On Titan the molecules that have been raining down like manna from heaven for the last 4 billion years might still be there largely unaltered deep-frozen awaiting the chemists from Earth.
Chemistry has always been a science of the imagination. The words of Carl Sagan above, paint a vivid picture in our minds, conjuring up scenes of an alien landscape bequeathed with fundamental particles. To become lost in the myriad of atoms and molecules is to understand the very essence of how matter behaves and this is our principal role as educators of chemistry.
There is no better way of firing a person’s mind than by the visual stimulus of the experimental. If a concept can be taught this way or by demonstration then it should be and we pride ourselves here in the Chemistry Department on exposing the pupils to practical work from the very beginning; this builds confidence as well being essential to learning. Our pupils must be challenged and it is therefore vital that we follow an examination syllabus that is accessible to all abilities. We believe that our decision to follow EdExcel's IGCSE from Year 9 meets this requirement. Post 16, pupils have the opportunity to take chemistry as part of the International Baccalaureate or as part of the two year linear A-Level programme. The excitement that this subject affords will never change!