Previous Events 2012

A list of previous events held in the Thames Valley local section in 2012.


Top of the Bench 2012, Thames Valley Heats (6th December 2012)

The year's local section heats for the Top of the Bench competition was held at the Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory, Oxford.  

The competition is aimed at 14-16 year olds, who form teams of 4 comprising 2x Year 9 students, 1x Year 10, and 1x Year 11. 

The challenge was to construct a chemical timing device to switch off a torch bulb at a specified time (4:00:00 PM), as set out in the instructions (in the attached file). All teams successfully completed the experiment to construct a chemical based timing device, the best three being within one minute of the target time!  The afternoon proved a valuable team-building exercise for the different Years taking part.

The results were:

  • 1st place:  Wallingford School, 3:59:30 PM,
  • 2nd place:  Abingdon School, 3:59:15 PM,
  • 3rd place:  Wellington College, 4:00:50 PM. 

Top of the Bench 2012 - Thames Valley Heat

Downloadable Files

Top of the Bench Instructions
Download the challenge
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Top of the Bench

National competition for 14-16 year old students

Chemistry Challenge 2012, Thames Valley Heats (November 2012)

The Thames Valley section heats for the Chemistry Challenge 2012 saw 22 entries from 7 schools.  The heats were run as a postal quiz, the results of which showed some interesting gaps in knowledge (materials used in the construction of a car) and some amusing answers - an element which shares its name with a London theatre - the intended answer was the 'Palladium', one entry gave: 'O2'.

  - 1st place: ‘Team 1’ from Headington School, scoring 59/70.

  - 2nd place: ‘Team 2’ from Headington School, scoring 58.5/70.

  - 3rd place: ‘Team 5’ from Cherwell School, scoring 55/70.

Congratulations to all the other teams as the scores were very close!

Joint Lecture: 'Blood Sugar Sensors Monitoring Diabetes: Electrochemistry and Enzymes put to a Useful Purpose' by Prof. Allen Hill and Prof. Tony Cass (31st October 2012)

Joint lecture held with the 'Society of Biology Thames Valley Branch'.  Following the RSC Landmark Award awarded earlier this year for the research into the Blood Sugar Sensor; Prof. Allen Hill and Prof. Tony Cass both provided excellent talks on the research, development and future of these sensors, which are used by millions of diabetics every year.  The lectures were preceded by a free buffet dinner and drinks, which provided members of both the SoB and RSC an opportunity to socialise together.  Over 30 members attended this event.

Standing from left to right: Prof. Allen Hill, Dr Tuan Ly, Prof. Tony Cass

Retired Members Pub Lunches (May-October 2012)

This year has seen yet another fantastic turn out at the Retired Members Pub Lunches, with one in three members  who were invited accepting their invitation.  The lunches were held across the Thames Valley section, following the theme of 'by the river'.  60 Retired Members in total enjoyed lunches at the following venues:

  • 17May - Banbury, Olde Reindeer (8)
  • 30May - Henley, Little Angel (7)  
  • 14Jun - Oxford, Victoria Arms (4)
  • 27Jun - Abingdon, Old Anchor Inn (11)
  • 12Jul - Newbury, Lock Stock and Barrel (5)
  • 25Jul - Pangbourne, The Swan (4)
  • 16Aug - Sherfield on Loddon, Longbridge Mill (7)
  • 13Sep - Wantage, The Lamb (5) 
  • 11Oct - Wargrave, St George & Dragon (1)
  • 24Oct - Boulter’s Lock, Terrace Bar (8) 

Retired Members Pub Lunch at Boulter's Lock

Reading Mixer Meeting (2nd October 2012)

This year's Reading Mixer Meeting was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Reading.  These meetings are informal events which encourage members within the Thames Valley local area to network with one another. They offer an ideal opportunity to introduce non-members to the RSC, and bring many organisations and institutions together.  The meeting was very informal and a buffet was provided along with wine, beer and soft drinks.

This meeting was also preceded by an 'Industry Hour' which included a short presentation by a local member from industry.  The aim was to give students and early career members a chance to learn about the variety of jobs there are in chemistry, and act as an introduction to a local employer.

Mixer Meeting held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Reading

Retired Members visit to The Living Rainforest (26th September 2012)

18 Retired Members enjoyed a guided tour of The Living Rainforest, followed by tea and cakes.

Retired Members at the Living Rainforest

Annual Dinner 2012 (7th September 2012)

This years Annual Dinner was held at New College, University of Oxford, and was attended by 36 members and their guests.  The evening included: a drinks reception; guided tour of the College; three course meal with coffee and wine; and our after dinner guest speaker - Professor Stephen Davies (Waynflete Professor of Chemistry, Oxford).

Professor Stephen Davies

Careers/CChem - Presentation/Networking Event (3rd July 2012)

CPD / Careers
A careers event was held at Rewley House, Oxford, for members and their guests to learn more about the RSC, CChem status, CPD and an opportunity to meet other scientists in the Thames Valley area.
Presentations were given by three RSC members currently working towards CChem, including the role of Chemistry in their work and what CChem meant to them and their career. A wide range of Chemistry roles was covered - Nuclear Decommissioning, Glycobiology and Environmental Chemistry.

Charlotte Ashley-Roberts (RSC Careers) also gave a presentation on getting the most out of your CPD, who would have thought flower arranging could be included as CPD? 

Andrea McGhee (RSC Professional Standards Specialist) and Charlotte were on hand for one-to-one discussion, and several attendees went away planning to register for CChem!

Thanks to everyone who attended.

Continuing Professional Development

RSC members can use a free online CPD tool to help take you to the next step in your careers. Students can record skills and development using the Undergraduate Skills Record

Chartered Chemist (CChem)

The award of CChem recognises the experienced chemical scientist who has demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of chemistry

enGENEious Conference (25-26th June 2012)

enGENEious - click to visit website
The RSC Thames Valley Local Section sponsored a student and post-doc organised conference held at Christ Church, Oxford.  RSC members received a discounted registration fee of only £115, instead of £145.  

In this meeting the world's leading scientists were invited to highlight the recent advances in microbial engineering, along with discussions on the challenges and future directions in the field. One aim was for young investigators and scientists to ask how to piece together knowledge of chemistry and biology to participate in this field.  

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Annual Guest Evening 2012 - Food and Beer (11th May 2012)

Food and Beer
This year's Annual Guest Evening, where RSC members bring along friends, colleagues and family, was focused on how different beers compliment food.  Our Guest Speaker Dr Debbie Parker provided a fantastic and insightful discussion on how the variety and diversity in the flavour of beer can be used to compliment any meal.  Of course, the only way to fully appreciate the theory was with a little practical testing!  The event was kindly hosted by Johnson Matthey Technology Centre - located at Blounts Court, Sonning Common, Reading.

AGM & Lecture (20th March 2012)

Prof. H. Colquhoun, University of Reading
This year’s AGM was held at the University of Reading within the Chemistry Department.  The evening included an opportunity to speak to other members and the local section committee over a free buffet dinner.  

This was followed by the AGM, and then the lecture-demonstration given by Prof. Howard Colquhoun (University of Reading), titled 'Our Light Materials'.  

The lecture covered the discovery and development of many well-known materials such as Nylon and Kevlar(R).