pollutant's Tale' at the local school which was enjoyed by 100 Year 7 and 8 students. The performance was sponsored by Bristol ChemLabS and Ben Cheesman.

04 April: A Pollutant's Tale, Tewkesbury School, Gloucestershire

Tim Harrison performed two lecture demonstrations for a total of 300 year 8 students and their teachers at the specialist science and languages college in the north of Gloucestershire.


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