The Royal Society of Chemistry states their raison d’être thusly: ‘The world needs more chemical scientists, and chemistry skills can lead our young people into a vast range of fulfilling careers. We help people see the part they can play in the future of the chemical sciences, and we improve chemistry education. We believe that everyone should have access to a high quality chemistry education which is engaging, inspiring and relevant. We are committed to promoting excellent science education across the world and are the largest non-government supporter of chemistry education in the UK. ‘Spectroscopy in a Suitcase’ gives school students the chance to learn about spectroscopy through hands-on experience. As well as covering the principles of spectroscopic techniques, the activities use real-life contexts to demonstrate the applications of the techniques.’ Yes, I know about as exciting as reading the Periodic Table, but when those young men and ladies donned their white coats opened up said suitcases, the wonders that Ms. Phelan’s Chemistry class beheld! It must be true that ‘doing’ is the best way to learn and to encourage academic enthusiasm, because the normally staid, partly gassed ‘Chem kids’ suddenly burst into life, as Ms. Phelan herself reports:
Thanks to the RSC- funded “Spectroscopy in a Suitcase”, run through TCD, our students got hands-on experience with an Infra -Red spectrometer and a UV spectrometer – these are pieces of equipment that school labs would never have (we usually just read about them). The 5th and 6th year Chemistry classes got to channel their inner CSI personas without the actual dead bodies, just a fictional one called Dr. Greene who died at her lab bench one Friday afternoon and was discovered on Monday morning. Turned out it was an aspirin overdose! The students also got to quiz the three Chemistry PhDs: Olann, Joana and Camille about studying science in Trinity – so free career guidance, too!