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Department of Chemistry


Outreach annual large-scale activities involving Durham Chemistry

Easter, 3 days, School Science Festival, around 600 Year 9/10 pupils, 2 staff members, 12 postgraduate (PG) students, see

July, NESIP, 5 days, sixth form research project week, between 20-40 students and around 5 teachers, 3-4 staff, 5 PG students

August, Sutton Trust summer school, 4 days, about 40 students, Y12, 2 staff, 3 PG students

October, Celebrate Science festival, 7000 visitors, 3 staff, 8-10 UG and PG students, see

Outreach small-scale activities involving Durham Chemistry

Numerous ad hoc activities take place including school visits to the labs (around 5 per year, primary to sixth form, next one scheduled for February for Fram School Year 13 chemists) and the department hosted a 'Harry Potter potions lesson' in December for DU students not involved in studying science at Durham.

Outreach-trained staff and students regularly visit local schools, scout and guide groups and other local community groups to deliver outreach locally. This January, we have seen 4 students involved with a local beaver scout group and we are currently scheduling activities with a guide group. An undergraduate project student engaged in a pedagogical 4th year project, is regularly visiting Caedmon primary school (Teesside) to deliver outreach activities to pupils. The Chemistry into Schools module sees 4-6 chemistry students complete 40 hour placements in local schools, delivering science enrichment projects. The PG 'Chemistry Communication and Science Outreach' course trains up between 10 and 14 PG students every year to deliver outreach, and this course sees them develop activities for delivery at the School Science Festival every Easter. Lectures (Meet the Universe and Origin of Elements) and light entertainment including pondectective with a USB microscope have been carried out at Trinity School, Durham.

Spectroscopy in a suitcase, light entertainment

An exciting build your own spectrometer kit where students can learn about light and its physical properties, such as absorption and diffraction through a series of exciting experiments using everyday objects such as sweet wrappers, CDs and natural mineral stones. Other experiments include the safe usage of colour low power lasers and a DIY UV torch to learn about UV light and UV active dyes such as the ones being used as anti-forgery pigments in currency, light sabres and fiberoptics.

Optical spectroscopy is a great way to demonstrate the fundamental principles of the absorption and emission of radiation - the fundamentals of spectroscopy. Its visual and easy to demonstrate. Thanks to funding from the RSC via the Chemistry: the next generation and HE-STEM programmes we have put together a set of equipment as part of "Spectroscopy in a Suitcase". This equipment is available for loan schools to allow pupils hands-on access to the equipment.

Full details can be found at our Spectroscopy in a Suitcase page.


A site dedicated to strentghening the link between schools and the university and facilitating the transition from school to university for the students.

Full details can be found at our DUSTing page.