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So #chemvalentine is trending on twitter and being me, I thought I was absolutely hilarious by inventing these beauties:

#chemvalentine even Heisenberg wouldn't be uncertain of your electrons.
#chemvalentine our proton-proton interaction would spin me out of control
#chemvalentine you're so hot that if we were atoms, you'd excite my electrons past the state of white radiation
#chemvalentine i wish my curly arrow would give you my electron pair.
#chemvalentine if you were a particle you'd quantum tunnel right through my barrier
#chemvalentine I'm more attached to you than a halide of a protic acid becomes to a carbon with 4 alkyl substituents.#thanksMarkovnikov



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If I was ever going to write a book, I'd call it 'Letters to Dr. Lewis', for the wonderful UCL professor who changed my life. As a memory, a thank you, for keeping Chemistry alive for me.

I could never be able to describe how much this man has done for me, from the day I received my UCL interview letter in December 2010 right up until my first day in Manchester in September 2011. He's always given me the benefit of the doubt, and believed in me even after completely messing up my exams. If it wasn't for him, I'd never still be having such positive thoughts for chemistry and I'd never be trying as hard as I am now to save what dreams I had about UCL and transferring them to Manchester, and still heading towards my career goals in public understanding and government advice science.

I don't feel inadequate for not achieving my grades any more. I obviously wasn't ready, and I've been given this opportunity to progress myself, and get myself up to the standard I want and need to be at. I've made better friends in Manchester in a month than I have at home with people I've known for years and I've found some of the most beautiful and admirable personalities in people. Apart from the fact that because I'm from London, I apparently live next door to the Queen, own horses, play polo and feed squirrels - I think my next article should be about common misconceptions of the opposite poles of England.

The university are absolutely fabulous with their support for people struggling in Maths (like myself!), they have absolutely amazing work systems (even if it might be laborious and time consuming and makes me feel ill at times!) and the lecturers are intelligent, supportive, and if I have to say it, funny as well, I haven't had a dull day so far!

The John Dalton tower is also the best possible place I can think of to have lab classes - an amazing view is just what you need to brighten a long afternoon full of titrations!

I've had the opportunity to work at the Manchester Science & Engineering Festival 2011 for the Athena Swan charter for the faculty which was amazing fun (thanks to the wacky but wonderful Dr. Conway), join STEMnet to become a science ambassador and I already feel like I'm half way there with kick-starting my career. 


Thank you Dewi Lewis and thank you Manchester - I owe you my life!

P.S. Still adjusting to the trams - seeing a combination of a tube and a train whilst crossing the road is a concept I don't think us Londoners will ever get used to - it's just scary.

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This is a comment I have received on my opinion that science experiments are good for schools:

"I think you're missing the point, in several ways. Enjoying something is not always the same as learning because of it; I don't want my lessons to be unpleasant but equally the point is for learning to happen. Secondly, even if *you* enjoy practical work it doesn't mean that everyone does.

Now, I appreciate that it would be good to know what students enjoy *and* what they think they learn best through *and* what they *actually* learn best through, but one person's opinion isn't necessarily the best way to resolve any of those questions. Opinions are not the same thing as data. And if you are a 'young scientist', it could be argued that you are in a self-selected group who might find practicals more fun/useful anyway..."



So I think this comment is completely age prejudiced. The relevant article has been backed up with NO data, NO facts, EVERYTHING expressed is an opinion. But just because I am of a young age and in a 'self-selected group', does that make mine any less valid?
I think not. This self-selected group is actually who the article is about. So surely this self-selected group's opinions are the most valid. People of my age and younger are going to be the future of science whether older people like it or not! The stick is going to be passed down some day. It is up to older people to ensure that youth is being INSPIRED by science not being bored to death by it!
 
Honestly have you ever met a student who doesn't enjoy science experiments? I certainly haven't, and I've dealt with young ages, students in my own class, students from private schools that i've met at university interviews.
 
Infact, let's talk about my university interviews.
 
University College London, UCL, 5th best in the country and top ten in the world. How did they choose to structure their interview/open day process? With experiments. 
Bearing in mind that UCL is teaching and motivating some of the world's finest chemistry students, now think how experiments can affect learning.
 
Queen Mary's, London, extremely prestigious in it's research and one of the top 30 in the country. How did they choose to structure their interview/open day process? With experiments. It was beautiful, a lecturer poured liquid nitrogen all around us and we all watched in complete awe as it turned into solid nitrogen at our feet. Then we had a lady make us ice cream from the Nitrogen! We experienced a liquid form of Oxygen, every person in the room was getting involved. Even the parents who don't even like Chemistry!
 
So there you have it. two days organised by well established adults, not a minor like myself.. and they chose to do experiments.

My school was probably.. one of the worst in the county, by reputation. It is known for having not the best behaved youth groups and being a bit 'chavvy'. When I have participated in open evenings and summer schools for these types of students, they loved all the experiments. i know exactly how students react to the theory, because I've seen it and I used to do it! I used to hate science! it was only the fact that I had such inspiring and amazing teachers that I've come to the place I am now, and that had nothing to do with the theory. If the teacher could tell a class was bored, they'd do an experiment. Not one person ever complained!
 
 
And besides. i have expressed several times, I KNOW I AM YOUNG. That does in no way mean that my opinions are less valid. I have just finished school and I have an extremely modern experience of the subject. teachers cannot judge what they think is right for an individual's learning path. I have every right to express my views, I love science and all I have ever wanted to do with my life for the past 4 years is to one day, be able to contribute to the scientific community. I am trying to offer alternative opinions, different from those of adults, and I am trying to use my experience to tell people what is going wrong with the system! Close minded scientists are what is wrong. Theory this, theory that,
SCIENCE IS BEAUTIFUL AND THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO FAIL TO SHOW THIS TO STUDENTS. We are the people being taught, I think our opinions need to be considered most of all!

I don't even think science at such a young age is about learning. The scientific community is relatively small in comparison to other subjects, and we need to get young people on board. 

When exam period has started, fine, don't do practicals, it should all be about the learning. Until then, which is aged 16, I don't see the harm in having a bit of fun with science. My A-level chemistry teacher would, after a long week of a tough topic, give us a fun practical to do. It certainly helped to remind me why I loved science.

I don't think a teacher's actions should be judged, however, unless each one is analysed individually, it is unfair to group them together. I can completely understand that there is a limit to how many experiments a teacher should be doing. But to be honest, if you were a teacher trying to teach 12 year olds about the structure of an atom, (I certainly remember my class being sat there extremely confused and not caring in the slightest) then yes, I think it is perfectly acceptable to get fed up with the pupils talking among themselves, and the teacher looking at their bored faces, I think it is fine to just stop what they're doing to do an experiment. perhaps after a bit of fun and relaxtion, their minds will be more open to a challenging subject. Science is a challenging subject and sometimes intelligent people can forget that because it comes naturally to them.
 
 
 
I know exactly what kind of response this is going to get: "This is immature of you, I'm not trying to argue with you, you've immediately thought I was judging you by your age, etc etc."
 
It has nothing to do with that. The reason I am so passionate about this is through a pure love of science, regardless of my age or gender, and I am actually hurt that this should even be mentioned; what sort of world are we living in? This is the 21st century. Science has given to me something that no person ever has or ever could match. It has given me a career, a love, inspiration and self-belief. And all I can hope is that this much passion is passed on to future students in the best possible way.
 
And apologies to the person who wrote this comment to me - if you are reading this, this is not at all a dig at you and your opinions. I am trying to express and explore different ones here, and I agree this article should be backed up by data, but it is not. And I do agree that practical lessons could be used more sensibly but that is down to the quality of the teacher. Inspiration first, learning second, I think it makes life easier for both the teacher and the pupil.


However, I do feel encouraged by the fact that 14 other adults commenting on the article have actually 'recommended' my opinion, and I really appreciate that. THANK YOU.

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Response to an article written by Siddhartha Mukherjee of The Guardian, Saturday 15 January 2011
The article has now been removed but the history and information can be found here if interested: 
gu.com/p/2mbjx/tf

 
 
The article in subject expresses the opinion that research into cancer should be restricted, as the patients are becoming more and more accepting towards the abusive disease.

This is obviously an extremely sensitive opinion, and I agree that cancer patients should be treated with the utmost respect and have their wishes carried out. However, I have not heard of one person dying from cancer, who didn't want to participate in trial drug tests or further research into the disease, to try to find a cure or prevention for future generations.
Patients clearly have the choice as to whether they want to take such participating roles, and if they are severely suffering they will not want to be put under any more pain inflicted by research. However, the general attitude towards cancer today, I feel, from sufferers' stories in the media, is that they want to use their disease as an opportunity, to start campaigns about being checked out, raising money for the research or even donating their bodies, and I think this is an extremely touching and inspiring attitude to have towards something so upsetting and traumatic. I have to say that such strength and courage certainly makes me appreciate life so much more.
 
Everybody is entitled to their own opinions, but I don't think science research should ever be opposed so strongly, when it's being used to help save lives in such a spectacular way.
 

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