* Summer Term 2006 CHeMneT Events


BA’s Festival of Science Lecture ‘The Chemistry of the Atmosphere’

27 September: Perfume Chemistry Conference

Perfume Chemistry

In the fourth session of a project on perfumes, 32 Y11 students at Rednock, Stroud High, Winchcombe and Marlwood School Science Colleges delivered presentations to an audience of 120+ students, teachers and parents as part of a schools' conference.

Dr David Kelly (University of Cardiff) gave the lecture 'The Chemistry of Sexual Attraction' and Mr Tim Harrison and Dr Dudley Shallcross (Bristol) gave their lecture demonstration on 'Gases and Vapours'.

The very high standard of each of the students' presentations was commented on by all concerned. The project students were all presented with a Silver Science Communicators Award by Drs Shallcross and Kelly.

The perfume project was partially funded by a Royal Society partnership grant.

26 September: Lecture at Pates Grammar School

Around 50 Post-16 chemistry students at this Gloucestershire school were present for a lecture demonstration on atmospheric chemistry given by Bristol postgraduate Emma Yates and assisted by Tim Harrison.

12-14 and 21- 23 September: Y13 Spectroscopy Visits

Eleven half-day sessions in this period saw around 500 students and their teachers visit the School of Chemistry. All students had sessions on nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), mass spectroscopy and infrared. Additional sessions on electron microscopy and X-ray crystallography were also on the itinerary for some groups. The infrared session allowed students to run spectra themselves partly thanks to the new mobile infrared spectrometer purchased for work with school groups (for more information on this please contact chem-net@bristol.ac.uk).

The next spectroscopy visits are scheduled for December, and such is their popularity that they are already oversubscribed. These annual visits are supported by the Bristol and District Branch of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

14 September: Lecture for Bedford School

Bristol ChemlabS gave the first of a pilot series of video conference lectures to sixth formers at Bedford School. Bedford School also rebroadcast this talk to surrounding secondary schools.

8 September: The BA’s Festival of Science Lecture ‘The Chemistry of the Atmosphere’

Speakers Dudley Shallcross and Tim Harrison presented this entertaining lecture which discussed the chemistry and the uses of various gases found in the atmosphere of Earth and other planets. Explosions and colour changes were demonstrated, as were experiments involving liquid nitrogen and dry ice. The current state of knowledge concerning atmospheric pollution, how it is changing and how it is monitored was discussed, and there was, as always, an opportunity for audience participation. Two sessions were presented for audiences at KS4 and Post 16.


31 August - 1 September: 8th European Conference on Research into Chemical Education

Bristol ChemLabS was represented at the 8th ERICE conference in Budapest, Hungary. Tim Harrison presented a poster entitled 'Practical Chemistry Opportunities for School Students' provided by the School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, UK.

07 August Mackay North SHS, Queensland Australia

Bristol ChemlabS Outreach made its way 'down under' to liaise with teachers on aspects of practical chemistry for their Extension Science program. Some practical work was also done with a Y9 class.

During the visit initial discussions took place concerning a potential visit to the University of Bristol for a group of gifted and talented science Y11 students from the region in September 2007.


27 July Inaugural Y12-13 Joint Chemistry Summer School Between the Schools of Chemistry at the University of Bristol and Trinity College Dublin

Group photo of Chemnet -Dublin joint summer school

click here for a detailed report

24 July-5 August NAGTY Summer School

NAGTY summer school 2006

The School of Chemistry hosted the first week of this physical sciences summer school entitled ‘Into the Heart of Matter’, with the Department of Physics hosting the second week.

Work within Chemistry involved a workshop on DNA, practical work on the composition of chocolate (followed by an outing to a chocolate factory), some  synthesis, competitions and lectures.

The course delegates received silver Science Communicators Award

12 July Perfume Chemistry Workshop

In this third part of a programme to promote chemistry with young women, 24 students from Winchcombe, Stroud High and Rednock schools visited the department for a workshop created and hosted by Dr Hazel Mottram.

The Y10 students were taken through the procedures used to analyse perfumes before setting out on a problem solving task that involved interpreting gas chromatographs and mass spectra.

Chemnet Perfume Workshop

07 July School Technicians’ Conference

The regional Science Learning Centre South West asked ChemLabS to present two sessions on practical chemistry at this annual event. Steve Croker and Tim Harrison presented many ideas that could be used to add additional interest to school chemistry students ranging from experiments that can be used within fuels, climate change and smart materials topics. The sessions were attended by over 45 technicians from the region.

05 July Higher Education Summer School

Nearly 60 very appreciative key stage 4 students participated in a lecture demo at the School of Chemistry as part of their summer school.

Experiments with liquid nitrogen, dry ice, hydrogen peroxide and several volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) used in the perfume industry were carried out to relate the chemistry of the atmosphere to their GCSE science and geography courses.

04-06 Chemistry Component July Sutton Trust Summer School

As the School of Chemistry Teaching Laboratories are undergoing refurbishment, our input into this year’s summer school was somewhat different than in previous years.

The chemistry element of this summer school still managed to entertain and educate with a lecture demonstration entitled ‘A Pollutant’s Tale’, a practical session on Grätzel cell and fuel cell chemistry and a fun science knowledge quiz.

04 July Cotham School, Bristol Climate Change Lectures

Postgraduate atmospheric chemist Paul Hamer was invited by Y9 students to give a talk on climate change at the school. Paul’s talk was followed up by a demonstration talk given by Tim Harrison and Steve Croker.


29 June University Open Day

27 June 2006 Lancaster Girls' Grammar School: A Pollutant's Tale

Dudley Shallcross and Tim Harrison were invited to give their lecture demonstration ‘A Pollutant’s Tale’ to Y8, 9 and 10 in three separate lectures. Several Post 16 students also managed to get into this popular lecture. In all, around 350 students had the opportunity to learn more about the gases in the atmosphere, what the major pollutants are and how some of these pollutants are measured.

As climate change and air quality are topics in the new GCSE courses, any teachers considering inviting this lecture to their school or group of schools should contact d.e.shallcross@bristol.ac.uk

26 June RCUK / Science Learning Centre South West Climate Change Course

Eighteen teachers from the south of England attended this national pilot course on climate change, in preparation for the introduction of the new GCSE science courses from September 2006.

The course gives science teachers information about the current state of knowledge, the mathematical models being used to investigate climate change, the use of carbon dioxide sensors, readily available data sets on pollution measurements and experiments that can be used in reference to climate change.

21 June Atmospheric Chemistry Update for Chemistry Teachers

A 75 minutes lecture demo presentation on current state of knowledge on carbon dioxide levels, CFCs and ozone depletion, 1 hour hands on session for carbon dioxide and ozone sensors & tour of School of Chemistry Atmospheric Chemistry Research Laboratory and a chance to talk to some of the researchers. During this time answers to questions about atmospheric chemistry sent  in advance will be asked and answered.

19 June Using Demonstrations and Practical to enthuse KS3 & KS4 Chemistry Students

This course was run in conjunction with the regional Science Learning Centre South West. A second session is planned for 22 September 2006.

click here for more details

16 June Perfume Chemistry

In this second part of a programme to promote chemistry with young women, 32 students from four local science colleges visited the university. The students were able to undertake the synthesis of banana oil as an example of a synthetic aroma chemical.

We would like to thank the Biochemistry Department for the loan of their undergraduate teaching laboratory. Later this term the youngsters will work with Hazel Mottram on the analysis of fragrances and will eventually make presentations on aspects of perfume chemistry at a schools conference in September.

15 June Chemistry and Food Demonstration Lecture, Rednock School

As part of the schools ‘Food Week’, Bristol ChemLabS were invited to give a demonstration lecture to a group of 50 Y10 students at the school. The lecture covered the chemistry of food from a GCSE perspective, the packaging of food and a discussion on taste versus detection of flavour. As befitting a hot summer afternoon, the talk finished with making strawberry ice cream for all that wanted it.

13-14 June National Science Learning Centre, University of York

Dudley Shallcross and Tim Harrison, assisted by Steve Henshaw, worked with Prof John Holman in delivering a course on climate change for a group of 17 science teachers from all over the UK. The theory behind climate change, mathematical modelling, sensing carbon dioxide levels and practical exercises to engage and enthuse students formed a substantial part of the course.

The chemistry of climate change is a part of the new GCSE science curriculum due to start in September.

Any teachers wishing to update their knowledge in this area should contact t.g.harrison@bristol.ac.uk in the first instance


5 - 9 June Aimhigher Chemistry Days for Y10 Chemistry Students

Around 210 year 10 students and their teachers, from five secondary schools in the region, took part in Aimhigher Chemistry Days. Thanks to our friends in the Department of Biochemistry, the students were able to have a two hour practical session on polymer chemistry in their teaching laboratories. The experiments included making Casein (a protein based polymer) from milk, making a Nylon, investigating PVA polymer compositions (slime), investigating the thermoplastic properties of a polymer and making synthetic silk from cotton wool. The students also had a tour of the School of Chemistry escorted by their postgraduate demonstrators.

To complete a busy day, the students watched a series of presentations. Ian Blenkham and Doug Jennings from the Widening Participation Office gave talks on what it is like to be a student at Bristol. A lecture was then presented by one of the postgraduates (Dane Comerford, Alex Griffin, Joel Loveridge, Emma Yates and Paul Hamer) on a topic of interest to Y10 students. The last presentation of the day was an interactive lecture, with demonstrations, by Tim Harrison.
The feedback from all schools has been very positive. It is hoped that these sessions will be repeated next year.



11 May Perfume Chemistry Workshop

Perfume Chemistry

A group of Y10 girls from Marlwood and Rednock Schools attended the second in a series of Perfume Chemistry workshops, as part of a project designed to promote the physical sciences amongst young women.

The project involves collaboration between local science colleges and the School of Chemistry, University of Bristol (Bristol ChemLabS). The project received funding from The Royal Society Partnership Grants Scheme, The Royal Society of Chemistry and Bristol ChemLabS. The project allows the students to work with professional scientists, giving students a taste of chemical science outside the classroom.

Marlwood student Georgina Hilton reported:

“It was a really good experience to learn about how the perfume is made. It was especially fun when we made our own perfumes and tested the different scents, even though some of them smelled really horrible! But other than that it was a really educational day, where we learned aspects of Chemistry and Biology all in one go!”

Laura Mills added:

“I really enjoyed the day. We learned a lot about how perfume is mixed and the different quantities of each chemical used. We were also told about the two theories on smell, those of vibration and shape. We even made our own perfume!”

Dr Shallcross, Outreach Director of the School of Chemistry, said that “this is a fantastic opportunity to promote chemistry in a fun and imaginative way”.

Further components of this project are to be held in June and July.

08 May 'A Pollutant's Tale' Lecture at Castle School, Thornbury

The demonstration lecture on aspects of the structure of the atmosphere, global warming and ozone depletion was presented to around 100 Y12 General Studies students at the South Gloucestershire school. The speakers were Dr Dudley Shallcross and Tim Harrison.

05 May Perfume Chemistry Workshop

Y10 students from Winchcombe and Stroud High schools started their Perfume Chemistry project with a day spent with perfumer John Stephen, owner of the Cotswold Perfumery.
John StephenAfter an introductory talk on how the sense of smell is thought to work, the students and their teachers went to the Perfume Garden where they experienced essential oils in their natural state and learnt how perfumes are classified into groups.

The majority of the day was spent in the laboratory. Following a detailed briefing on the composition of perfumes and a safety talk, the students set about producing their very own perfume which they bottled and packaged.

Winchcombe student Hannah Jenkins said “I really enjoyed today, especially the practical side, it’s a great hands-on experience, and everyone had a brilliant day!!” Stroud High student Kate Holford added “It was really interesting experience and I really enjoyed discovering the different fragrances and making them my own”.

Two more sessions, based at the School of Chemistry, are to follow with a conference to be held in September with all four participating schools taking part. The Perfume Project is partially sponsored by the Royal Society and the RSC.

Read the related article on the Stroud High School Website

4 May AS Level Revision Session at Rednock School

A two-hour revison session on aspects of the 'Chains and Rings' and 'How Far, How Fast' modules was attended by 18 students.

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* CHeMneT Events Spring Term 2006 (January–April)

* CHeMneT Events Autumn Term 2005 (October–December)

* CHeMneT Events Summer Term 2005 (April-September)

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