Logo of the chemsitry department magazine Resonance


Welcome to Resonance, the University of Sheffield department of chemistry’s student-run magazine.

All cover pagesResonance is the Chemistry Department's glossy magazine, designed and edited by a team of undergraduate and postgraduate students with full editorial control. In addition, almost all articles written are researched and written by the students as well.

The principal focus of the magazine is to disseminate chemistry news from the department as well as the wider world to students and a general audience. Resonance focusses on interesting aspects of chemistry often overlooked in the world around us as well as on interviews with various academic members of staff about their research, putting it in a spotlight not often available in undergraduate lectures. Most importantly, it gives our students the opportunity to communicate the evolving world of science to a wider audience, which is the cornerstone of scientific progression.

Two issues are released a year, targeting Autumn and Spring each year. Six issues have been published and the seventh is currently in production. All published issues can be found in the tab above with links to download on the right-hand side.

If you would like to contribute in any way to upcoming issues or want to follow us on social media, look out for our emails in the future and follow us:

Facebook:  @resonancenews
Twitter:      @Resonance_Sheff

Email:         chem-news@sheffield.ac.uk


Here you can find all of the previous editions of Resonance. They can be viewed in full, or downloaded from the links to the right.

Issue 11

Resonance 11Autumn 2019

Editor: Josh Nicks

This issue will discuss all things fauna, as we focus on how chemistry plays a vital role in the lives of animals. From the seen to the very much unseen, James Shipp has written an insightful article on the chemistry of bioluminescence, while Freya Cleasby tells us about how animals use chemistry to camouflage themselves. The science is not always how it seems, as Jenny Train explains in an article on the phenomenon of magnetoreception in animals across the world.

Much has happened in the Department of Chemistry since the last issue was released, and it is all covered in our News section. There have been many awards and prizes for our teaching staff, our postgraduate researchers, and our undergraduate students alike.

Read online

Issue 9

Resonance: Issue 9Autumn 2018

Editor: Josh Nicks

This issue is somewhat oxymoronic, in that its focus is actually incredibly vague when you think about it - carbon. Carbon is all around us: in the air we breathe, the clothes we wear, the things we eat and even our very muscles and organs. It is also fundamental to the field of chemistry, so much so that organic chemistry is based almost solely on the study of its molecular compounds.

This issue aims to bring to light some interesting stories involving carbon, from a supposedly cursed diamond, to a nanomaterial deemed to be the solution to a cacophony of materials chemistry problems. Aside from this, we have an interview with our new Head of Department, Prof. Graham Leggett, detailing his plans for the Department’s future. Of course, these plans are likely to include the new laser lab opened by Prof. Weinstein, whom Abbie Sinclair and James Shipp interviewed for details.

Issue 8


Spring 2018

Editor: Josh Nicks and James Shipp

This is now the eighth issue of Resonance, with a new pair of editors and a new batch of authors, but its purpose of communicating interesting, important science and the news of our department remains.

This issue boasts a breadth of topics; ranging from nanobots and their diagnostic potential by a local college student, Imogen Holmes, to an in-depth interview with our new Head of Department by our ex-design editor and recent employee of science communication  firm Notch Communications, Joe Clarke. 2017 is brought to a close by Zoe Smallwood, with a reflection on the many distinguished achievements of our department last year, while Hannah Winter delves into the chemistry of our minds and why certain scents can trigger such happy memories.

Issue 7

Autumn 2017

Editor: Beth Crowston

Cover of the seventh issue of resonanceThe seventh issue of resonance focuses on chemistry in literature. Featured articles include an examination of the chemistry behind the poison used in the Agatha Christie novel “Mysterious Affair at Styles”; how chemistry can explain some of the magical affects observed in the Harry Potter universe; and a discussion of forensic science.

The second part of the history of the department addresses the question of what happened to lecture theatres 2-5. We also find out the wide variety of compounds in a bar of chocolate. Emeritus Professor Charles Stirling is interviewed about his lifetime experiences. We also report our first opinion piece discussing some of the differences between science and faith. The element of focus in the Elemental Factfile is Iridium.

Departmental News features several short articles about some of the important news stories over the past year from across the department including: Zoe Smallwood and the Resonance team meeting Helen Sharman after her honorary graduation award; recent academic awards; the annual outreach Kroto Day; and the results of the recent Instagram competitions.

Issue 6

The cover for the sixth issue of Resonance.Spring 2016

Editor: Beth Crowston

The focus of this issue is on Supramolecular chemistry. The 2016 Nobel-Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Jean-Pierre Sauvage and Ben Feringa, and previous lecturer at the department, Sir Fraser Stoddart. The research behind the accolade and the legacy of researching supramolecular chemistry in the Thomas and Ward groups is detailed. Sir Stoddart is also the focus of the new segment on Famous alumni of the department.

This issue also features the first of a two part special focusing on the history of the department. The history of the Dainton building and its construction is the main focus of this part. Featured articles also highlight the science behind the instrumentation on board the Mars rover Curiosity as well as the possibility of extra-terrestrial life. The recent guest lecturers are also discussed. The first, headlined by Prof. Chick Wilson discussed the changing face of chemical research, and the second headlined by Prof. Brad Gibson discussed the plausibility of extra-terrestrial life.

New members of academic staff were interviewed to understand their motives for joining the department and what research they are interested in. In Nanjing news, one of the students on the 3+1 joint degree detailed her experiences living in Sheffield. The element of focus in the Elemental Factfile section this issue is Iron.

Useful Links from Articles

Nobel Prize: Extra information on the Nobel Prize award can be found here.
Iron: Further information on iron can be found from the RSC and WebElements.
History of the University: The University of Sheffield history can be found here.
Curiosity Mars Rover: An overview of the Mars mission can be found here.

Issue 5

resonance 5October 2016

Editor: Zoe Smallwood

The theme of the fifth issue of Resonance is famous alumni, and features interviews with Helen Sharman, the first Briton in space, and table-tennis Paralympian David Wetherill, both of whom studied in the department. It also comemorates our alumnuSir Harry Kroto, Nobel prize winning laureate, who sadly passed away earlier this year.

In departmental news, the joint degree with Nanjing Tech is explored with interviews from the Graduate Teaching Assistants discussing their experiences teaching in China.

Paralympian Dave Wetherill, Astronaut Helen Sharman and Prof. Sir Harry Kroto

A recent guest Chemsoc lecture, given by Dr Parker, discussing the science behind flavour is also reviewed. In this issue the element discussed in the Elemental Factfile is Molybdenum.

This issue’s scientific articles detail the chemistry behind the rise of a cake, the taste of coffee, and finally topical issues surrounding sports. In particular, performance enhancing drugs and how science is advancing athletic performance. Furthermore, the science behind fireworks, volcanoes and the changing colour of leaves are also investigated.

Useful Links from Articles

Fireworks: Extra information on pyrotechnics can be found here and on pyrotechnic combustion here.
Volcanic Chemistry: Further information on the types of igneous rock can be found here and the mythology of volcanoes here.
Nanjing Joint Degree: An article written by Dr Jamie Wright can be found here.
In Memoriam Prof. Sir Harry Kroto: Prof. Sir Harry Kroto's biographical can be found here.
Sleeping Stem Cells: Further information on the stem cell research can be found here.
Dave Wetherill: Read more about Dave's Paralympic journey here.

Issue 4

Cover for the 4th issue of ResonanceFebruary 2016

Editor: Zoe Smallwood

The fourth issue of Resonance included topics focusing on the modules of students as well as the common wider chemically important articles. The Skills for Success project, from which Resonance began, is discussed. In addition, chemistry as part of the role of science in political policy is discussed with links to the doctoral development program.

In the wider picture, the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry is discussed, awarded for unravelling the mechanism of DNA repair. Articles also provide a brief introduction into the chemistry behind fizzy drinks and romance. The element discussed in this issue's Elemental Factfile is Thorium.

In departmental news, an interview with Jim Thomas provides insight into the interesting work performed on the chemistry and biology interface. Finally, the use of the environmentally friendly “Findensers” in fume cupboards and the benefit to the department is detailed.

Useful Links from Articles

Fizzy Drinks: The BDSA annual report can be found here and the action on salt found here.
Science in Policy: If you are interested further information can be found on the Science in Policy Sheffield webpage.

Issue 3

Cover for the 3rd issue of ResonanceApril 2015

Editor: Jenna Spencer-Briggs

The third issue of Resonance saw discussions of a wide range of chemistry news. The Nobel Prize for the Development of Super-Resolved Fluorescence Microscopy was discussed. A short history of the development of the periodic table of elements was explored with a new feature, "Elemental Factfile", exploring the history of elements. In this issue an in-depth look at Mercury.

Resonance team for issue 3

Departmental news saw publication success for both Dr. Sarah Staniland and Prof. Steve Armes and included interviews welcoming Dr. Seb Spain to the department as well as Prof. Mike Ward on his appointment to Head of Department.

In addition, feature articles discussed the outreach in the Faculty of Science as a method for public engagement and demonstration in science. The department's link with the Nanjing Tech University was also explored and some of the visiting students from Nanjing were interviewed. Finally, both the techniques of spectroscopy in space and expansion microscopy were discussed.

Useful Links from Articles

Chemistry Nobel Prize: Further information can be found from the Nobel Prize press release.

Issue 2

Cover for the 2nd issue of ResonanceOctober 2014

Editor: Alex Stockham

The second issue of Resonance featured several articles discussing the chemistry in the world around us, focusing on: the process of Ale brewing; the university’s attempt to reduce atmospheric emissions using poetry and nanoparticles of titanium dioxide; and finally, geoscientists have found evidence for the theory of how the moon separated from the earth.

Furthermore, have you ever wondered what happens to the broken glassware from the department? An interview with the glassblower provided an insight into the processes involved in glass repairs.

The chemistry department's glassblower and poster that photocatalyses the removal of emissions

In other chemistry-related news, the conformation of element 117 and other isotopes is also discussed.

An interview with University Teacher and Head of Undergraduate Laboratories, Ed Warminski, discussed, amongst other things, his recent Senate teaching award. The Resonance team also gave recommendations on chemistry apps and other scientific media.

Useful Links From Articles

SciCommSoc 'Women in STEM': The video from SciCommSoc can be found here.

Issue 1

Resonance Issue 1 Cover pageMarch 2014

Editor: Alex Stockham

The first issue of Resonance focused on the diversity of the department, in particular, the representation of women in the academic community and in the wider scientific community. In addition, the importance of international relationships and connectivity for scientific progression was discussed.

Articles also discussed the outreach programs of the department as well as the steps taken by the technicians to reduce the department's environmental impact. In departmental news, interviews with Patrick Fowler, discussing his research, and Jenny Burnham, discussing her role as a Senior University Teacher. The Outreach programme as well as reviews of the recent ChemSoc lectures are also featured.


Resonance team for Issue 1Resonance originally started as a “Skills for Success” project back in 2012. The idea, organised by Dr Simon Jones, was for a collection of student-run articles that bridged the gap between academic research and undergraduates, while giving students the creative freedom to communicate the science that interests them. The resounding positive response from both students and faculty lead to the eventual publication of the first issue under the directional guidance of editor Alex Stockham (BSc 2010-2013).

Popular on its initial release, a second issue was planned and published in October 2014. By this time Alex had graduated and was pursuing a career in science communication.

Further issues followed with postgraduate researchers Jenna Spencer-Briggs (issue 3) and most recently Zoe Smallwood (issues 4 and 5) taking charge of the editorial process. The magazine has changed over the years with each editor contributing their own unique input to the design process.

Now Resonance is established as a feature of the department and is released twice a year. Issue 6, released in spring 2017, was headed by postgraduate researcher Beth Crowston. Attention and efforts now draw onto further issues and the lasting legacy of Resonance.