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Langley Grammar School

Langley Grammar School

Year 13 Chemistry in Action

On Friday 23rd  November the Year 13s headed off to Westminster for a series of chemistry lectures by scientists in a number of fields.

This article was written by Vianca in Year 13.


During the event, we were fortunate enough to hear from a number of leading academics and specialists about their careers and the opportunities open to us if we wanted to pursue our interest in chemistry. The trip was very useful, given that we are all currently thinking about our university choices and careers. 


The first lecturer was a scientist who described the historical discovery of elements and made us understand the process to discover a new element, currently element 120. Often elements will be seen for less than a split of a second, yet can be instrumental for learning more about the creation of the universe. Though interactive and engaging, the lecture opened our eyes up to not only the way science is evolving but also the opportunities there are for us to learn and get involved in it.


We saw how interlinked all the sciences were, when applying chemistry to biochemical contexts and biological preservation. In this case the lecturer spoke to us about the history of Frankenstein – and how in reality Mary Shelley’s book has a lot of scientific fact behind it. By electrical stimulation, scientists were able to make muscles move in dead organisms, combining biology and physics with the chemistry involved in preserving organic material. For many this was one of their favourite lectures, being able to apply some of the knowledge of organic chemistry in a more practical (though mostly fictitious) context.


We met a speaker who took us through her journey right from applying to university to her current job. She showed us, how having done a degree in chemical engineering, she was able to travel around the world, explore new fields and finally find a job that she feels is fulfilling and enjoyable – even if not directly connected to her career choice. Given that we have all just applied to university, this taught us, for the many that are unsure which career path their degree will lead them into, that there are a range of opportunities available for us to get involved in and chemistry itself can open up many doors such as finance, politics and even management that many had not considered.


Our last lecture was a somewhat more academic one – and built upon much of the elemental knowledge students had from their A-level studies. This day taught us about the breadth and depth of chemistry and gave many of us a greater insight about chemistry is necessary for us as individuals in our daily lives. We really enjoyed the trip, and would like to thank the Chemistry Department and all the teachers that came along for making it such an amazing day, and hope that we will be able to do more ‘Science in Action’ lectures in the future.