Chemistry Clinic - May 2020
The Chemistry Clinic is a student led consultancy in the University of Strathclyde. Working with entrepreneurs with brand new ideas right through to supporting school students, they deal with a wide range of enquiries.
This placement opportunity during their Chemistry degree gives students the chance to implement the knowledge they have gathered so far during their three years of studying and fine-tune their practical laboratory skills. They also have the chance to grow on a personal basis in various forms of communication and organisation skills that are tested throughout the year.
The team also partake in various school events and tasks both within the University of Strathclyde and around the country - as STEM Ambassadors - to further the development of the scientific world.
The Chemistry Clinic provide an update on their projects, studies and outreach activities.
With recent world events, the last section of our placement year has been modified. The University is currently closed and we are working from home on reports and having regular Zoom meetings with our supervisors.
Since the New Year, the team has been very busy with commercial projects and meetings. Fortunately, a large amount of laboratory work and progress was achieved before the UK lockdown, offering a huge amount of data to evaluate and report.
Being part of the Chemistry Clinic at Strathclyde has given us a brilliant opportunity to become STEM Ambassadors and bring science workshops to schools and youth groups.
At the end of January, we took our forensic “USS Alba” workshop to the 1st Elderslie Boys’ Brigade company where Zoe is an Officer. The boys really enjoyed it and we were invited to visit the 4th East Kilbride company where we went along with the workshop in March. 141st Glasgow Guides (Lucy’s Guides) also received a visit from us. They always enjoy STEM related activities and wanted more time to be able to do all the activities rather than just one each.
Hayley, Zoe and Lucy developed a “Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?” workshop aimed at younger primary school age audiences. The workshop consisted of ink chromatography, fiber and fingerprint analysis. The team had planned to take this to Pirie Park Primary school during STEM Week, however this was cancelled due to the pandemic. We hope that next year’s Chemistry Clinic will have the opportunity to take this workshop to young people.
We saw an increase in the number of Advanced Higher students coming in to do analysis for their projects in March. Usually students will analyse aspirin, paracetamol or caffeine that they have made or extracted. We came across some projects that we hadn’t seen as yet, silver nanoparticles synthesis and analysis of pigments extracted from fruits and vegetables.
Reports and Assignments
We are currently working on our final reflective reports for the Chemistry Clinic. We are considering the events and activities from this academic year and how these have affected us, both positively and negatively. Thinking about how we can take what we have learned and apply this knowledge in future situations.
We have now completed and submitted our second distance learning assignment which was organic chemistry based and focused on oxidation and reduction. We have one assignment left which we will do in a few months which will be polymer chemistry based.
Jack Peggie, Lucy Tappin, Hayley Ryan and Zoe McKinnon