University of London Chemistry Lectures
University of London Chemistry Lectures at the Institute of Education
On 8 December both the IB and A level upper sixth chemists went to London to listen to the renowned chemistry lectures, organised by the University of London, accompanied by the wonderfully organised Dr Love and Mr Lovibond. There were 5 lectures in total, with the speakers including the head of drug testing for the 2012 Olympics, a (failed) astronaut and an industrial chemist with legal experience. The topics of the lectures were as varied as the lecturers themselves, with the subjects of ‘Magic vs. Science’, ‘Capturing Smell’ and ‘Catching Sports Cheats’ all being covered, amongst others.
Nevertheless, despite this huge variety, the entire day was united by the theme of the relevance of chemistry in the modern world and in our own futures. We were all fascinated to see how the analytical techniques we had studied, such as chromatography and mass spectrometry were actually used, because none of us had fully understood how often they are applied and to what a wide range of uses. They are used in multinational, multimillion pound events such as patent court cases and the Olympics, to ensure that fairness is maintained. In comparison, chemistry is also used for personal pleasure, whether it is to create scents for the perfume industry, or to simply perform ‘magic’ experiments for the entertainment of your class.
All in all it was a great day out and we all took a lot from it. It greatly furthered our understanding of the uses of chemistry in society and really sparked our interest in some non-curricular areas, which has certainly increased our consideration of chemistry as a possible career path.