CHeMneT Events Autumn Term 2012

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19 December: Anaesthetic Synthesis Day, Schools' Laboratory Programme

30 Post 16 students from St John's School, Marlborough (Wilts) spent the morning synthesising the anaesthetic benzocaine on their annual visit to the School of Chemistry. A further 3 Year 13 girls from Tudor Grange School, Solihull (Birmingham) joined them.

In the afternoon the students had a lecture on 'Pulque: the Mesoamerican Elixir of Life?' followed by the lecture demonstration 'A Chemical Delight' both given by Tim Harrison.

The students from Tudor Grange were then taken on a tour of the department.

Postgraduate chemists Sam Olof, Sarah Glover and Beatrice Cattoz assisted the students with their practical work.

17 December: BTEC Laboratory Design Visit, Sir Bernard Lovell School, Bristol

Nine post 16 students and 2 teachers visited Bristol ChemLabS to learn about Analytical techniques and laboratory design.

Tim Harrison, Paul Lawrence, Steve Croker and Benoit Quignon assisted with talks on HPLC, GCMS, GC, SEM, TEM, NMR Mass Spec and general laboratory design.

12 December: UK University Applications Talk, St Paul's Convent School, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, China

Tim Harrison gave a talk on UK University Applications in general and on Bristol ChemLabS in particular to 35 Year 12 girls in the school's 'Classroom of th Future'.

"It was our honour to have you visiting us today and gave our students such an enlightening talk." Mrs Lam, Head of Chemistry.

11 December: Harrow International School Hong Kong

Tim Harrison visited this brand new school opened in September 2012 to talk with Year 12 science students about the University of Bristol in general and to give two science talks. 'Chemistry of Fragrances' was given to all twelve Year 12 chemists and 'Extremophile Chemistry' to all fourteen Year 12 biology students.

'Thank you for taking the time to come and visit and I have had some great feedback already from the students who greatly enjoyed your talk.' Head of Chemistry.

06-07 December: NUS-Bristol ChemLabS Chemistry Winter Workshop for Senior Students, Singapore

12 Students from several local schools attended the annual senior workshop in the refurbished chemistry teaching laboratories at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Students were helped in a wide range of practical work by Bristol postgraduates Sarah Glover and Steph Flynn. Tim Harrison also gave a performance of 'A Pollutant's Tale' to the students.

Students from the following schools attended: Meridian Junior College, NUS High School, United World college South East Asia (UWCSEA) and the Global Indian International School (GIIS).

04-05 December: Two Day Winter School for Younger Students, NUS, Singapore

The annual winter National University of Singapore (NUS) - Bristol ChemLabS chemistry course saw a small group of 9 Year 9 and 10 students from several local schools take part in two days of practical work and talks. Bristol postgraduates Steph Flynn and Sarah Glover assisted the students in a wide range of practical activity, including caffeine extraction from tea and thin layer chromatography. The students enjoyed lectures as part of the programme. Dr Linda Sellou (NUS, formerly of Bristol) gave a talk on 'The Chemistry of Toothpaste' and Tim Harrison gave a performance of 'A Pollutant's Tale'.

03 December: Fragrance Chemistry Workshop, National University of Singapore, Asia

Tim Harrison, assisted by Bristol chemists Steph Flynn and Sarah Glover, spent the day working with 15 school students and two teachers at NUS' Chemistry Department at the start of the annual NUS-Bristol ChemLabS Winter Chemistry School. The workshop started with a lecture on Fragrance Chemistry before the course participants made their own fragrance to take home with them.


28 November: Caffeine Extraction Morning Open Laboratories Programme, Bristol ChemLabS

68 students from Years 7 to 13 attended the caffeine extraction morning prior to the Schools Christmas Conference in the afternoon. The four 4 schools attending were: Kingswood (Bath), Blundell's School (Tiverton), Wycliffe College (Stroud) and Ivybridge Community College (Devon). Several home tutored students also attended.

The postgraduates helping he students with their work were: James Fothergill, Sarah Glover, Niall McCreanor, David Coughtrie and Godiraone Tatolo.

28 November: Schools Chemistry Christmas Conference 2

268 students from schools from the Midlands, Devon and all points in between enjoyed a conference on aspects of chemistry from climate change to insect pheromones and Mesoamerican alcoholic drinks to fireworks.

Talks were:

'Pulque: A Mesoamerican Elixir of Life', given by Bristol Postgraduate student Marisol Correa Ascencio.

Gordon Inglis presented a talk on his research on an overview of temperature determination in the Eocene and its implications and 'Pheromones, Sex and Violence.

The Chemical World of Bees and Ants', Adam Hart (Gloucestershire) .
"Snaps, crackles and pops - the science of fireworks" Matthew Tosh pyrotechnologist, presenter, writer, education and media consultant.

Schools attending were: Kingswood (Bath), Blundell's School (Tiverton), Wycliffe College (Stroud), Ivybridge, Kings College Taunton Community College, Tudor Grange Academy (Solihull), Strode College (Somerset), Chilton Trinity Technology College (Somerset) and Taunton School (Somerset).

Chemists assisting were: James Fothergill, Sarah Glover and Beatrice Cattoz.

Photos and video of the afternoon can be found on our Facebook page.

A selection of comments from students attending include:

"Thank you for an awesome day! I enjoyed everything, especially the lecture and extracting caffeine from tea. The experience has motivated me even more to go to uni to do a science degree."

"The lecture was the highlight of the day. The caffeine extraction was amazing and the labs looked really nice. This experience has got me even more motivated to go to university."

"When we found out we were going on a trip to a uni I didn't want to go because I thought it would be boring but I was wrong. I had so much fun and I learnt how to extract caffeine from tea. I was dreading the lecture but it was amazing."

"It made me feel the need to look into my options for universities sooner. I liked being able to be independent with the practical work."

"It encouraged me to look into chemistry as a main choice at university. I enjoyed having the independence when taking part in the practical at the beginning of the day. The lecture was my favourite part of the day, I found it very interesting and am grateful to have had the chance to experience it all."

27 November: 'Chemistry for the Terrified', Badminton School, Bristol

John Kilcoyne (Sunderland), assisted by Tim Harrison, gave a performance of the lecture demonstration to 290 girls in Years 9, 10 and 12 at the local school.

21 November: Caffeine Extraction Morning

60 students from Marlborough College, Exeter School and Ivybridge Community College spent the morning in the Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories extracting caffeine from tea.

Postgraduate chemists assisting the students with their practical work were: Benoit Quignon, Rory Power, Michelle Montgomery, Sewa Abdullah, Helen Pritchard Smith and Sam Olof.

21 November: Schools Christmas Chemistry Conference: Afternoon 1

The annual series of Christmas conferences aimed at Key Stage 4 and Post 16 students saw 66 students enjoy a range of talks and lectures including 'Superconducting Seaweed' given by Zoe Schnepp (National Institute for Materials Science, Japan and now at Birmingham) which included some audience experimentation with food biopolymers, and 'Pulque: A Mesoamerican Elixir of Life', a talk on archaeological chemistry was given by Bristol Postgraduate student Marisol Correa Ascencio. After a break for drinks and mince pies, Tim Harrison gave a performance of 'A Chemical Delight', a lecture demonstration on aspects of chemical kinetics.

Schools attending were: Exeter School, Ivybridge Community College, Redmaids School and Rednock School.

This conference was sponsored by the Bristol & District branch of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

14 November: DTC Synthesis Schools Day, Bristol ChemLabS

58 Post 16 students from 4 schools spent the day at the School of Chemistry engaged in practical works, tours, talks and lecture demonstrations.

In the Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories the Year 13 students synthesised the solid anaesthetic benzocaine whilst the Year 12 students extracted caffeine from tea in a 'pharmaceutical chemistry' filled day.

Talks on two aspects of 'Drug Discovery in Industry' were given by Michael Ralph and Nick Taylor. This was followed by the lectured demonstration 'A Pollutant's Tale' given by Tim Harrison. Three of the school groups completed their day with a tour of the department.

Postgraduate Sofia Papadouli gave the visiting teachers a tour of the department.

Postgraduate demonstrators, who are also members of the Bristol Chemical Synthesis Doctoral Training Centre, helping the students in the lab were: Niall McCreanor, Jo Sampson, Michelle Montgomery, Katie Feeney, Tom Hornsby, Antony Burton, Alex Henderson, Tom Carter, Jamie Clifton and Sam Timson.

Schools attending: Rednock School (Gloucester), St Bede's Catholic College (Bristol), Liswerry High School (Newport) and Christ's Hospital School (West Sussex).

More photographs of the day are available here.

A report on the day from Christ's Hospital School can be found here.

"Thank you for a great day in your labs last Wednesday! The students really enjoyed it and especially valued the experience using your facilities and equipment. It has inspired a few to consider chemistry post 18." Joanne PAscoe, St Bede's

13 November: 'Gases in the Air' Lecture Demonstration, Bristol ChemLabS

Postgraduate Sarah Glover performed the lecture demonstration for 92 Year 11 students from Cokethorpe School, Witney, Oxfordshire. The students were visiting the university as part of a Widening Participation and Recruitment Office event.

10 November: Spectroscopy in a Suitcase Visit, Ribston Hall High School, Gloucs

A total of 45 Year 12 and 13 students each spent a double lesson with the Spectroscopy in a Suitcase equipment where they used infra red and ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy during the three sessions of analytical chemistry. Tim Harrison, James Miles and James Fothergill worked with the students during the day. The visit was sponsored by the RSC.

09 November: Science Demonstrations, Bristol Children's Hospital, Bristol

Chemists Sarah Glover and Preeti Kaur visited the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children armed with a box of demonstration chemical sand equipment and engaged with 10 students aged up to Year 11 in the hospital's school room. Later they visited 3 wards including Oncology and worked with 5 further school students. the students were entertained to liquid nitrogen experiments and the several nurses were bewildered!

'I just wanted to thank you for sending Preeti and Sarah to the hospital last week, they were fantastic. They pitched the session amazingly at our age range and spent time going round the wards. They were so friendly to our children and made us all laugh!' Esther Hall, Teacher BCH.


19 October: Sidmouth Science Festival, Sidmouth College, Devon

Tim Harrison performed the lecture demonstration 'Gases in the Air' to an audience of around 300 14-17 year olds and teachers at the inaugural science festival in the town. More details can be found here.

"Zillions of thanks for your fab chem show at Sidmouth today - we're all buzzing with it now!" Mrs Jane Calvert Chemistry Teacher

17 October: Access to Bristol Chemistry Visit 1, Bristol ChemLabS

A group of 18 Year 12 students from local schools spent the afternoon in the Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories extracting caffeine from tea.

The visit was part of a much larger event where a group of 50 young scientists were visiting the University of Bristol during several afternoons in the autumn term on the Science Stream. This annual Access to Bristol programme is organised by the Widening Participation and Recruitment Office. The second visit by this group will be to a Schools Christmas Chemistry Conference in November.

Postgraduate STEM Ambassadors Michelle Montgomery and Laura Totterdell assisted the students with their practical work.

11 -12 October: Mid Cornwall Schools Chemistry Conferences

Tim Harrison gave 3 performances of ‘A Pollutant’s Tale’ and an impromptu lesson on liquid nitrogen to a total audience of 440 Year 9, 10 and 11 students with a further 25 teachers and technicians.

The two day short tour was sponsored by the RSC Western Region Analytical International Year of Chemistry Challenge project and was organised with the help of Ed Walsh, Lead Consultant for Science, Cornwall Learning.

Two local newspapers sent their photographers to cover the events.

The secondary schools involved were: Penair School (Truro), The Roseland School (Tregony) and Poltair School (St. Austell).

'Last week Bristol ChemLabS, sponsored by the RSC's Analytical Division Western Region visited Poltair to give a hugely entertaining talk to Year 10. The lecture demonstration 'A Pollutant's Tale' was hosted by Tim Harrison who combined the knowledge of a super-scientist with the drama of a performing artist.

Pupils expressed their enjoyment of the session with comments such as: "Amazing, I loved the liquid nitrogen being poured on the floor" and "I never knew chemistry was so fun and scary at the same time, the explosions made me jump".' School website report.

10 October:  Benzocaine Synthesis, Schools Laboratory Programme

A total of 76 Post 16 students from Wellsway School (Bristol), Marlborough College (Wilts), Exeter School (Dorset) and Blundell's Schools (Devon) spent the morning in the Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories synthesising a solid anaesthetic. Wellsway, Marlborough and Exeter students then stayed for an afternoon of talks and demonstrations.

PhD chemist Gordon Inglis presented a talk on his research on an overview of temperature determination in the Eocene and its implications. Tim Harrison finished the day with the demonstration lecture ‘A Chemical Delight’.

Postgraduate demonstrators Stephanie Flynn, Nick Barron, Monika Zeleznik, Rory Power and Geri Echue assisted the students in the laboratories.

08 October: Exeter School, Exeter, Devon

Tim Harrison and Jen Bulpett spent the day at the school engaged in a variety of events. A total of 35 year 13 students spent a double lesson with the Spectroscopy in a Suitcase equipment where they used infra red and ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy. This visit was sponsored by the RSC.

In the afternoon Tim gave a performance of 'A Pollutant's Tale' to 120 year 10 students in the afternoon.

A report from Exeter School can be found here.

05 October: Chemistry Conference, Leweston School, Dorset

Tim Harrison, John Kilcoyne and Jonathan Hare presented a chemistry conference to 220 senior students from local schools. The afternoon event will see a lecture demonstrations Fuelling the Future: Fuelling the Fun' (Kilcoyne and Harrison) and 'Hollywood Science' (Hare).

Schools attending were: Sherborne Girls, Sherborne, Gryphon and Leweston schools.

05 Oct: Spectroscopy in a Suitcase Visit, Red Maids School Bristol

Bristol ChemLabS postgraduate chemists Preeti Kaur and James Fothergill delivered a spectroscopy workshop to a class of 10 Year 13 chemistry students at Red Maids School, Bristol. The visit was sponsored by the RSC Spectroscopy in A Suitcase (SIAS) project.

03 October: Science Day, Ribston Hall, Gloucester, Gloucs

John Kilcoyne (Sunderland), assisted by Tim Harrison presented the chemistry lecture demonstration 'Fuelling the Future, Fuelling the Fun' to 250 Year 9 and 10 students at the girls science college. Tim Harrison then gave an early evening lecture on the 'Chemistry of Perfumes' to 50 members of the school's science club.

02 October: EDF Launch Day at West Somerset Community College

Bristol ChemLabS was pleased to be invited to help the West Somerset Community College celebrate the opening of new facilities sponsored by EDF Energy. As part of a whole day of STEM-related activities Alison Rivett gave 4 performances of the lecture demonstration 'A Pollutant's Tale' to over a 1000 students - all of the Year 9, 10 + 11 College students plus Y8 pupils from Danesfield, Dulverton & Minehead Middle Schools.

Afterwards the Assistant Principal said "thank you so much for your contribution - it was amazing!".

More information about the day can be found on the EDF website here:

02 October: RSC Schools Conference, Cheltenham, Gloucs

Bristol ChemLabS was again working with Cheltenham Ladies College to present a conference for 365 senior students from several schools in the area. The conference had three speakers delivering the following lectures:

'The Chemistry of Fragrances', Tim Harrison (Bristol)
'Pulque,' Marisol Correa Ascencio (Bristol)
'Fueling the Future, Fueling the Fun' Dr John Kilcoyne (Sunderland)

The schools participating were: The Crypt School, Cheltenham College, The King's School (Gloucester) ,Rednock School (Dursley), Millbrook Academy (Brockworth), Cheltenham College and Bristol Grammar School.

The conference was sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

A report on the conference can be found here.

01 October: Science Conference Day, Wycliffe, Stonehouse, Gloucs

John Kilcoyne (Sunderland) and Tim Harrison, gave three lecture demonstrations throughout the day emphasising the importance of chemistry in an amusing way.

In the first 200 Year 8-10 students from Wycliffe saw a performance of 'Chemistry for the Terrified'. 175 Wycliffe students in Years 11-13 were joined by 14 KS4 students from Marling School (Stroud) and a further 17 students from Maidenhill School (Stroud).


17-27 September: Spectroscopy Tours, Bristol ChemLabS

16 schools, several with two visits each, with around 340 Year 13 chemistry students and 25 teachers enjoyed this annual event which is designed to support local chemistry teachers and to promote chemistry. The workshops were held on 17, 19, 21, 24, 25 and 27 September.

21 postgraduate guides and demonstrators, with 5 members of staff, delivered 11 half day sessions of analytical chemistry under the title of 'Spectroscopy Tours'. The analytical techniques on offer included five of the following per visit: Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (NMR), Mass Spectrometry, X-Ray Diffraction, Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) and Infra Red Spectroscopy.

The schools and colleges attending were: Ivybridge Community College (Devon, 2 visits), Cheltenham College, Colstons Girls (Bristol, 2 visits), Marlwood School (Thornbury), Castle School (Thornbury), Sherborne Girls (Dorset), Taunton School (2 visits), Bristol City Academy, St Brendan's Sixth Form College (Bristol, 2 visits), Abbeyfield School (Chippenham), Wycliffe College (Stroud), Blundell's School (Devon), Malvern College, Sir John Colfox (Dorset), Dauntsey's School (Wilts) and Kingswood School (Bath).

The event is part sponsored by the Bristol and District Branch of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

18 September: Caffeine Extraction Workshop, Radley College, Oxon

24 Year 13 Chemists spent the day in the School of Chemistry carrying out two practical activities in the undergraduate teaching laboratories before enjoying a series of lectures and demonstrations in the afternoon. Postgraduate Helen Pritchard-Smith assisted the students in their practical.

The first practical saw the students and one teacher extracting caffeine from tea leaves before an investigation using uv-visible spectroscopy in the afternoon. Preeti Kaur gave a lecture on extremophiles chemistry and Tim Harrison performed 'A Pollutant's Tale'.

"I want to thank you both for the excellent day we spent with you yesterday. For us and the boys it was an inspirational visit. The practicals were interesting and engaging for the boys, keeping them fully occupied in your super labs."


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