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Chemistry activities

Chemistry staff run a variety of engaging masterclasses and workshops, both at the Mile End campus where the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is located and in schools across London and the south east.

Below is a list of chemistry outreach activities that target students of various ages.

RSC Schools' Analyst Competition, East Anglia Regional Heat, 1-day, Y12-teams of 3 students

School and colleges in the East Anglia Region can send one team of three of Year 12 students to take part in this analytical chemistry-based competition. It is normally held in February each year and lasts one day. Each member of the top three teams receives prizes and the winning team may be selected to attend the National Final held in June each year at a university in the UK. Further information is available from the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).

Students in the lab

Spectroscopy Masterclasses, ½-day; Y12/Y13; 3-4 events per yearSpectroscopy equipment

Always popular, this session includes a 2-hour theory class, with problem-solving followed by an opportunity to view demonstrations of FTIR (students get hands-on experience to run liquid and solid samples), NMR and GC-MS instrumentation. This class is intended to support and aid an understanding of spectroscopy that forms a part of the AS/A2 chemistry syllabus.  Schools can also borrow the 'Spectroscopy in a Suitcase' kit from the RSC which can be used at the school.

Salters’ Festival of Chemistry, 1-day, Y7/8-teams of 4 students

Each year, around Easter, we host the ever-popular Salters’ Institute Chemistry Festival. Teams of four Y7/8 students compete in a number of chemical exercises for prizes and the day concludes with an exciting and explosive demonstration lecture.

Pupils at the Salters Festival of Chemistry

Chemistry Is Kool – lecture/demonstration, all ages, ~1 hr

This very popular practical and fun talk is aimed for students of all ages (5-18 years) but may be adapted for a non-scientific audience of any age, such as a youth club or society. This session aims to demonstrate the fun and relevance of chemistry in the modern world through a series of bright, loud and often smelly demonstrations using everyday objects and chemicals! The lecture/demonstration can be part of a ½ day visit to QMUL that includes a Campus Tour and a visit to the Department, or can be taken to the school/college.

Chemistry Laboratory Taster Day, 1-day, 4-Y8 Students per school: Bringing Chemistry Alive - Lotions, Potions, Murders and Slime!

The hands-on experiments carried out are designed to illustrate classical chemical investigative techniques such as flame tests and chromatography to solve a murder mystery as well as an introduction to pharmaceutical chemistry with the students preparing a cream and an ointment and then comparing the two. Students also have fun making "slime" using the chemistry behind contact lenses and disposable nappies. Schools may send a maximum of 4 Y8 students to this event and students are selected based on their enthusiasm for science.  

Staff and students participate in a variety of other outreach activities organized by the college, the RSC and other organisations, including Science Festivals and the Festival of Communities.

School pupils in the lab

Other topics on which we can supply speakers include:

  • Why study chemistry?
  • Careers in chemistry/science

For more information please email us on


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