A chance to find out about the activities hosted by the different RSC Networks. From the 35 Local Sections and 75 Interest Groups to RSC Reps and International Sections, this blog should give you a taster of the 500 events organised each year by the various RSC Networks for both RSC members and the public. If you've recently held an RSC event and would like to contribute to the blog, email: networks@rsc.org.

Local Section schools and public events 2011 - South West

Welcome to the sixth instalment of the 9 week series highlighting the schools and public events that were organised by our Local Section committees during the International Year of Chemistry!  This week we take a look at some of the work the South West Local Sections have been doing during 2011.

South West

In Bristol and District, the Local Section committee hosted visiting lecturers; Dr Peter Douglas and Dr Mike Garley, whose ever popular lecture Colour and Light has already featured in this blog (see Ireland entry). The lecture, which is a series of more than twenty demonstrations, is divided into three sections.
  • How light is made
How light can be generated electrically, thermally and chemically, and how visible light can be generated from ultraviolet light, i.e. fluorescence and phosphorescence.
  • How light is used today in technology and everyday life
In this section the use of light and chemistry in the technologies of everyday life is demonstrated. This includes its use in photography, electronics, entertainment, plastics, medicine and security marking.
  • How light might be used in the future to solve the most important problems facing mankind
The lecture ends with demonstrations illustrating ways in which light can be used to purify polluted water, and how sunlight can be used as the ideal non-polluting energy source by conversion into electricity or a chemical fuel.

The committee’s Education Officer, Dr Tim Harrison (University of Bristol), and colleagues engaged hundreds of students in a number of outreach activities throughout the year including a Schools Chemistry Conference at Cheltenham Ladies College in October, which was attended by over 300 post-16 students in the morning and 350 primary school pupils in the afternoon.
In the morning, Tim was joined by postgraduate student Andy Chapman and Dr John Emsley (University of Oxford) and between them they entertained the audience with a demonstration lecture A Chemical Delight, a talk on The Chemistry of Chocolate and a lecture on Molecules of Murder, which ties in with Dr Emsley’s best-selling book of the same title.
For the younger children, Dr Harrison delivered a fun and engaging lecture Gases in the Air, which was featured live on the BBC’s Point West lunchtime programme.
Late in November, two Schools Christmas Conferences saw almost 600 students enjoying talks on a variety of topics from Genetic Fingerprinting: Past, Present and Future to Chemistry for the Terrified!
Across the year, 380 Year 13 students from 22 schools and 8 colleges visited the University of Bristol to find out about the many types of spectroscopy, including mass spec, NMR, UV-Vis, infrared and SEM.
The Mid-Southern Counties Local Section welcomed RSC President Prof. David Phillips who delivered the demonstration lecture ‘Braving the Elements’ to a large audience. The Local Section committee have been running this event for a number of years and the children of those that enjoyed the first lecture a generation ago now attend.
Posted by Sarah Hobbs on Jul 5, 2012 11:02 AM Europe/London

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