Inspiring the next generation of NMR scientists during British Science Week

On Friday 15th March 10 chemistry A-Level students from Range High School visited the Institute for the annual Analytics Day held in the NMR Centre for Structural Biology organised by Dr Jill Madine and Dr Marie Phelan. This visit has been an annual event for the past several years which the students look forward to in order to gain enhanced understanding of NMR to help with their A-level courses and also provide an opportunity to chat with PhD students about what is involved in University life and academic research.  The students were given lectures on the basic applications of mass spectrometry and NMR from Stephen Moss (School of Physical Sciences) and Dr Marie Phelan. This was the followed by practical workshops where the students carried out chromatography and learnt to prepare and run NMR samples along with how to interpret the data.  Prior to their visit, as part of a school practical, they have made salicylic acid – a precursor for aspirin. We obtained these samples and collected NMR spectra of their products ready for analysis on the day.  This enabled them to establish how successful their synthesis had been and compare their results across the class, with previous years’ students (and to the teacher!). The pupils response at the end of the day was that they had learnt a lot and they can now ‘do’ NMR. Watch out for future budding NMR Nobel Prize Winners inspired during British Science Week in IIB!

Pupils were assisted on the day by Michelle Tan, Adika Sen (visiting interns in the NMR Centre), Zain Ghanameh (IACD), Jeremy Chazot (IACD) and James Torpey (IIB).

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Range High School students visit the NMR Centre

Guest post by Dr Jill Madine, Research Fellow in the Institute of Integrative Biology (IIB)

On Friday  22nd January chemistry A-Level students from Range High School visited the Institute for a workshop in the NMR Centre for Structural Biology organised by Dr Jill Madine.  The aim of the visit was to gain some practical experience to complement their A-Level chemistry curriculum.  Throughout the day the students learnt about the advantages and disadvantages of mass spec and NMR from Dr Mark Wilkinson and Dr Marie Phelan, learnt to prepare and run NMR samples and how to interpret the data.  Additionally, prior to their visit, as part of a school practical, they have made salicylic acid – a precursor for aspirin. We obtained these samples and collected NMR spectra of their products ready for analysis on the day.  This enabled them to establish how successful their synthesis had been and compare their results across the class. 

Overall a good day was had by all.  Student feedback highlighted that it was good to go outside of a classroom and see how NMR and mass spec are being applied here in the University and beyond across a range of disciplines.  A range of University of Liverpool postgraduate students and postdocs helped with the day providing practical and theoretical advice, including Dr Hannah Davies, Dr Vicky Pedder, James Torpey and Kieran Hand.