The study and practice of Chemistry have played, and continue to play, a major role in shaping our civilisation. It is the central science.

At the physical end of the spectrum it ties in with a great deal of research in Physics and Engineering, and at the Biochemical end there is vital overlap in areas such as medicine design and synthesis.

It is little wonder that everything we use today owes its evolution in some way to the study of Chemistry. The car you drive to get to school; the medicines you take to relieve a headache; the designer clothes you wear at parties; the fight to prevent Global Warming; research into combating AIDS, cancer and other life threatening diseases; the space race: all of these things, and many more, are fueled by an understanding of the Chemistry involved in the materials being used, and how they interact with one another.

At St Edward’s, we try to make pupils aware of the effects Chemistry and science has in the world around us. For the Lower Sixth, there is the Priestley Society and for the Upper Sixth the Cavendish Society. These exist as forums to meet outside speakers, such as an introduction to Forensic Science, a talk from Professor Colquhoun (Head of Chemistry at Reading University) on light materials, a lecture on Mimicking the Sense of Smell and one on the Chemistry of Wine. In the Lower School scientists are encouraged to attend the Cafe des Sciences, where a wide variety of ‘real’ topics are discussed, again, often with guest speakers.

All ages also attend lectures, competitions and presentations, such as visiting Syngenta to find out about their work on pesticides and plant breeding, and the National Gallery to find out about their work on art restoration methods. We also enter a countywide Chemist of the Year award, the Chemistry Olympiad, as well as various national Chemistry competitions for the lower years.

The aim of all of the above is to make Chemistry accessible to all and relevant to everything that happens around us, as well as complementing the IGCSE (Edexcel), OCR (Salter’s) A Level and IB specifications that are studied at St Edward’s.

Head of Department: Dr Matthew Fletcher


Dr Matthew Fletcher PhD, University of Bath, M.Sc., St John’s College, Cambridge
Dr Louise Bowen BSc, PhD, University of Dundee
Phaedra Gowen BSc, University of Leeds
Adam Griffiths BSc, University of Loughborough
Monica Islam BSc, Imperial College, London
Willem Truter BSc, University of Stellenbosch
Dr Beth Watts PhD, Oxford, BSc University of Bristol
Technician: Liz May

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