08-09 July: Y12 University Chemistry Experience Camp

Twenty Y12 students from a wide range of schools in England and Wales attended the inaugural University Chemistry Experience Camp.

Y12 students in the Undergraduate Teaching LaboratoriesThe students had a very full two days of activities in which the potential chemists enjoyed practical work sessions in the Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories, lectures, talks on admission procedures and a spectroscopy tour. The latter involved nuclear magnetic resonance, mass spectrometry, x-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy. The students had already used infrared spectroscopy for themselves as part of the practical work. Other things involved included the extraction of caffeine from tea, the use of ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy for determining the concentration of unknown solutions and the preparation and analysis of an anaesthetic.

Lectures on a variety of chemistry topics were given by Bristol Chemists Rich Pancost,  Linda Sellou, Tim Harrison and Preeti Kaur. The talks on admissions procedures were given by admissions tutors Steve Rosser (Bath) and David Smith (Bristol). The students also experienced staying in a hall of residence.

This event was created to promote chemical sciences degree courses in the UK. It was sponsored by both Bristol ChemLabS and Chemistry for our Future (CFOF) through the Widening Access to University Laboratory Facilities project.

Sophie Morley of St Leonards-Mayfield School, Sussex said of the course: ‘It really helped to see and hear about the work that is going on at university. The research work sounded really interesting and made me want to continue doing chemistry at a higher level and to be a part of the work.’ Rhiannon State of The Castle School, South Gloucestershire added: ’This was very useful for [developing] practical skills and for reassessing decisions to take chemistry.’ Organiser Tim Harrison, the Bristol ChemLabS School Teacher Fellow, said: ‘The main purpose of creating this summer school is to give students who are considering reading a Chemistry degree somewhere in the UK the opportunity to experience being in a Chemistry department for a few days. Following on form the success of this event we will be seeking to work with other universities to host similar camps’.  Dudley Shallcross, Outreach Director, commented: ‘The participating students can now go on to make a more informed decision about their future course choices’.

Students from the following schools attended:

Brimsham Green School( Yate), Clyst Vale Community School (Devon), Cotham School (Bristol), Gosford Hill School (Wilts), King Edward VI College (Devon), Queen's College (Devon), Rednock School (Gloucs), Ridgeway School (Wilts), St Augustine's Catholic College (Wilts), St Brendan's 6th Form College (Bristol), St. Leonards-Mayfield School (Sussex), St.Laurence School (Wilts), The Castle School (South Gloucs), Torquay Boys Grammar School (Devon), West Kirby Grammar School (The Wirral) and  Wyedean School (Monmouthshire).

The dates for the future camps will be published in the outreach calendar. Please contact t.g.harrison@bristol.ac.uk for further information in the meantime.

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