Careers Fair – Wednesday 8th November

The University of Brighton is holding its annual careers fair on wednesday 8th November at the Amex Stadium, Falmer 11 am – 3pm..

Many employers will be there alongside guidance on options for further study and for improving your chances of getting that job.

More information can be found on the university careers fair website, including a full list of exhibitors at the fair.

Of interest to chemists might be BMW, where we have had students attend placements in the last few years, CGG a geosciences company, NHS scientist training, Roche Diagnostics, Southern Water and postgraduate education information (including PGCE).

New LinkedIn group for chemistry & PCS alumni

We have just set up a group on LinkedIn so graduates can keep in touch with us and each other and network with other graduates to share experiences, jobs, and memories of their time here. If you are a graduate of Chemistry (BSc, MChem & MRes) or Pharmaceutical & Chemical Sciences please come and join us. It would be fantastic to hear what you’re up to now and to keep in touch

PhD Studentship at UoB

An opportunity to undertake a funded PhD at the University of Brighton is now available. Details of the projct and how to apply are available at the UoB website

Reducing chaos and improving yield: an innovative approach to maximising the efficiency of biofuel production

Project in brief

Microbial fermentations (eg. those used in biofuel production) are often relatively inefficient. The products of the fermentation are often harmful to the microbes. In the case of ethanol (and other alcohols) this toxicity results from generalised effects on biomolecules and systems rather than specific inhibition of a single process. In this project, the student will test recently advocated hypotheses that propose that the reduction of chaotropic effects in fermentations will reduce energy use and increase the efficiency of the process.

Project supervisors

Lead: Prof David Timson
Second: Dr Marcus Dymond

Other collaborators

Dr John E Hallsworth – Queen’s University, Belfast

Open Day

img_0191We’re here and ready to welcome potential applicants and show them what we do here at chemistry@brighton.

Here is one of our student ambassdors to tell you what it’s like to be a chemistry student at Brighton.

“There is a really inclusive feel to Chemistry at Brighton, which made me feel instantly welcomed. All the staff offer guidance whether that’s in academics or general advice. There are plenty oppurtunities from developing practical skills in high-spec laboratories to completing a placement in industry. The overall experience has given me a great foundation for my future.”

Charlotte Sarmouk (Final Year)

Pimp your lab coat!

Radleys, a UK leader in scientific glassware and chemistry equipment has a competition you might be interested in, giving you the opportunity to win your design custom printed onto a lab coat.

Fed up with the same old plain, boring lab coat? Well, as part of Radleys 50th anniversary celebrations, we want to see your lab coat designs!

We’re looking for unique and creative designs and our favourite ones will win a personalised lab coat, or set of team lab coats, specially customised with their name, or team name.

For more details see their competition page

Job alerts

Here at chemistry@brighton we often get notification of job, PhD and volunteering opportunities suitable for our chemistry students and graduates. We have now set up a page on this blog to put the details on and will post to alert you to new items. Subscribe to our blog now to ensure you don’t miss out on what could be an exciting opportunity.

If you are an employer, or have a PhD position available and would like it to appear on our blog then please contact us.

undergraduate research

One of the great things about the chemistry courses at Brighton is the opportunity to do some real research in the third and fourth years. Students get a full day a week plus an intensive full week in the lab during the year allowing them to really get to grips with some novel chemistry. Quite frequently those students will help obtain data which is written into a research article. This year one of our final year students was given an idea and some guidance from her supervisor and turned that into a successful project of her ideas. This has now been accepted and will soon be published as a paper in Analytical Biochemistry.

So today we’ve handed over the rest of the blog to Jelena to tell us a little about her project.

Jelena Pisaruka

My final year project module was the most interesting piece of work that I had to do during my degree. I felt very independent and was able to share my own ideas with my supervisor – Dr. Dymond, but at the same time had regular meetings, helpful advice and support from him during the whole year. From the great variety of themes available for the final year project I have chosen one from physical chemistry – Miniaturized chemistry: 3D printed temperature controlled cuvette for UV/vis chemical processes. It was very interesting for me because 3D printing technique is relatively new and I never had a chance to use a 3D printer in my life before. Although 3D printers are used in different sectors already, it is new in chemistry and at the beginning I was worried that my project is more related to design or engineering and had not enough chemistry in it. But everything worked out and a paper was written based on my final year project and will be published shortly. 

The aim of my project was to design, print and test a cuvette with a temperature control system in aim for studying temperature dependent reactions. To achieve my goal I had to break it into smaller steps. The first part was to design the cuvette using Autodesk 123D software. It is design software that I have never used before so it took some time to learn how to do it. After the final design was done I have printed the cuvette using 3D printed and 2 different materials for comparison. The next step was to test the cuvette for any leakages and prepare it for the UV/spectrometer testing and finally test if the cuvette performs well for the temperature dependent reactions analysis. Of course, at every stage of the project I had different problems and had to do changes to my work to achieve the best performance of the cuvette. For example, for a very long time I could not solve the leakage problem and had to change my design, printing parameters and come up with new ideas how to prevent the leakage but all the problems were solved and final aim was achieved.

From the final year project I have gained confidence in myself and understood that I can apply my theoretical knowledge in chemistry in real life to solve problems. I also improved my presentation skills because I had to present my work to the university staff. And finally I have learned how to listen to other people’s advice and take criticism without taking it personally. All these experience will help me in my further studies because I am doing masters degree next year and in my future career.

IMG_9315 cuvette CAD

We’d like to wish Jelena every success with her Master’s course and congratulate her on her results and on having a paper published from her work.

 

Edit: You can download Jelena’s paper for free until 14th September

Why Brighton?

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Second guest slot on our blog is from MChem student Lorraine Amponsah who is currently on placement with BMW. Here she tells us how her studies at Brighton have helped her during her placement.

It has to be agreed that the University of Brighton’s unique selling point is its emphasis on the practical and analytical aspects of Chemistry – putting it simply: the course provides you with the skills and knowledge “that matter”, and are necessary for employment within the chemical industries. In many ways, my placement at the BMW Hams Halls Laboratory, as a Chemist, has consolidated much of the theory knowledge and practical skills that I acquired during the course of my degree.

On enrolling on MChem Chemistry, I was given the option to select either Biochemistry or Geochemistry as the theme to which would underpin my degree. Opting for the latter resulted in me undertaking the 2nd year module “Soil and Water Analysis”. Admittedly, at the time I struggled to understand the significance of water testing methods – “soil and water”, and “chemistry”? What was the correlation?
Excessive rainfall increases the risk of stored diesel, petrol and glycol leaching into the ground waters, and the surrounding environment; as such, BMW Chemists regularly carry COD (chemical oxygen demand) tests on site-water samples and trade effluent samples – the very same technique I had been introduced to during my “Soil and Water Analysis” laboratory sessions at university.

My efforts in completing the ‘Analytical Chemistry’ assignments have paid off in untold amounts. My sound understanding of validation parameters (reliability, precision, accuracy, specificity, ruggedness etc.) – gained as a result of the assigned ‘Validation Proposal’ analytical project – enabled me to strategically plan, and execute a series of laboratory experiments which resulted in the development of an alternative, more cost effective method of determining ‘oil content in machining coolants’ – a method soon to be shared with the BMW Chemistry teams in Germany, China, South Africa and the USA.
​It wasn’t so long ago that I and my classmates nervously tried our hand at analysing the calcium content of ‘infant formula’ by MP-AES, supervised by a chemistry demonstrator; but now, 12 months on, I can independently, and confidently analyse waste water samples for dissolved metals, using that very same analytical instrument!

There is the unfortunate scenario, that on testing, an engine malfunctions and explodes – and what a sight it is! On being provided with a sample of oil extracted from the engine, it is my job as a chemist to play “detective”. Using gravimetric analysis (as taught in first year) I am first able to ‘reveal’ any contaminants collected on the filter paper, and it is then through the employment of FTIR analysis that I am able identify the contaminant based on its produced spectra (an extension of the Physical Chemistry practical undertaken in 2nd year).

I could draw many parallels between chemistry course material, and real-world industry, but I’m sure you get the picture!

Now aware of the industrial-relevance of my course, I’ll return to complete my undergraduate studies with more focus and a greater sense of direction, safe within the knowledge that whichever chemical field I eventually choose to pursue – be it in automotive manufacture, oil & gas or materials research – my Chemistry degree at Brighton will have provided me with the skills necessary for me to excel.

Life as a Student Rep

Today we have a guest writer for our blog, BSc(hons) Chemistry student Sophie Wain. Sophie has been the student year rep for two years running now and is heavily involved with ChemSoc, our chemistry student social group, having become vice-president this year. She is just about to embark on a year placement with BMW but has given us an insight into her role as a student rep before she goes.

sophie

I opted for the post of Course Representative in first year, feeling that there were changes I could make to my environment at the university and wanting to have an active role in doing so. Through working as a conduit between the staff and students, I brought about changes particularly in increasing interpersonal activities between the students – changes that could be seen the following year in the new freshman cohort, in which there was a much friendlier and close-knit relationship between the students.

Taking this role of responsibility gave me a taste for making a difference and through it I became much more confident in my leadership abilities. I took on another leadership role when the Chemistry Society was rekindled midway through my first year, and by second year I held the position of Vice President. I continued as Course Representative into second year and intend to resume my role again in third year after I have completed my placement year as an analytical chemist with luxury car manufacturer BMW, a position I believe that my active role in university helped me gain the skills to achieve.

We hope she enjoys her placement year and look forward to hearing more about it once she’s settled in.

 

Salters’ Festival of Chemistry

This week we once again played host to the Salters Festival of Chemistry. This is an annual event which brings together schools from all over East and West Sussex and some in Surrey and Kent as well.

They had an entertaining day starting with an introduction to chemistry and Brighton and where chemistry can take you. Then it was on to the first practical activity, The Salters’ Challenge. This was a murder mystery where the pupils used our laboratories and equipment to idenitfy some unknown substances and nail the suspect. Some great forensic sleuthing from all involved!

After lunch was the University Challenge (not the quiz show!). This involved identifying functional groups and testing chemicals to produce a spectrum of colour. Then both pupils and their teachers were treated to a Chemical Magic show from our very own Professor Hal Sosabowski.

Final part of the day was the prizegiving. All of the schools performed very well and there were some tough decsions for the judges. Final results were:

Salters’ Challenge University Challenge
1st Farlington School, Horsham Brighton College, Brighton
2nd The Hawthorns School, Bletchingley Christ’s Hospital School, Horsham
3rd Priory School, Lewes Lavant House, Chichester

We hope everyone that came enjoyed their day and saw how exciting university chemistry can be. Thanks to all of our staff involved with the day and for the schools for being so keen and enthusiastic. We’ll see you next year!