30 June–05 July: Third Bristol-Trinity College Dublin (TCD) Summer School

The Bristol ChemLabS leg of the 3rd Bristol-TCD summer school saw an expansion of the original two-country annual event. The summer school has now developed to include Maltese students visiting Bristol alongside the Irish ones.

Twenty-one 16- and 17-year-old UK students came from 9 schools across the South of England and South Wales. Twenty of these students went on to the Trinity College leg of the summer school.

Twenty 17-year-olds from Saint Aloysius College in Malta were accompanied by the head teacher Fr. Patrick and deputy head Vannessa Portanier. Chemistry Subject Leader Doreen Mizzi and Physics Subject Leader Chris Schembri joined to observe the summer school.

Twenty 16- and 17-year-old Irish students, coming from 9 schools in the Dublin area, were chaperoned on the Bristol leg by Mike Bridge, Owen Scanlan and postgraduate Gemma Davies of Trinity College Dublin.

Photo of Maltese students in ChemLabS

In Bristol, the 61 students were engaged in a very full schedule of practical work and lectures. The practical work included the extraction of caffeine from tea leaves, the preparation of paracetamol and benzocaine and the analysis of aspirin amongst the two and a half days of lab work. The students had the opportunity to practice a number of techniques such as suction filtration, vacuum distillation, reflux and to run infrared spectra, thin layer chromatography plates and melting points. The students had the chance to work closely with a large number of postgraduate chemists during the week.

Photo of Mike Davies-Coleman
Professor Mike Davies-Coleman

A wide range of lectures were given punctuating the Bristol session of the summer school. Dudley Shallcross and Tim Harrison (Bristol) presented the popular lecture demonstration ‘A Pollutant’s Tale’, postgraduate Zoe Schnepp (Bristol) gave a short talk on scanning electron microscopy, Linda Sellou (Bristol) gave the talk ‘The Chemistry of Toothpaste’ and Tim Harrison also presented a Talk on ‘Extremophile Chemistry’. Mike Davies-Coleman, the Head of Chemistry at Rhodes University, South Africa, who was visiting the summer school, gave a very well-received lecture on natural products and the pharmaceutical industry entitled ‘Sponges, Sea Squirts and Other Strange Places to Look for New Medicines’.

Social events included ten pin bowling and an inter-country quiz.

The Irish and UK students then travelled to Dublin, leaving the Maltese students to complete further practical work in Bristol before spending a day in historic Bath.

The UK schools attending were: Thomas Hardye School (Dorset), The Castle School (South Gloucs), The Henrietta Barnet School (London), Blackwood Comprehensive (Gwent), Bruton School for Girls (Somerset), saltash.net Community College (Cornwall), Coley Gwent Cross Keys College (Gwent), Pate’s Grammar School (Gloucs).

100% of the UK students are already planning on recommending the 4th Summer School to the year below!

For information on next year’s summer school, which is likely to be at a similar time please contact t.g.harrison@bristol.ac.uk.

Times of Malta Article about the Summer School

University of Bristol Article about Bristol ChemLabS Summer Schools

Bristol - TCD Summer School 2007

Bristol - TCD Summer School 2006

Bristol ChemLabS Summer Schools


You gain lots of useful chemistry skills, which will be relevant when you continue the subject further.
Iain Doggert (UK)

Gives a great insight to what chemistry at university will be like
Andrew Holdroyd (UK)

It was fun. Thanks for a great week!
Zoe (UK)

It gives you a good lab experience. It was a lot of fun and was good for meeting new people.
Jacob (UK)

I enjoyed practicals because they were not ones I have done or even come across before.
Sophie (UK)

It's great learning chemistry without all the pressures of school. It was great fun.
Ryan (UK)

I love organic chemistry! Thank you for an amazing week.
Jasmine (UK)

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