Behind the scenes of Education in Chemistry 50 years ago - Molecular shapes and new chemistry galleries at the Science Museum

Spotlight on volume 1

As we launch Education in Chemistry's  50th anniversary competition to design a chirality worksheet, I thought  you might be interested in an article I found in issue 3. It is A fragment of stereochemistry by G Baddeley from Manchester College of Science and Technology - transformed into University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) in 1966. 

The article is fairly comprehensive and covers far more concepts and details than could be considered in a single worksheet. Dr Baddeley considers the type of information on which our ideas about stereochemistry are based. It must be so much easier today to teach these concepts and for students to understand and visualise the shapes of these molecules and their bond angles with the modelling sets and IUPAC nomenclature we now use. Enter the competition and you could win a set for your classroom. 

Some old news

At the end of this article we are treated to another glimpse of science education news from the 1960s. The first story announces a facelift to the chemistry section at the Science Museum where three new galleries opened at a cost of £30 000. That would be well over £500 000 today, so it must have been an impressive project. Unfortunately I couldn't find any photographs but I wonder if any of these exhibits are still in situ  today? I'm sure some of them must be there along with an additional 50 years of chemical progress and new (or some quite old) interactive exhibits. 

At the end of the announcement about the Chemical Education Award, I was amused to read that the topic of Dr Sivertz's lecture was The problem of science education in the new age. I guess 50 years on we are still in a 'new age'. I wonder what the problem was then?