GCSE Chemistry Workshop at UCL

Pete Kirby

July 01, 2016

On Wednesday 29th June Tutorfair Foundation and UCL hosted their third Chemistry Workshop.  The day was aimed at GCSE students thinking of taking A-Level chemistry and went off-syllabus to showcase how chemistry is actually used in the real world.

One of the students, Spencer, has written up her experience of the day.....

On Wednesday, I was lucky enough to go to a Chemistry Day organised by the Tutorfair Foundation and UCL which was really amazing. I’ve always enjoyed chemistry, so it was a great opportunity for me to find out more about what it’s like to study chemistry at university, and to help me decide whether chemistry was the right A level choice for me.

First we had 3 talks from lecturers at the university. They were so interesting, and it was really nice to learn about chemistry outside of the classroom. The topics, which were “Ozone in the Earth’s Atmosphere”, “Magic Bullet Chemotherapies” and “Chemistry Under Pressure”, showed us how chemistry is being used right now in the real world. It was especially cool to hear that some of the research is carried out right in the university, which sounded very exciting.

Next up we had talk about what it’s like to study chemistry at university, which was full of useful information. It helped me to understand why taking chemistry is such a good option and also showed me that a chemistry degree can be used for so many careers that you wouldn't expect.

After lunch, we had a quick briefing on the practical we were about to do, then we were allowed into the labs. The facilities were incredible, and it was really cool to see everyone in lab coats and all the different kinds of chemicals on the shelves. We were making something called a ‘ferrofluid’, and even though ours didn't turn out quite like the pictures online, they were still pretty awesome and also fun to make.

The last activity of the day was a talk from Andrea Sella about mercury. He was so passionate about it, which was really inspiring, and his enthusiasm kept everyone completely engaged for the whole time. The demonstration was also really cool.

Overall, it was a great day which I would definitely recommend to anyone thinking about taking chemistry for A level or beyond. In my case, I came in unsure of whether to take chemistry A level or not, and this day showed me how fascinating chemistry really is, and how much more there is to it than what we look at in class. I learned new things, had a really fun day, and I’m now very excited to start chemistry in September!