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Science
THE MATERIAL WORLD
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Thursday 16:30-17:00
Quentin Cooper reports on developments across the sciences. Each week scientists describe their work, conveying the excitement they feel for their research projects.
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LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 17 August
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QUENTIN COOPER
Quentin Cooper
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Thursday 17 August 2006
a few test tubes partly filled with liquid

During August Material World is broadcasting three programmes made in conjunction with the Open University.  For more information about science at the Open University, click here.

In the last of these special programmes Material World is in the Chemistry Department of the University of York in front of an audience of chemistry students attending an Open University summer school.

Quentin Cooper chairs a discussion about the future of chemistry in the UK. In the last decade around 30 universities have ceased offering degrees in the subject. Why is it that many students are no longer attracted to it?

Joining Quentin Cooper to share their views on this question are James Clark, Professor of Green Chemistry at the University of York and founding director of the Green Chemistry Network; Dr Lesley Smart, Senior lecturer and Director of the Molecular Science Programme at the OU as well as a council member of the Royal Society of Chemistry; and Tony Ryan ICI Professor of Physical Chemistry at Sheffield.

The panel think more people will come into chemistry if they have inspiring teachers, are allowed to do chemistry experiments, and are aware that chemists can save the world, rather than destroy it.

They are making the materials that can solve the energy crisis and make products more environmentally friendly.

The panel also discusses how the public image of chemistry is being changed, though the activities of the professional society the Royal Society of Chemistry, for instance. One member of the audience says chemists in TV dramas could do a lot for the subject.
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