The National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth Summer School 2005

The National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth (NAGTY) Summer School in chemistry was held at Bristol ChemLabS at the end of July. Twenty students aged between fourteen and sixteen from all over England took in the two weeks of activities under the umbrella of 'Chemistry in the Pharmacy'

NAGTY Students

The students enjoyed a wide range of chemistry related activities both in the lab and away from it. The lab work includes the synthesis of aspirin, banana oil and antifebrin, the extractions of clove oil and caffeine and the analysis of the sugar content of soft drinks and iron tablets and how to make a blue print photograph. Many of the practical techniques and skills were new to the students. These included reflux, steam distillation, solvent extraction and spectroscopy. The students were also given the chance to learn how to use fire extinguishers by the safety office.

Students with a competitive bent had the chance to enjoy the usual white powder analytical competition, the iodine clock challenge and the daily photo caption. A day-long practical chemical engineering competition took place at the in collaboration with the University of Bath. Another visit included a trip to the Cotswold Perfumery where John Stephen gave a talk on fragrances.

The students learnt about the action of drugs on the body from Dr Emma Robinson, (Department of Pharmacology) and Dr Russell Cox who gave interactive talks about, 'Drugs on the brain' and 'How aspirin works in the body' respectively.

As part of the programme the students will be gave presentations on aspects of drug chemistry. For the successful completion of this the students were presented with British Association for the Advancement of Science's (The BA) Silver Science Communicators Awards by hardworking demonstrators Jess Tsiopani and Chau Chan.

The excitement of chemistry was made available to all 120 NAGTY students attending the various summer schools hosted by the university through Dr Chris Wormald's demonstration lecture 'Astonishing Chemical Reactions'.

The chemistry summer school programme was created by Dr Dudley Shallcross, Tim Harrison, Steve Croker and Hugh James.

Students Feedback

"For both of us, the course has been a life changing experience that we will never forget. We found the standard of teaching exceptional, not only because our tutors are leaders in their fields of work and are astonishingly knowledgeable, but also because they treated us as adults and tried their best to make the course as good as it can be.

Throughout the course (Connecting with Chemistry), we never ceased to be amazed at the facilities available to us in the university, from the well-stocked library to the huge laboratories.

The resources offered to us were second to none, no expenses spared.

Seeing PhD students at work was a real insight into what research involves and how individuals can make a difference to the world.

The chemistry summer school was one of the best experiences of our lives (not exaggerating!) and will be remembered for years to come."

Extracts from an email received shortly after the Summer School

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