Sixth Form students visit Bristol ChemLabS

St. Aloysius College Sixth Form students visit Bristol ChemLabS

Between the 30th June and 4th July 2013, the Science students of St. Aloysius College Sixth Form had the opportunity to experience the magic of the world class Chemistry labs at Bristol University, known as  Bristol ChemLabS - A HEFCE Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL).  We actually felt like top-notch Chemistry undergraduates carrying out experiments done as part of a university degree! 

The application of concepts learnt in class was thrown into the cauldron of our knowledge when we could get dirty with chemicals used in industry all round the globe.  Chemistry did not remain merely theoretical in our eyes but bubbled and surfaced as a science required in daily life.

We used the same equipment that undergraduate chemists use; rotary evaporators, heater-stirrers, uv-visible and infra-red spectrometers. The experiments included the extraction of caffeine from tea, the quantification of the vanillin content of vanilla essence, the synthesis of the anesthetic benzocaine and a cobalt complex.  A series of lectures and demonstrations were also given. One of the most exciting lectures was given by Mr Tim Harrison.  He actually got us to put our hands in liquid nitrogen at -196 °C, but for one second ONLY - anything more than 5 seconds would have caused our fingers to fall off! We also visited places of interest such as the city of Bath.

This camp was definitely a great stepping stone in our path to following a scientific career and one that gave us memories to treasure forever; not only in terms of the knowledge acquired but also the international bonds made.  We found ourselves missing the labs the very first day we were gone and this just goes to show how we already are really scientists at heart!


By Simran Mohnani

Science Student

St.Aloysius’ College Sixth Form

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