Two members of our Board of Trustees brought members of their families along for the evening. Professor Geoff Maitland, of Imperial College London, brought his two grandsons, Tom and Stanley to watch Saiful’s talk. He said: “Events like this are absolutely essential and inspirational, because it gets the variety of chemistry in front of young people, and how particular elements have made an impact, not only on the way we live life today but the way it’s going to change the future – and that is inspirational for young people”.
A passion for science clearly runs in the Maitland family genes, with Tom saying: “I’m really interested in chemistry – I like looking at the periodic table and seeing how the different things work together. I enjoyed [the lecture], I liked the experiments and the talk about the lithium batteries.”
Stanley added: “I like to learn about when people start things, inventing new things that people haven’t done before, so if someone came up with a new element in the periodic table, I would find that really interesting.”
Louise Armstrong-Denby, another of our Trustees, is Chief Commercial Officer of cancer diagnostics specialists Visiopharm. She said: “I think it’s been a fantastic opportunity to bring the children along and actually get them engaged in chemistry. They love science at school, and one of them is a member here at the Royal Institution and has been to the Christmas Lectures.
“For them, today, it’s allowed them to see what chemistry is all about. They don’t really equate their Mum with chemistry, so coming here – and talking to lots of interesting people and seeing how chemistry appears in lots of different parts of life – has been so rewarding for us, and for me as a parent, to share it with the children, as I don’t get to see how they interact with science at school.
“Sustainability is a topic that’s very hot on their radars, it’s a topic the bring up from what’s happening at school – the conversations about plastics and the whole environmental impact – it’s a very important message.”