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600 pupils help celebrate 1,000 lectures on five continents

Press release issued: 20 November 2012

Over 600 pupils from across Bristol and South Gloucestershire will be treated to a fun and explosive demonstration of chemistry to mark the special anniversary of a Bristol science project which has become a global success. An outreach project run as part of Bristol ChemLabS will be celebrating its 1,000th lecture on Friday, 23 November, when it hosts a free event in the Wills Memorial Building.

An outreach project run as part of Bristol ChemLabS will be celebrating its 1,000th lecture on Friday, 23 November, when it hosts a free event in the Wills Memorial Building.

Bristol ChemLabS, the UK’s centre for excellence in the teaching and learning of practical chemistry, is run by the University of Bristol’s School of Chemistry to inspire the next generation of scientists.

Teachers and pupils in Years 5 and 6 have received special invites to see for themselves why the engaging lectures have become popular worldwide.

Demonstrations by Professor Dudley Shallcross and Tim Harrison will use liquid nitrogen, oxygen foam and dry ice to capture the youngsters’ attention and educate them on the different gases in the air around us and some of their properties.

There will also be introductions to carbon dioxide and the chemistry of acids and alkalis, alongside an explanation of the processes of combustion and photosynthesis.

With visually interesting examples of science in action, the lectures have been a success around the world since they began in 2006, having been given in more than a dozen countries.

Tim Harrison, Director of Outreach at the University's Bristol ChemLabS, said: “This suite of talks was created over six years ago. We wanted to create an outreach programme which would capture young people’s interest in science, and it’s been more popular than we ever imagined – being presented on five continents.

“Around 20 postgraduate chemists at Bristol have also given the talks, mainly in primary schools in the UK, France, South Africa and Namibia. We’ve even trained up local scientists in South Africa to give the talks themselves, which happens regularly in Johannesburg and the Eastern Cape.”

Plans are now afoot to roll the scheme out to other universities, enabling scientists around the country to give the lectures to local school children.

For more information on Bristol ChemLabS, please see www.chemlabs.bris.ac.uk or email Tim Harrison on t.g.harrison@bristol.ac.uk