Chemistry Spectroscopy Workshop at the University of Nottingham
By Daisy B and Abbi Y, Year 13
On Wednesday 8th November, the Year 13 students, Dr Sheldon and Miss Johnson visited the University of Nottingham to take part in the Chemistry Spectroscopy workshop. The day started with a lecture in the department of Chemistry, where we met students from other schools and spoke to some current undergraduate chemists.
We then went to the first year ‘wet’ labs where we prepared a nujol mull and generated the Infrared spectrum of an unknown (which we later determined to be aspirin). We also learnt about the characteristic bonds in some molecules that can experience various types of stretching, vibrations and rotations – for example: stretching, wagging, symmetric and asymmetric stretching amongst others.
Next we learnt more about NMR and were guided round some research labs by a PhD student whose area of interest was phosphorus Chemistry. Unfortunately, we couldn’t take any photos as mobile phones are strictly prohibited in these labs! It was here that we learned about Peter Mansfield, a former professor at the University, who won the 2003 Nobel Prize for the development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Finally we learned more about mass spectrometry and we able to see the actual machines which cost thousands of pounds! It was very interesting to find out the practical application of mass spectrometery as many drug companies and large food producers such as Mars come and use the mass spectrometers at the university.
Overall, it was a great day and a fascinating experience, as we were able to get a real feel for university life and the practical application of chemistry.