Keys for the Department of Chemistry’s new Teaching Laboratories have been handed over as they prepare to open the new labs for students in Michaelmas Term. Designed by architects Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp and built by ISG, the two main labs are spread over two floors, each with space for up to 100 students. There is also a large seminar room equipped with the latest audio-visual equipment, write-up areas and a bright and welcoming reception area.
Each floor has its own dedicated prep room and across the corridor from the second and third year lab is a large furnace room and analytical suite which will house over £2M worth of equipment for undergraduate use. As well as a brand new multinuclear NMR spectrometer, the labs will be equipped with three gas chromatographs, an HPLC set up for analysing chiral compounds, a TLC-mass spec, ICP/MS, Flame AA and of course the usual array of FT-IR and UV-Vis spectrometers. Chemistry undergraduates will be some of the first in the UK to use the new generation of bench-top NMR spectrometers.
New chemistry undergraduates arriving in Michaelmas Term will begin a fully-integrated practical course designed to equip students with all the skills they need for 21st century chemistry. Led by the Chemistry Practical Course Committee, chaired by Professor Claire Vallance, a team of developers has been working on novel experiments for the unique integrated course. With the new building comes a new team, headed by Dr Malcolm Stewart, Director of Teaching Laboratories. Four newly-created posts of Departmental Lecturers in Practical Teaching and the appointment of a new Schools Liaison and Outreach Officer will help make best use of the improved facilities – introducing the delights of chemistry to a wider audience and encouraging the brightest and best school students from all backgrounds to study chemistry.
Professor Mark Brouard, Head of Department, says: ‘The Chemistry Teaching Labs will enable us to provide the very best educational experience for Chemistry undergraduates, facilitating cutting-edge new interdisciplinary experiments that mirror the collaborative nature of our research programmes. I am grateful to all those whose dedication and commitment has made this possible, and delighted that students will be able to benefit from this state-of-the-art facility for years to come.’
See a selection of building handover photographs from July 2018.