On Wednesday 3 April, our 6.2 Chemists were treated to a visit from Tracy McGhie and her colleagues from the University of Leicester to experience the amazing Spectroscopy in a Suitcase.
The scene was a set as a murder mystery, and the students had to analyse certain powders found at the scene of a crime to see if they could catch the murderer. The students had a recap of their spectroscopy lessons and were then ready to use the equipment.
To give an idea of the equipment they used, the Infrared spectrometer, which was able to identify specific functional groups in a compound, is about £17,000 to purchase and the Mass Spectrometer is around half a million pounds!
The students ran through their range of samples to identify the compounds using a set of reference tables. In order to catch the killer, the students had to analyse both Infrared and Mass Spectroscopy spectra they had run themselves, alongside information taken from the crime scene, and use these to come to a valid conclusion based on their evidence. The students found this invaluable as this is what they will be asked to do in their upcoming exams. After the killer had been identified, the students got to analyse their own aspirin samples they had made with Mrs Flanagan earlier in the school year during a required practical.
We are so fortunate to be able to offer this opportunity to our students, and would like to thank the University of Leicester, in conjunction with the Royal Society of Chemistry, for their time.
To view photos from the session, please click here