At the beginning of July, 25 chemistry teachers attended the RSC's The science of materials summer school in London
The three-day event included visits, lectures and practical sessions on polymers, nanomaterials, biomaterials and fuel cells. The feedback was extremely positive and 100% of teachers said that they would recommend it to others. One chemistry teacher said: 'overall I am delighted I came on this course, which was interesting and fulfilling and real value for money'.
Queen Mary University of London gave an introduction to materials science and a range of activities and demonstrations related to biomedical materials, with current undergraduate students available to talk about their studies and future career plans. At Imperial College London, teachers undertook a range of practicals and seminars that focused on some current areas of general interest such as energy technology, climate change and carbon emissions, and nanotechnology. Participants gained first hand experience in using processing equipment including injection moulding, extrusion, blow moulding, compression and vacuum forming machines at the London Metropolitan Centre and manufactured a whole host of goodies including bowls, plates, bottles and bags. Visits to the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Gallery gave teachers an exclusive opportunity to see behind the scenes and learn about the work of scientists in maintaining, renovating and preserving art.
This summer school is linked to a 2008-2009 consultation by the RSC to identify priority areas where the chemical sciences can play an important role in the development of society. Materials chemistry was recognised as critical to advance fundamental knowledge that could lead to the breakthroughs needed to address big global challenges. Materials chemistry focuses on designing materials with specific useful properties. Understanding how the composition and structure influences physical properties is vital. For more information on this visit the website.
Thanks should be given to all host institutions and the Armourers and Brasiers' Company who generously supported the summer school to help keep costs low for the attending teachers.