University of Reading cookie policy

We use cookies on to improve your experience, monitor site performance and tailor content to you

Read our cookie policy to find out how to manage your cookie settings

Covid-19 update August 2020

Please note: due to government advice regarding Covid-19, our Lectures for Schools and other outreach events have been suspended. Please check back for further updates.

Lectures for Schools

We deliver a number of lectures for Year 11, 12 and 13 students, which expand on GCSE and A level chemistry topics. Each presentation lasts for 30-45 minutes and is delivered at school or college. Students will have the opportunity to ask questions, both about the talk content and about studying chemistry at university.

To book one of our lectures, email Please include:

  • your school’s name and address
  • the lecture(s) you are interested in
  • the time and date(s) you would like the lecture(s).

Sparkling Cyanides

Dr Ann Chippindale

Cyanides are poisonous materials, but they also show some fascinating properties. One of these, “Negative Thermal Expansion”, means that, unlike most materials, these cyanides shrink when heated up! How can this be? All will be revealed in this lecture. 

Materials from Micelles

Dr Joanne Elliott

Dr Elliott describes the self-assembly of micelles in solution and their application to form nanostructured electrode materials with controllable 3D architectures and enhanced surface areas for use in catalysis.

Fuelling the Car of the Future

Dr Grau-Crespo

Dr Grau-Crespo discusses the problems encountered when developing batteries and fuel cells to power cars and describes how materials chemistry is meeting these challenges.

Zeolites Really Rock!

Dr Ann Chippindale

What do washing powder, cat litter, blood clotting bandages and industrial processes have in common? They all involve the use of inorganic solids called zeolites.

Dr Chippindale explores the chemistry behind these naturally occurring and manmade aluminosilicates and discusses what properties make them versatile and commercially important.

Chemistry for our Future: Clean and Sustainable Energy

Dr Paz Vaqueiro

Declining fossil fuel reserves and climate change arising from increased CO2 emissions pose an enormous challenge to society.

The development of alternative energy-generating methods offers the only realistic hope for a long-term solution, and chemistry is at the forefront of many of these advances.

In this lecture, Dr Vaqueiro gives an overview of the contribution of chemical sciences to the development of new energy technologies.

Spectroscopy in a Suitcase

The Royal Society of Chemistry Spectroscopy in a Suitcase scheme is a free outreach activity. It gives school students the chance to learn about spectroscopy through hands-on experience via a workshop run in their school.

As well as covering the principles of spectroscopic techniques, students get to use a portable infrared spectrometer while completing activities with real-life contexts. This helps demonstrate the applications of the technique.

University staff and students deliver the workshop in schools, highlighting the chemistry career opportunities available. The workshop is designed for Year 12 or 13 students and typically lasts one and a half to two hours.

Teachers can apply to borrow the equipment for two to three days. Teachers need to arrange a time with the Department to pick up and return the kit. Training is provided for teachers who have not used the equipment before. Please request this when booking.

Book a workshop or request a loan of the kit
Athena SWAN Silver Award