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Next up in our British Science Week subject spotlight is chemistry teacher Tom Parsons. We asked him about his enthusiasm for the subject and why becoming a chemistry teacher was the career path for him.

What interests you most about chemistry?
Chemistry is fascinating as it really explains how the world around us works – combining the more applicable parts of physics and the more in-depth aspects of biology. It is the perfect science to understand the best bits of how the world works and gives greater meaning to many of the processes that take place around us.

What can upcoming students expect to gain from studying chemistry?
Chemistry is that is incredibly diverse. In chemistry, students can develop their skills in multiple areas – from mathematical skills to how to use glassware properly. Overall, students will gain confidence in a large range of areas that produce a competent scientist – as well as being a good cook!

How do you use chemistry in your everyday life?
I use concepts of thermodynamics when I open a window to cool a room, I take advantage of decades of drug development and research whenever I use an Ibuprofen pill, I use solubility of tea in water whenever I use a teabag. Chemistry is all around us, always taking place and increasing the understanding of these processes helps us understand the world around us.

Do you have a favourite element or equation?
Boron, without a doubt. Used in rocket fuel and in drug synthesis, it has a whole range of uses and produces a lovely green flame.

Who is a chemist you admire and why?
Linus Pauling. He made great advancements in the chemical field, in areas such as quantum mechanics and protein function. He was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (as well as a Nobel Prize for Chemistry) for his work against the use of nuclear weapons. He was not only a great chemist, but a good man too.

British Science Week runs from the 5th – 14th March 2021, visit britishscienceweek.org for more information.

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