BENCHTOP NMR & SCOTTISH HIGH SCHOOLS

Benchtop NMR is a powerful and easy-to-use analytical tool, an excellent teaching aid and fanatastic technique for use in Advanced Higher projects. Benchtop NMR brings the latest scientific technology to the classroom.

What we offer?

NMR theory and hands on benchtop NMR training workshop for teachers

Loan of the benchtop NMR kit for a period up to a week from 6th February

to 5th March, 2017.

Benchtop NMR travels

Dr Nicholle Bell, NMR Outreach Coordinator, is bringing benchtop NMR to high-schools across Scotland.

Read more about the past events below and check out the calander to find out where the benchtop NMR spectrometer will be next.

Map marks the high schools that have received training and can borrow the NMR kit.

If you would like to be trained, contact Nicholle.Bell@ed.ac.uk for more information.

Latest Benchtop NMR High School Events

Rural tour by the School of Chemistry SIAS team, January 2017

Ariana Jones and Hannah Levene set out to tour high schools in the Scottish Highlands in a car full of high-tech kit (value exceeding several times that of their car). Funded by the RSC Spectroscopy in A Suitcase programme and supported by the loan of a benchtop NMR by the School of Chemistry, they brought with them FT-IR, UV and benchtop NMR spectrometers to inspire high school students and to show them the wonders of spectroscopy.

In a demanding schedule they travelled to Fort William on Monday to start their 4 day tour in Lochaber High school only to set on the road in the afternoon to travel to Portree, Ullapool and Dingwall in the following days. We were all relieved that the weather settled and the icy weather forecast did not materialise.

 

In a warming up presentations they introduced basics of IR, UV, MS and NMR with examples of how these techniques are used in “real scientific life”. This was followed by solving a mystery murder by analysing samples found on the crime scene. Four shoe samples were measured and compared to the IR sample from the crime scene; UV group was making up of solutions for calibration curves and testing a sample from the crime scene. Informal discussions on NMR hopefully helped to bridge the knowledge gap and the spectrum of ethanol was interpreted helping to solve the murder mystery.

 

Students were also interested to discuss university applications and advanced higher projects. More than 40 students from six high schools participated in the workshops and we hope to see some of them in Edinburgh Chemistry in the forthcoming years.

 

Tired but spirited, Ariana and Hannah arrived back in Edinburgh Friday evening.

 

Well done girls!

 

Dr. Dušan Uhrín

Study week for chemistry teachers, Heriot Watt University, June 2016

NMReady 60e was demonstrated during a teacher study week by Dr David Ellis and Tom Garnett at Heriot Watt University.  Teachers measured 1H NMR spectra of numerous samples giving them a taster of the ease and power of benchtop NMR. The appearance of NMReady on this workshop was a resounding success and opened the door for similar events in the future. 

Nigel Botting meeting for teachers of chemistry, St Andrews, June 2016

 

On 14th June, NMReady 60e was showcased at the Nigel Botting’s Meeting for Teachers of Chemistry. This event is attended by over 150 Scottish chemistry teachers and provides a fantastic opportunity for teachers to discuss the latest changes/issues of the national curriculum, learn about the latest resources and pick up new ideas for the classroom.  Teachers were able to see the spectrometer in action at the exhibition hall and were given a delegate pack containing a poster detailing what NMReady can do. The spectrometer was met with great enthusiasm by teachers from variety of high schools across Scotland increasing the demand for training workshops.

Dingwall NMR workshop, June 2016

 

On 2nd June, NMReady 60e travelled to Dingwall, a market town located at the head of Cromarty Firth in the Highlands. The town is birthplace of King Macbeth (Yes, the subject of William Shakespeare’s tale) and also home of Ross County Football club who recently won the Scottish League Cup.

During this visit a successful teacher training workshop was held in Dingwall Academy, the largest secondary school in the Highlands. Including the teachers from the surrounding high schools in Tain, Dornach, and Fortrose, the participants were given a brief recap of NMR theory followed by an introduction of the wonders of the benchtop NMR. The aim is to allow the kit to come up to the Highlands on loan so that schools can collectively use it as part of the Advanced Higher projects. Teachers attending the workshop all remarked that the kit is really easy to use and has a great potential for advanced higher projects. NMR can now be brought into the chemistry classrooms in the Eastern Highlands! A special thanks to Katie Elder from the Tain Royal Academy for organising this event and for the coffee and Irish shortbread.  :)

Stornoway NMR workshop, April 2016

Next stop on the tour of the Outer Hebrides was Lewis. A one hour ferry takes you from the small island of Berneray (which has a lovely beach and a nice cafe) to Leverburgh in Harris.  Harris and Lewis make up the largest island of the Western Isles. On the way up to Lewis it is clear that Harris is more mountainous with one Corbett and three Grahams amongst the many peaks, while Lewis is mostly flat. That means that Lewis has more fertile land, explaining why the biggest town, Stornoway, is in Lewis. Lewis also has quite a few historic sites, with the Callanish Stones attracting most attention. These standing stones date back to 3000 BC with many different suggestions on their purpose. Lewis is also a place, where a set 12th Century Ivory Chessmen, called the Lewis Chessmen was found. You can catch a sight of them at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

After spending time in Benbecula, the density of housing and sight of more than a few people hits you when you arrive in Stornoway. The town has a nice sheltered bay where you can see a fleet of fishing boats.  

​The NMR workshop took place in Nicolson Institute, the biggest school in the Outer Hebrides and with a brand new building. Teachers and advanced higher pupils from the Institute as well as Sir E Scott HS in Harris attended. What was particularly nice was that the Advanced Higher pupils attending this workshop were the pupils who sent samples for NMR analysis to Edinburgh and these samples were to demonstrate the NMReady :). The workshop went very well, with pupils and teachers answering the questions on proton-proton couplings brilliantly.

​The last leg of the journey starts with a 7 AM ferry back to Ullapool. The journey back to Edinburgh provided a good time for reflection and assessment. It became clear that the trip to the Outer Hebrides was a great success and a massive thanks to the schools and teachers for making it happen. Not only has NMR been brought to the islands for the first time in the Scottish history, but that benchtop NMR can return, and inspire high school students to continue with their studies at universities across Scotland.

Benbecula NMR workshop, April 2016

From Fort William the journey continued on a ferry from Mallaig to the Outer Hebrides for the first appearance of NMR on the Islands! A four hour sail takes you past the picturesque islands of Rum, Eigg and Canna on left and Skye on the right to the port town of Lochboisdale on South Uist. The location of the first workshop in the Outer Hebrides was Isle of Benbecula. Benbecula or Beinn na Faoghla translates to ‘mountain of the fords’ which aptly describes the dotted sea lochs/lochans looked over by the hill Rueval. Being from Edinburgh, Benbecula offers a calm contrast with thriving wildlife and the finest peat smoked salmon!

​The NMR workshop took place in at Sgoil Lionacleit high school, Linoclate which serves not only Benbecula but also North and South Uist and also houses the community sports centre. It was fantastic to have teachers and pupils from Sgoil Lionacleit as well Castlebay Community School, Isle of Barra to attend the workshop.  The first half of the session covered the theory of NMR, from what is NMR to proton-proton couplings. Couplings have recently been introduced to the Advanced Higher curriculum, although only as simple doublets and triplets. However, in compounds used in Advanced Higher projects many more types of coupling can occur. Thus the workshop offered an opportunity to deepen pupil’s understanding of the subject. After lunch, the NMReady 60e was shown in action before allowing pupils the opportunity to have a go and measure an NMR spectrum of one of the unknown class samples. The pupils became experts in using the machine within a few minutes showing that the bench top NMR as a natural home in the chemistry classroom.

Fort William NMR workshop, April 2016

On 22nd April NMReady travelled to Fort William, the second largest town in the highlands, located at southern end of the Great Glen, on the shores of Loch Linnhe and Loch Eil. Fort William of course is most famous for being at the foothills of the Scotland’s Highest Mountain, Ben Nevis. Standing at 1346 m, its name translates from Scottish Gaelic as the ‘venomous mountain’ or alternatively ‘mountain of heaven’. The preferred translation depending on how one’s ascent of the mountain went. :)

During this visit, the first NMR workshop using the NMReady 60e was conducted at Lochaber High School. With an amazing backdrop of Ben Nevis, the pupils from this school are famously known for taking part in the Harry Potter films, filmed nearby at Glenfinnan and Glencoe.

This workshop involved students and the advanced higher chemistry class, who were on the final day of their projects, were given a recap of NMR theory before being shown the NMReady 60e. With the exams coming soon, it was a great opportunity for NMR revision! :) A special thanks to Jacqueline Hill, Head of Chemistry, for welcoming us to the school and to the Advanced Higher class, who were fantastic. Good luck with your exams!

Prof. Dusan Uhrin

Room 270, School of Chemistry

The University of Edinburgh

David Brewster Road

EH9 3FJ

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