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Several scientists spoke on the topic of chemistry and Covid-19, describing the science behind LFDs and chemistry’s contribution to making vaccines more accessible and thereby reducing health inequalities. It was compelling to hear about an all-too-familiar topic from a new, entirely scientific angle, and learn about the development of the technologies shaping the pandemic. The talks were very engaging with quizzes and demonstrations, such as one where we saw carbon dioxide in all three of its phases. It was a great way to expand what we have learnt in the classroom in the context of real-life applications, such as how certain drugs are used to protect against malaria; using hydrogels to grow stem cells to engineer tissues; and also, how a chemical in toothpaste can be used to purify drinking water.
They allowed us to see how chemistry surrounds us in nature from the forces that allow geckos to walk on walls, to how the nanostructure of lotus flowers allow its petals to repel water, to how ice floats on water (a unique phenomenon). Through their incredibly different areas of interest, these scientists introduced us to chemistry’s versatility, demonstrating how careers in the subject can explore the intersection between different sciences, such as immunology, nanotechnology, and material science. It was fascinating to see all the different, equally exciting avenues that chemistry can lead to, inspiring many of us to think more deeply about a career in the subject!
A big thank you to the Chemistry department for organising such a fun and inspiring day for us.
Ciara and Bella (VII)