Staff and students from across Outreach, Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies and Faculty of Science joined forces with neurodiverse learners to celebrate Chemistry Week 2023.
Chemistry Week is an annual celebration of chemical sciences across the UK that takes place every November.
Chemistry making the world a better place
To support this year’s theme of ‘Chemistry making the world a better place’, staff from across the institution worked with neuro diverse learners to celebrate the contribution they as ‘Unsung Heroes’ make to improving the world we live in.
Learners were introduced to the story of Rosalind Franklin: a leading chemist whose work was pivotally important to uncovering the structure of DNA, the very essence of human kind. Rosalind was herself an ‘Unsung Hero’ because her work went largely unrecognised, while two male scientists were awarded a Nobel Prize for this discovery.
Through science and arts workshops delivered at West Lancashire Community High School the young people also learnt about chemistry in the world around them, completing a DNA extraction from fruit samples through practical chemistry. Through art and creative writing activities, the learners explored their interests and influences, and celebrated their own identity as ‘Unsung Heroes’ and unique individuals. An exhibition of the work was held in the Student Life Building.
LJMU Drama students then delivered a stellar performance of ‘51st Photo’, a theatre piece they developed examining the story of Rosalind Franklin and her determination to believe in herself and the value of her work.
The ‘Unsung Heroes’ project involved the collaboration of LJMU colleagues and students from across the university in collaboration with the Absolute Chemistry Research Group and formed part of LJMU’s Place and Partnership activities.
Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Laura Bishop, Faculty of Science, said:
“This was a truly inspiring and creative event which captured the imagination of the young learners from West Lancashire Community High School. Their enthusiasm for science was really enhanced by the event and the other activities of the Absolute Chemistry Team. It was brilliant to see such excellent and inclusive practice bringing together the best of arts and science.”