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A Busy November

A Regional Coordinator’s job is never dull! This month I’ve had five very different RSC ChemNet events in my region:
Plum puddings, prizes and pizza
I headed up to Wrexham on the 14th November to attend the RSC ChemNet event hosted by Techniquest Glyndŵr. I joined more than 50 students for the evening and had an absolute ball! We got to play with the science exhibits before heading to the theatre where we got the low-down on the history of the atom (thanks to Dawn from Techniquest Glyndŵr). With our brains switched on (and some fun prizes already awarded), we settled in for the chemistry quiz with Quizmaster Andy (Head of Chemistry at Alun School, Mold). Andy’s questions kept us all guessing and the pub-quiz style ensured that everyone got at least one point on the scoreboard. The evening finished with style - pizza and prizes!
Sustainable Energy Supply - Hydrogen as a Fuel for the Future?
Two days later, Jon Maddy gave a really interesting lecture at Christ College, Brecon. The audience was keen to discover more about the challenges and possible solutions of future transport and they asked some really insightful questions. The event was organised by the South Wales West Local Section in association with RSC ChemNet.
Chemistry at Cardiff University
On the 21st November, 30 school students, parents and teachers spent the evening in the School of Chemistry finding out all about studying chemistry at Cardiff University. Dr Tom Tatchell, the admissions tutor, gave a very informative overview and then undergraduates Gabriella, Ryan and Harvey along with PhD student Ollie shared their reasons for choosing to study chemistry at Cardiff University. They then took the school students for a tour of the Student Union whilst the parents and teachers stayed for a Q&A session. Everyone came back together for a look around the department followed by pizza and an informal chat. Feedback from the event was very positive and attendees appreciated the information.
CSI Swansea
My penultimate RSC ChemNet event for the month was hosted by SPECIFIC at the Baglan Bay Innovation & Knowledge Centre. Twenty RSC ChemNet members were lucky enough to become criminal investigators for the afternoon, working in small groups to solve the murder of a leading researcher (don’t worry, it wasn’t a real crime!). With help from the Swansea University researchers working at SPECIFIC, each group analysed a pack of collected evidence and information on the possible suspects to work out who committed the murder. We got to see some of the high-tech equipment that they use at SPECIFIC, including FTIR, SEM/EDX and even state-of-the-art Scanning Kelvin Probe methods that were pioneered in Swansea! It was great to be able to see inside a research facility like SPECIFIC – all of the researchers seem to enjoy working there (although that may have been because they were putting up the Christmas tree and eating mince pies that afternoon…).
The Chemistry of Light
November finished with a flash as Dr Peter Douglas and Dr Mike Garley gave us an overview of the interaction between chemistry and light and showed us the importance of photochemistry in our world. We learned how to make light from electricity, heat and chemical reactions. We saw how we use light in communication, electronics, medicine and entertainment (I want some of the UV-active nail polish!). Finally, we found out how photochemists are working towards a cleaner, brighter future - devising new methods to convert sunlight into useful energy and using light to clean up pollution. The lecture was part of the Swansea Science Café and was co-sponsored by the RSC South Wales West Local Section in association with RSC ChemNet.

As you can see it’s been a busy month but I’m already looking forward to the next RSC ChemNet events. Your students can find out about the upcoming events by signing up to RSC ChemNet (it’s free!!).  And don’t forget that you can request an RSC ChemNet visit (a free talk about careers in chemistry) by filling out the online booking form.

Dayna Mason is RSC Regional Coordinator for Wales and works with the education team.
Contact her at masondn@cardiff.ac.uk
Posted by Dayna Mason on Dec 2, 2012 5:03 PM Europe/London

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