Thursday, 1 May 2014

Great chemistry with scientists in Parliament

I met the first scientist ever to be allowed to carry out explosive chemistry experiments in the House of Commons at an event held by the Royal Society of Chemistry in Parliament on Wednesday 30 April to promote chemistry as subject.

The representatives from the learned society talked about the importance of scientific research to the UK economy and Hyndburn and take part in some loud and colourful chemistry experiments performed by Dr Hal Sosabowski from the University of Brighton. TV scientist Dr Sosabowski launched UNESCO's International Year of Chemistry at the Houses of Parliament with a show of chemistry demonstrations in 2011.

It was fascinating to see the various whizzes and bangs of chemistry first-hand as Dr Sosabowski showed off the science behind glow sticks, a liquid nitrogen shower and a flaming methane mamba of soap bubbles. But behind the colourful chemicals and exciting explosions the event was an opportunity to discuss the need for a long-term strategy for UK science funding to drive economic growth and create jobs.

The chemistry demonstrations were very impressive – lots of different colours, flames and clouds of liquid nitrogen. It was really interesting to hear about how science can help our economic recovery and create jobs.

The Royal Society of Chemistry's President, Professor Lesley Yellowlees, said: "Britain is a world leader in science. The chemical sector alone sustains 500,000 jobs across the country. But over the last decades public investment in scientific research has fallen behind our international competitors. We want to see a commitment from all sides of the debate to increase total government investment in research in the long-term to set Britain back on the path to science-fuelled growth."


The Royal Society of Chemistry is the world's leading chemistry community, advancing excellence in the chemical sciences. With over 48,000 members and a knowledge business that spans the globe, we are the UK's professional body for chemical scientists; a not-for-profit organisation with 170 years of history and an international vision of the future. We promote, support and celebrate chemistry. We work to shape the future of the chemical sciences – for the benefit of science and humanity.

Professor Hal Sosabowski holds a Chair in the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Brighton. He was the first scientist ever to be allowed to do explosive demonstrations in the House of Commons in in 2011. He has a BSc and PhD in chemistry from the University of London and an MBA and MA (Marketing) from the University of Brighton. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, twice awarded the University of Brighton Teaching Excellence Award and thrice the University of Brighton Innovation Award. He was made the 2005 Higher Education Academy Teaching Fellow and awarded the 2008 Royal Society of Chemistry Award for Outstanding Contribution to Chemistry.