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30 June 2006 PR 06/78

Dyeing to get into Science

A Chemistry project to get more young people interested in Science has been rolled out to schools across Leicestershire and the South West of England.

Twenty-six schools across the South West and nine in Leicestershire volunteered to take part in the project, which was run by the Universities of Loughborough and Bristol, and aimed at GCSE and A level students. Chemistry kits were sent to each school, giving students first hand, practical experience of a scientific, research project

By experimenting with different dyes – from sources such as strawberries, cherries and teabags – students were asked to find which produced the strongest electrical current, when combined with solar cells.

Miss Dimple Patel, Research Assistant at Loughborough University, who ran the project, said: “This work is really, really important. When I was at school, I never had the chance to see that Chemistry was fun. It is not just people in white coats in a lab doing the same experiments, day after day.

“This project gave students the chance to see that there is a lot more to Science and, hopefully, to consider it as a subject option and even a career choice. It has been very successful.”

As well as supplying Chemistry kits, Loughborough University also ran a range of other outreach activities, including workshops, summer schools, and open days.

A manual and CD were prepared for teachers, who could also access information about the project on the University website.

The project was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.


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Notes to editors

  1. The schools taking part in the South West were: Brimsham Green School, Yate, Bristol; Gordano School, Portishead; Chipping Camden School, Chipping Camden; Dene Magna School, Mitcheldean, Gloucestershire; Bradon Forest School, Swindon; Cheltenham Kingsmead, Cheltenham; Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Clifton, Bristol; Somervale School, Midsomer Norton, Bath; Winchcombe School, Cheltenham; Oldfield School, Bath; Marlwood School, Alveston, Bristol; Bridgewater College, Somerset; Cheltenham Ladies College, Cheltenham; Ashton Park School, Bower Ashton, Bristol; Stroud High School, Stroud; Castle School, Thornbury, Bristol; Wellington School, Somerset; Hanham High School, Bristol; Sir Bernard Lovell School, Bristol; Clifton College, Clifton, Bristol; Cheltenham College, Cheltenham; Chipping Sodbury School, Bristol; Brockworth Enterprise School, Brockworth, Gloucester; Cam Hopton Church of England Primary School, Dursley, Gloucestershire; Hardenhuish School, Chippenham, Wiltshire; City of Bath College, Bath.

    The schools taking part in Leicestershire were: Abington High School, Wigston; Humphrey Perkins High School, Barrow-upon-Soar; Woodbrook Vale High School, Loughborough; Redmoor High School, Hinckley; Newbridge High School, Coalville; Ashby School, Ashby-de-la-Zouch; John Cleveland College, Hinckley; Bosworth College, Desford; Hind Leys Community College, Shepshed.
  2. Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place it in the top flight of UK universities; the National Student Survey ranked Loughborough equal first among full-time students; and industry highlights the University in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 40% of Loughborough’s income is for research, and 60% for teaching. The University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development; and for its outstanding work in evaluating and helping to develop social policy-related programmes.

    In 2006 Loughborough celebrates the 40th anniversary of its University Charter, awarded on 19 April 1966 in recognition of the excellence achieved by Loughborough College of Advanced Technology and its predecessor Colleges. Loughborough University of Technology was renamed Loughborough University in 1996.

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