A LEVEL CHEM LIVE In January I was given the opportunity to hear some of Britain’s top chemists speak at the “A-level Science Live: Chemistry” event at the University of Birmingham. We were given practical tips and advice on how to do well in our chemistry course through two examiner sessions which personally benefited me very much. These sessions involved revision techniques for organising your time prior to examinations up until the day of the exam. The examiner identified many misconceptions and advised us on how to avoid the common mistakes that students usually make. We listened to a series of five presentations by a variety of speakers with different areas of expertise and interests. The majority of these presentations were very interesting and taught me a lot about the world of chemistry. Professor Andrea Sella’s presentation was my favourite! He has a great passion for the “most beautiful, shimmering element of the Periodic Table” – mercury. He told the story of mercury, explaining the significance of this element not just for chemistry, but also the development of modern civilisation. Other presentations, although not as interesting, helped me rule out exactly what I don’t want to pursue in my future career! I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to attend this event and I hope there are many more to come. Huda Benrekia In January, we went to the University of Birmingham to attend “A-Level Science Live: Chemistry”. Here we listened to the different presentations of six scientists who all study different areas within chemistry. Professor Andrea Sella touched on the element mercury, the most fascinating element within the whole of the periodic table. He suggested that it was the most fascinating as it as a metal, yet can move around in a liquid state. We all thought this particular presentation was the best one; his passion for the element mercury was amazing. We also watched presentations by Dr Philip Ball who mentioned that every experiment within chemistry is simply “beautiful”. Dr Peter Wothers lectured on Atomic Orbitals and there were other presentations on Nanoparticles – and their role in our future – and an around-the-world tour of atmospheric chemistry. It was a very interesting day, and we all took important things away from it. Trepavan Gill A LEVEL PHYSICS LIVE In January, twenty Year 12 Physics students headed to the University of Birmingham to attend the “Physics Live” event, a series of lectures from high-profile physicists who all lectured on their individual specialities. Firstly, Dr Andrew Pontzen, a highly established cosmologist, spoke about galaxies, dark matter and dark energy. Then Dr Suzie Sheehy spoke about the topic of particle accelerators and their uses in industry, medicine and scientific research. A main focus was the Large Hadron Collider where a number of particles have been discovered. There are around 37,500 particle accelerators worldwide, although – in my opinion – her claim is incorrect if you consider that all oscilloscopes and “old style” TVs and computer monitors accelerate electrons! Professor Jim Al-Khalili spoke about the part played by quantum mechanics in life, and the possibility of quantum biology. Interestingly, he illustrated that quantum mechanics leads to organic chemistry which leads to biology and then ultimately life. The next topic was “What is time?” and was delivered by Dr Michael Brooks. He commented on the possibility of time travel and the theory surrounding it, most of which is supported by a lot of Einstein’s work on relativity. The final talk was given by Professor Trevor Cox who explored the physics of acoustics. He holds the Guinness record for the “longest reverberation”. Overall, the day was a great insight into more advanced physics. Examination advice was also given to students which will hopefully prove useful! Jubaer Ahmed 20