Shell MakeTheFuture Even 2017 – Blogpost

Make the Future took place again this year to showcase the science and engineering feats of the UK and world, and to generally get people excited about science. The festival is focussed on energy production, employing new techniques and idealising low-carbon techniques (with our ever-increasing current energy usage) to reduce our burning of fossil fuels. With great minds and even greater inventions, it was impossible to not think up potentially-world changing ideas.

All of the staff were extremely enthusiastic staff with bubbly personalities which complimented the beautifully sunny day. They did great jobs in assisting children from Primary and Secondary schools, which came in the thousands, to learn, explore and be inspired in the buzzing atmosphere.

Amongst the main attractions was the ‘Make The Future’ live performances, where kids flocked to as they were shot with water vapour and directly observed the magical-seeming phenomena of electromagnetism.

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The Chemistry of Eugenol

Every year when Christmas time comes up, we are surrounded by a plethora of scents at home or in shopping centres. The most distinctive of these are from spices, and especially cloves which contain eugenol as pictured below.


Eugenol or 2-Methoxy-4-(prop-2-en-1-yl) phenol is a pale yellow oily liquid at room temperature. It belongs to the homologous series of phenylpropene which make up many essential oils. Eugenol is mainly present in cloves which are the flower buds of the S. aromaticum tree, accounting for around 80% and gives them their characteristic smell as spices.

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Morphine and its cousins



The term ‘alkaloids’ may be unfamiliar to most of us but if I start naming some examples which fall into this group of ‘nitrogenous bases secondary metabolites’, you will know what I mean. nicotine2 Some of the big names include morphine, quinine, strychnine, nicotine etc. basically a continuous list of –ine’s. The thing to note is that though the alkaloids were attributed to pharmacologically active bases derived from plants however, animals (including us!), insects and microbes also produce them.

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Debunking vitamin C

So, I’m sure many of us have seen the advertisement packaging for supposedly healthy drinks. One of most popularised is vitamin C. I don’t know about you but when I was growing up, I associated vitamin C with oranges and how they prevent scurvy (as told by parents to ensure I was receiving my 5 a day). So what makes this chemical so important?

Well, it turns out, Vitamin C is a vitamin (duh) which is able to dissolve in water and has the chemical formula of C6 H8 O6. The molecular structure of vitamin C is seen in the diagram below:
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Exciting enzymes?

So…I haven’t written a sole biology blog post in such a long time so I thought I would share some of the knowledge covered in class, more specifically on exciting enzymes.

Enzymes are biological catalysts made by living organisms which speed up chemical reactions. Each cell in our bodies is like a factory, constantly using up raw materials to turn them into useful products and also resulting in waste products. These reactions are usually slow if unaided by either heat or enzymes. This can be annoying in everyday life, for example, delayed respiration rates which rely heavily on enzymes. The food we eat in turn become the energy we use (vastly simplified). Continue reading

On Alcohols – Some High School level Chemistry

Alcohols are organic chemical compounds that consist of a hydroxyl group (-OH) attached to one or more carbon atoms within an alkane structure. Alcohols are a homologous series and have the general formula of CnH2n+1OH.

Examples of common alcohols include:


The OH attached within the alcohols result in higher melting and boiling points than expected for a compound of similar molecular mass. The hydroxyl group is a form of hydrogen bonding which is the strongest intermolecular force and gives rise to their stronger structure. This strong molecular structure takes more energy to break than the ones in compounds that are held together by London Dispersion Forces (weakest intermolecular force) or Permanent Dipole-Permanent Dipole attractions. Continue reading