Chemistry Today and Tomorrow


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Presentation given at the ICPAC conference Chemistry: The Key for our Future July 2-6, 2012 Mauritius.
The presentation examines the status and popularity of chemistry and describes how the subject might be made more interesting and accessible by creating ‘hands on’ experiences for young people in developing countries where chemistry is vital to the nation’s economy.
The proceedings of the conference have now been published in a book.

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Chemistry Today and Tomorrow

  1. 1. Mauritius Chemistry Today and Tomorrow „The Chemistry Aid Group‟ led by PROFESSOR ANTONY REST“Chemistry Aid” and the Chemistry Video Consortium, School of Chemistry, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ, United Kingdom Email: URL: Presenter Dr Ray Wallace
  2. 2. Chemistry Today• The numbers of students opting for Chemistry and other Sciences are declining all over the world• At the same time the world relies more and more on science and technology• WHY THE DECLINE IN NUMBERS?• CAN THE TREND BE REVERSED? 2
  3. 3. Chemistry Today Some Student’s Views• Chemistry is too Abstract• Chemistry is Boring• Chemistry is Not Relevant 3
  4. 4. Chemistry Today Some Student’s Views• Chemistry is too Difficult• It is difficult to get good Grades• Careers advice is Lacking 4
  5. 5. Chemistry Today Some School’s and Teacher’s Views• Chemicals, equipment and facilities are too expensive• Chemistry courses are difficult to put on• There are safety, insurance and waste disposal issues• Finding good, enthusiastic staff is difficult• Poor grades penalise schools in league tables 5
  6. 6. Chemistry Today Public and Press Opinions• Don’t understand Chemistry• Blame Chemistry for disasters, e.g. pollution, environmental damage and global warming• Don’t recognize all the good things that arise from Chemistry, e.g. pharmaceuticals, plastics, IT materials 6
  7. 7. Chemistry Today Government Opinions• Chemistry is vital to the national economy in terms of industries, health of the nation, and innovations for the future, e.g. Chemistry is worth £250 billion (x Rp. 14 ,000) to the UK economy each year• Lots of careers are based on qualifications in Chemistry• Countries need “home grown” Chemists, Scientists, Engineers and Medical Practitioners rather than relying on overseas personnel 7
  8. 8. Chemistry TomorrowQuestion: What can be done?Answer: Students need more hands on experiences• Employ Some High Tech Solutions, e.g. Multimedia and IT• Employ Some Low Tech Solutions, e.g. Use of Plastic Equipment 8
  9. 9. Chemistry Tomorrow Multimedia and IT Solutions• CDROMs and DVDs via Data Video Projectors• Downloads from the Internet, Satellite, Mobile Phones and I-Pods• Use YouTube and Facebook• Use local and national Networking• Adapt/customise international resources to local syllabus 9
  10. 10. Chemistry Tomorrow Low Tech Solutions• Use of plastic bags• Use of plastic trays and equipment 10
  11. 11. Chemistry Tomorrow• Use of everyday chemicals, e.g. from markets, supermarkets and the environment• Make use of “Science Days” and Road Shows, e.g. a “Chemistry Bus” 11
  12. 12. Chemistry TomorrowQuestion: What happens if there is no power todrive the high tech solutions?Answer: Use solar energy generators 12
  13. 13. Chemistry Tomorrow Solar panel mounted on a classroom roof isbetter than mounting on a pole. The latter led to electrical losses through cable resistance 13
  14. 14. Chemistry TomorrowExample of a kit for use in aclassroom: laptop and projector14
  15. 15. Chemistry TomorrowDell’s M109S projector – a genuine laptop fed SVGAprojector requiring only 47 W – makes a solar charged,battery-powered classroom projection feasible. 15
  16. 16. Chemistry TomorrowProjected image in a classroom – using a cell-phone as Bluetooth modem for Internetconnection 16
  17. 17. Chemistry TomorrowPractical output of 2x80W solar panels = 80 WattsPower requirements:Power rating of a typical laptop = 20 WattsPower rating of a Dell video /dataprojector = 47 WattsCabling, batteries and inverter losses = 10 WattsBattery used: sealed 100 Ah (fully charges from emptyover four days) 17
  18. 18. Chemistry TomorrowPower system CostSolar panels $1000Inverter $110Charge/discharge conditioner $35TOTAL COST $1145ICT components CostDell projector $375Netbook computer $300External CD-ROM drive $40TOTAL COST $705 18 Total cost = $1850
  19. 19. Conclusions• Using High and Low Tech Solutions enables students to have “Good Visual” and “Hands-on” experiences of Chemistry perhaps for the first time• Such approaches can help advance learner’s IT skills, especially in rural areas of Developing Countries• These approaches use resources developed and proven in other countries and thus these can be cost-effective 19
  20. 20. Acknowledgements• Teachers in our careers• Colleagues in the Chemistry Video Consortium• Colleagues in “Chemistry Aid”, e.g. Jared Ogunde and Anthony Jadolah (Scientific Advisory and Information Network, Kenya), Jean Johnson and Pat Johnson (Uganda, UK), Keith Wilkinson (Zambia), Jodye Selco (East Africa, USA), Colin Osborne (RSC)• Publishers who have allowed materials to be customised, e.g. Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)• Chemistry Video Consortium, Royal Society of Chemistry & Nottingham Trent University for Sponsorship 20