BTS attended a Chemistry at Work day
11 of our students from years 10 and 11 were among 40 or so from other schools who spent the day at ISIS Neutron & Muon Source in the Rutherford Appleton Labs near Harlow. This is a state of the art research centre in materials science. The facility uses a particle accelerator to produce a beam of neutrons and muons (sub atomic particles), which they use in a suite of advanced scientific instruments to work out the detailed atomic structures of various different materials. Once the structure of a material is known at the atomic level, its properties can not only be explained, but also finely modified to design new materials with a particular set of desired properties.
Students spent the whole day at the centre and experienced a variety of talks, tours, and demonstrations. They also had the chance to complete some practical work for themselves: they made some crystals and some nylon. They also investigated the effect of catalysts on reaction rate and, after lunch, ate some ice cream made using liquid nitrogen. The day finished with a Chemistry show which demonstrated various effects of liquid nitrogen: from stopping currents in electrical circuits to levitating magnetic materials.
Our BTS students were not only perfectly behaved but they stood out. They showed a level of maturity and confidence not seen in many students of a similar age.
The event has shown students how chemistry can be applied to real life situations. It has also shown them some of the careers available to them with a chemistry qualification.