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Why do fireflies glow in the dark? (Image thanks to Tanakawho)
Why do fireflies glow in the dark? (Image thanks to Tanakawho)
The pupils will be undertaking practical tasks, such as making drugs for pain relief
The pupils will be undertaking practical tasks, such as making drugs for pain relief

Press Release - 15 July 2008

Chemistry pupils to discover why fireflies glow in the dark

One hundred 15-year-olds from schools around the country have been invited to enjoy one of two, residential Salters’ Chemistry Camps held at the University of Bath (21-23 July and 23-25 July 2008).

The two-day camps will encourage the students to participate in the fun of chemistry and motivate them to develop a long-term interest in the subject, through an action-packed programme.

Each student will be given an opportunity to tackle a variety of new activities, such as researching the properties of chemiluminescence or cold light, to discover the reason why fireflies glow in the dark.

Other exciting tasks for participants include producing a photograph without a camera, involving a process called cyanotyping or blue printing.

“These practical activities will be more relevant to the real world than experiments the pupils may have experienced at school,” said Dr John Lowe, Academic Lab Co-ordinator from the University’s Department of Chemistry, who will be leading the camps.

“We’ll be looking at making paracetamol and other drugs for pain relief, but there will also be some exciting opportunities for demonstrations of whizzes and bangs.”

Dr Mike Whittlesey, Senior Lecturer from the University’s Department of Chemistry, will be treating the pupils to an impressive display of sound and colour with his chemical magic demonstrations.

Screaming jelly babies, electrocuted gherkins, a flashing blue light and other reactions will be used to illustrate the importance of reduction and oxidation in chemical transformations,” said Dr Whittlesey.

There will also be a varied social programme for the pupils including tenpin bowling and a fun quiz.

The Salters' Chemistry Camps are an initiative of The Salters' Institute, which aims to promote the appreciation of chemistry and related sciences among the young.

The chemistry camps at the University of Bath are sponsored by the Salters’ Institute; GlaxoSmithKline; the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry; the Institution of Chemical Engineers; the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry.


The University of Bath is one of the UK's leading universities, with an international reputation for quality research and teaching. View a full list of the University's press releases: http://www.bath.ac.uk/news/

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