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Department of Chemistry

Image courtesy of the Department of Chemistry

This week is Chemistry Showcase Week when, to enhance their science communication skills, our postgraduate students must present their research to all of us.

Over the next three days, our PhD students will be explaining their research in public, either by giving a poster presentation (if they are second-year PhD students) or standing up at the front of a theatre and giving a short lecture (if they are third-years). 

Dr Deborah Longbottom, our Head of Graduate Education, says: "Our students benefit hugely from this opportunity to present their research to those both inside and outside their research groups. Being able to communicate your research clearly and effectively to other scientists and to the public is an important part of being a scientist." 

And Showcase Week also benefits others in the department. As our Head of Department Professor John Pyle says: "It's valuable for all of us to see what our research groups are doing and appreciate the diversity and quality of science being done across our department." 

This is a large department and research here is divided across five Research Interest Groups. On Tuesday 25 September, students in the Physical and Synthesis groups will be making their presentations. On Wednesday it is the turn of the Biological and Theoretical groups. And on Thursday, the Materials researchers will be showcasing their work.

Showcase Week was first introduced into our PhD programme last year, partly at the request of the students themselves who wanted to practise skills that would be relevant for their careers.

As one third-year PhD student said this week: "Doing this has really pushed me out of my comfort zone, but that's been good for me as science communication is very important.

"I've found it hard to condense research that I have spent years working on into a talk of just 15 minutes – my first run-through lasted an hour and a half! – but it's a good skill to develop."