We had eleven demonstrations running concurrently at Challney High School for Girls last Thursday and this perimitted most demonstrators to have a break during which they were able to see their colleagues in action.  The day was a great success, the girls asked intelligent questions and the Head of Science has asked me to book next year’s Chemistry at Work day again, as soon as possible. All the demonstrators were experienced, some having participated regularly for ten years or more!

The demonstrations  involved:

  1. Active Luton – Healthy Pools for a Health Swim
  2. Anglian Water – Pure Water
  3. Bedfordshire Police – Police Chemistry
  4. Bluefield Centre – Poisons & How They Work
  5. BRE – Fire and Buildings
  6. Bugs & Beasties – Earth Worms
  7. Chartered Civil Engineer – Roads & Potholes
  8. Mid-Bucks Beekeepers – The Honey Bees
  9. Proctor & Gamble – Hair Styling and Gel Fiormation
  10. Research Chemist– Discovering Medicines
  11. Steve Bainbridge – Asbestos Proection but Dangerous Dust
    The reserve was Paramagnetism and the Chemistry of Fire from EBA

I am doing all I can to get through the RSC’s sudden recent funding changes. Any more suggestions of possible funders are welcome.

With my grateful thanks to all the demonstrators.

Derek Jones
Event Organiser


If any Chemistry at Work Organisers are seeking a demonstration and I am available I would be happy to help. I would only ask that the organiser find a demonstrator for my events in return. If I cannot help I could recommend potential contacts.

I can engage the students with a 30 to 45 minute demonstration on Paramagnetism and the Chemistry of Fire – this is often a surprise to the teachers too and the students find out for themselves how I personally conducted some simple practical research and where it led. It is suitable for students in Years 6 to 10 and I have conducted a modified version with the Infants.

I am only too aware of the complications of a demonstrator pulling out at the last minute so would be prepared to be on standby in case needed.

If you are interested, I would be happy to discuss the new RSC funding for events.

You are welcome to contact me.

Derek Jones


We welcomed a new demonstrator, Corrine Kay, a Research Chemist whose Teacher Training College kindly gave permission for her to attend as the experience of working with the students was very relevant to her course.

Once again the day went well, though the before the start there were some quick changes needed due to some demonstrators reporting in sick and being unable to attend! This meant the usual “Demonstrator Break” which I organise was lost and everyone kept going to the end. Also, I delivered one of the demonstrations myself which, as usual, was an enjoyable experience. The students were very interested and some surprised me with their knowledge of science. I prefer to be free to oversee the running of the event I have organised but it is a tribute to the demonstrators that all ran smoothly. My thanks go also to the Science Staff who are always very supportive.

The school are asking to host the event again in 2018.

Derek Jones

Once again the Chemistry at Work event was will received by AGS Year 8 boys and the staff and the demonstrators were very impressed by the boys’ level of interest and the standard of their questions.

Brian Halvorsen, who is a dentist, demonstrated the changing electrical potential in the mouth as we try different drinks and explained its importance in the chemistry of the mouth.

Jim Stevens, who is a chartered engineer, explained the chemical causes of potholes in roads and how he had to represented the local town council at government level over the effects of the massive construction traffic expected for building the local section of the HS2 railway line.

Tom Cracknell, Regulation Coordinator at Didcot Power Station, demonstrated, with the aid of a small steam engine, how electricity is generated and then give  students a chance to feel the different loading forces on the grid created the different types of lights from standard filament bults to leds.

Plus many other demonstrations.

It was a great day once again.

Derek Jones, Event Organiser.