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Chemistry: insight4me Chemistry – Focus on Organic Chemistry With University of East Anglia & University of Nottingham

22nd June 2021 @ 09:30 - 10:30




insight4me is a series of subject specific webinars for current Year 12 & 13 students. The sessions support students’ current studies by giving an insight into particular curriculum areas whilst affording students the opportunity to talk to different universities and make informed comparisons about how, in this case, Chemistry is taught.

In this insight4me Chemistry webinar for schools and colleges, UEA and University of Nottingham will each have roughly 30 minutes to deliver a punchy, topic based ‘micro’ talk. Within an overall session theme of Focus on Organic Chemistry, the universities have the freedom to choose their own topic and use the time to convey the key points of the case studies for the students.

Through the discussion, the universities are encouraged to provide an insight into the teaching and learning experience of this topic at university, and compare and contrast how other subject areas across the Chemistry spectrum might be treated. Students will gain an insight into how these subjects continue beyond A-levels, T-levels, IB, BTEC and equivalent qualifications.

By hearing from 2 unis, students will also appreciate how the further study of Chemistry can vary between institutions, contributing to the depth of their HE research and assisting informed decision making.

Full details of the universities and their talks will appear below when available. 

  • University of East Anglia: Professor G Richard Stephenson, Professor of Synthetic & Pharmaceutical Chemistry, will present Twisting Aromatic Rings: The Organic Chemistry of Graphene, Nanotubes and Helicenes. ‘Flat’ or ‘flat enough’? We are all taught that compounds such as benzene are flat, but it’s not as simple as that. To have aromatic stabilisation, the unsaturated parts of the structure need only to be flat enough to allow good delocalisation of electron density. By introducing a twist, important new properties are gained. This will be discussed in the lecture with examples such a graphene, already a commercial success, and helicenes, a topic of my own research, and a field where important new optical properties offer novel applications – chemistry which is fast caching up with graphene in terms of impact. Fusing aromatic rings with shared edges are the key, and we will ‘play with this’ in the lecture.
  • University of Nottingham: Dr Ben S. Pilgrim, Nottingham Research Fellow, will present Self-assembly – Getting the molecules to do the synthesis for you. Most covalent bond forming reactions used by organic chemists are essentially irreversible under the typical reaction conditions. Using reversible or dynamic covalent bond forming reactions allows a greater variety of structures to be accessed by allowing the system to find the most stable product. We can design molecules that use these dynamic covalent bond forming reactions (and other non-covalent interactions such as hydrogen bonding) to undergo self-assembly into much larger nanomaterials. This talk will look at the different types of bonds that can be employed for this process and examples of the wide variety of self-assembled structures that can be created – from artificial molecular capsules and molecular machines to DNA and viruses in the natural world.


Our events are designed so that a group of students can take part from a classroom or students and teachers can take part as individuals, either from school or from home. This means that sessions will continue irrespective of possible school closures.

As a live, participative event, this session will not be recorded but slides and other resources will be shared after the event, where available.


Suitable for: Year 12 & 13 students (and equivalent) studying, or with a possible interest in studying, Chemistry and related disciplines.

Preparation/Pre-Reading: Students may wish to consider the 2 topics and discuss some of the key elements in advance. Students can also think about questions they have about studying Chemistry at university level.

The IT Setup: The event will be run on Bluejeans and participants will be able to join using laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. If you are joining as a school group, we recommend connecting with one device and projecting on to a whiteboard. You will be able to interact with the university via a microphone and/or typed comments and questions. Full details will be sent to those who have registered (see below) prior to the event.

Booking a Place: This is free for schools and colleges. If you would like to take part in this event, please register your interest using the link to the registration form below:



22nd June 2021
09:30 - 10:30
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