Chemistry taster day

This experience day at the University of Sheffield gives A-Level chemists a taste of what it’s like to study chemistry at the University of Sheffield.

Chemistry class
On

Be a chemistry student for the day: synthesising and analysing aspirin

When: Wednesday 1 June 2022, 10.00am - 3.45pm

Age group: Year 12 & Year 13

Special requirements: Predicted B grade A -Level in Chemistry or predicted DDD grade BTEC in science, including specific Chemistry units.

Location: On-campus

Closing date for applications: midday Sunday 8 May


Aspirin is one of the most widely sold medicines in the world, being used to treat pain and inflammation, and to prevent and treat heart attacks. The active ingredient, salicylic acid, is found in the bark of willow trees and was used to treat health problems as far back as ca. 3000-1500 BC. In the 1800’s, salicylic acid was identified, extracted, and its chemical structure determined. In 1897, Felix Hoffman, a chemist working for the German pharmaceutical company Bayer, found that esterifying salicylic acid to produce acetylsalicylic acid reduced the irritant properties of the drug. The company patented the commercial production of acetylsalicylic acid and named it ‘aspirin’.

If you’re interested to learn more about the clever ways that chemists can test and analyse their samples, join Dr Jo Buckley (Education Coordinator for the Royal Society of Chemistry) in our teaching labs to learn about synthesising and analysing aspirin.

In the morning you'll be working in the chemistry lab, undertaking practical work to synthesise aspirin. You’ll be working with one of our staff members and some of our current students, using equipment and facilities not usually available in schools and colleges. You'll prepare your own aspirin sample using a number of key chemistry techniques including reflux synthesis using quick fit apparatus, separation by vacuum filtration and recrystallisation to purify your product.

After lunch you will work with some of our dedicated analytical services staff members to characterise your aspirin samples using infrared (IR) spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Following this there will be a chance for you to find out more about being a science student at the University of Sheffield in a Q&A session with some of our current undergraduate students. A member of our Department of Chemistry admissions team will also be on hand to answer any queries you might have about studying chemistry at university.


Schedule

Please note, this is an approximate schedule and is subject to change.

Time Activity
10am Arrivals and registration
10:30am Welcome and introduction to the University
10:45am Preparation of aspirin
1:15pm Lunch
2pm Analysis of aspirin workshop
3pm 'Being a science student' Q&A
3:45pm Evaluations and depart

Apply to attend

Applications are now closed.


Contact us

For informal enquiries please email tasterdays@sheffield.ac.uk


FAQs

What is a Taster day?

Taster days provide students with a fantastic opportunity to come and visit the University of Sheffield and participate in a full day's subject specific activity delivered by current academic staff and students.

Who are Taster days aimed at?

The project is open to applications from all Y12 & Y13 students from all areas of the UK. We welcome applications from any interested students. It should be noted that as most of our courses have A Level entry requirements of no lower than BBB (or equivalent) we will be targeting students who have the potential to achieve these grades, or higher - based on predicted/expected grades.

 Any pupil from any region of the UK is considered suitable based on their academic profile.

What is the application process?

For each Taster day we require students to complete our application form which asks for (amongst other details):

  • Year group
  • School name
  • Level of study and which subjects are being studied
  • Predicted grades
  • Chosen (or likely) subject choice at university
  • Statement of no more than 250 words about why you would like to attend the Taster day

We do not accept group bookings as each place is decided on merit and desire to attend the Taster day (based on their 250 word statement).

The University of Sheffield will contact each student, usually 3 weeks before the event, to let them know if they have been successful in their application and then again with further details of the event (meeting point, itinerary, etc).

Are pupils guaranteed a place if they apply early enough?

Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee places for all applicants as each pupil must meet the minimum academic criteria in order to be eligible to participate in the day.

What happens if there are more applications than there are places available on the Taster day?

In the event that there are more applications than there are available places, the Taster day team will assess all application forms and make decisions on the most suitable candidates based on pre-determined scoring criteria.

Will you contact the pupil’s school/teacher to let them know who will be attending the Taster day?

We will not contact schools with details of any students who have been successful in gaining a place on the Taster day. This would be the responsibility of the individual attending.

Schools and school teachers may be aware of the Taster days as we regularly send details of upcoming events (including Taster days) for them to disseminate to their pupils.

How long is a Taster day?

Taster days duration can vary depending on which department is delivering them. However, timings usually mirror a school day - with a slightly later start to allow pupils from further afield to get to Sheffield in good time. A good example of an itinerary is below:

10:00 – 10:30

Arrivals and registration

10.30 – 10.45

Welcome and Introduction to Geography at Sheffield

10:45 – 12:00

Changing Places workshop: Kelham Island – whose regeneration?

12:00 – 13:00

Lunch with Sheffield Geography students

13:00 – 14:00

Our living laboratory: Sheffield and the Peak District tour

14:00 – 15:00

Laboratory practical: water from where?

15:00 – 15:30

Conclusions, Q&A and departure

What happens if a Taster day is cancelled on the day (bad weather etc)?

When your place is confirmed we will ask you to confirm your attendance and to also provide further details, for example (mobile number, emergency contact details, dietary requirements etc). If an event is cancelled we will contact students directly to let them know - either by email, or if an event is cancelled within 48 hours contact will be by phone.

Will lunch be provided?

Some departments may provide lunch, others may ask you to bring something with you, or purchase something whilst you are on campus. Either way, you will be given all the appropriate details in your confirmation and follow emails prior to the event.

Can pupils book onto more than one Taster day?

Yes. Pupils can register for as many Taster days as they want to. However, in order to be selected they must meet minimum academic criteria. We would also expect that pupils would have a genuine interest in studying (or potentially studying) the subject at University. For example, we would not prioritise applications from pupils applying to come on a Chemistry Taster day who wish to study Medicine at university. In this instance the stronger applications would be from those who state their subject choice at university to be Chemistry, or a Chemistry related subject.

What if I don’t know what I want to study at university?

We fully appreciate that not all students will know exactly what they want to study yet. However, pupils should be able to demonstrate fully in the 250 word statement why they are interested in attending a specific Taster day. Which will then help us understand their reasoning for wanting to attend.

Can school groups book on to Taster days?

We take bookings from individuals as opposed to school groups and we would expect that each application form is completed by the pupil and not their teacher. It is often the case that there may be several pupils from the same school on the same Taster day, but each would have completed the application form separately.

Can I contact anybody to find out more about Taster days generally?

Of course. Please feel free to contact the team via email tasterdays@sheffield.ac.uk or by phone 0114 2222 9872.

What do I need to bring on the day?

We will contact you by email closer to the time, to let you know what you need to bring on the day for your particular session.

How do I get to Sheffield?

Maps and travel information can be found here. Sheffield and the University have excellent public transport links, and we encourage visitors to take advantage of these wherever possible. The University has a tram stop, is a twenty-minute walk from Sheffield train station, and is well served by the local bus network.

Where can I park?

We recommend that visitors use the Q Park at Durham Road. The Students' Union building is visible to your right as you exit the car park. Explore details of other car parking options.

I am a blue badge holder and will be travelling to the university by car. Where can I park?

We recommend using one of the 32 blue-badge parking spaces available in the Q Park at Durham Road. An additional 20 blue-badge parking spaces are available in the Q park at Rockingham Street. Alternatively, you can park in any of the blue badge bays available on campus.

Do you have disabled access?

All our venues have disabled access. If you have any accessibility or additional support requirements to facilitate your full participation in the event, please detail these on the booking form. If you require any assistance on the day, our staff and student ambassadors are there to help. Our Disability and Dyslexia Support Service can also offer further advice on the support that will be available during your studies at Sheffield.

I am travelling to Sheffield by train. How do I get to the University from the station?

Sheffield Railway Station is situated approximately a mile and a half away from the University of Sheffield. It is advisable to catch either a tram or a bus to the campus. 

Trams run directly from the station to the University every 12 minutes. You need to catch the blue line heading towards Malin Bridge and get off at the University of Sheffield tram stop. The journey time is approximately nine minutes. 

The main University of Sheffield campus is easily accessible by public transport. From the transport Interchange (opposite the station), a range of buses go to and from this area, including the 30, 120, 123, 51 and 52 and all pass by the University. 

Alternatively, a taxi from the station will cost around £5. 

What Covid mitigations are in place?

In line with government guidance, many of the controls that were previously required have now been removed, enabling us to return to a much more familiar campus environment. However, the safety and wellbeing of our community remains our utmost priority.

We are therefore continuing to encourage all campus-users to continue washing or sanitising hands regularly, and to stay at home if they feel unwell (see question below re covid symptoms). Ventilation systems are still supplying the maximum amount of fresh air possible to buildings, and our heightened cleaning regime and touchpoint cleaning will continue, in line with government guidance.

Do I need to wear a face covering?

Face coverings are no longer legally required anywhere on campus. However, please respect others’ choices to wear face coverings.

What if I start to experience Covid symptoms?

While you’re no longer required to self-isolate if you have Covid-19, the government advises that you should try to stay at home and away from others if you have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), or have symptoms of COVID-19. If you begin to experience any of these symptoms during your visit, please self-isolate in line with these government guidelines, and leave campus immediately.

What is the University doing to keep the community safe from Covid-19?

You can read more information about this on our webpages here.

Explore the University

Discover what sets Sheffield apart at our next on-campus open day.