At its first Chemistry at Work Day, Benenden hosted more than 400 students from 17 Kent schools.
Run in conjunction with the Royal Society of Chemistry, Chemistry at Work events aim to inspire students to appreciate the relevance and societal importance of chemistry, and consider studying chemistry at university. Events enable students and teachers to interact with practicing chemical scientists and organisations in their local area.
Schools that attended Benenden on the day included Cranbrook School, John Wallis Academy, Chatham Grammar School for Girls, Tonbridge School and Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys.
Exploring forensic science
Benenden School Headmistress, Samantha Price, said: “We are proud to have hosted the first Chemistry at Work Day at Benenden in association with the Royal Society of Chemistry.
“We are fortunate to have some wonderful science facilities at Benenden and were delighted to share them with students from other schools. We all have a shared enthusiasm for science and I hope that yesterday’s Chemistry at Work Day will prove to be the first of many such events.”
Speakers on the day included Dr Jonathan Hare, a well-known TV presenter on Science and a contributor to the team that won the 1996 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Other experts in their field included lecturers from Imperial College London, Keele University and Bristol University. Professionals from Vauxhall Motors, QinetiQ and the Society of Cosmetic Chemists provided an insight in the applied world of Chemistry.
Learning about the commercial painting of cars
Benenden Chemistry outreach co-ordinator Susan Harris organised the day. She said: “Chemistry is a vibrant and exciting subject. It is involved in everything we do, from the manufacture of new smart materials to the food we eat, to the medicines which keep us healthy, and from the quality of the water we drink to keeping the air we breathe pure.
“The chemical and allied industries – fuels, pharmaceuticals, fragrances – are the most important manufacturing industries to the UK economy. These industries employ large numbers. Studying for a degree in chemistry is also ideal for a career in areas not directly related to chemical sciences such as banking, business and Law.
“Hopefully our Chemistry at Work event has opened young people’s eyes to the exciting and rewarding career options that chemistry offers and dispel the stereotypical misconceptions that chemistry should only be an A-level choice if you want to be medic.”