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Meet the Committee

Chair's message

The Thames and Kennet Regional Group has been in existence since 1984. Our main catchment area comprises the counties of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire in the North Downs to Surrey and West Sussex in the South, with the Universities of Reading and Surrey (Guildford) and Charterhouse School (Godalming) being our centres of activity. Meetings have also been held in a variety of other venues in the region, including universities, schools and centres of research.

The group's main focus is to enhance the public understanding of science; especially chemistry and related subjects. To this effect the group arranges and co-hosts a number of highly informative and popular events over the year. The emphasis continues to be on outreach to a wider public, particularly towards young people in schools and colleges.

Schools and universities
Another major initiative of the group is in education with our popular annual fixtures being Peter Joyce's science plays Galileo and Newton and the Best Sixth Form Chemist events at the University of Oxford (for Oxon schools and in conjunction with OISSP), University of Reading or Castrol, Pangbourne (for Berkshire and Buckinghamshire schools) and University of Surrey (for schools from Surrey and West Sussex). This award recognises the talent of promising chemists and schools are invited to nominate one candidate who will receive the award. For the Reading and Surrey events the committee selects one of the candidates that will be awarded the County award.

TaK also currently supports undergraduate students at the Universities of Reading and Surrey with book tokens that should help them towards the cost of textbooks or other items essential for their studies. Close collaboration between the Reading and Surrey are being forged.

Ice cream and fireworks
More general audiences are reached with truly multidisciplinary science lectures at the Universities of Reading and Surrey and at Charterhouse and in the past few years topics have ranged from Dr Andrew Cox's (Colworth House, Unilever) tasty talk on ice creams, a sparkling lecture on fireworks by Dr Tom Smith (Davas Ltd), to Dr Nicholas Eastaugh's (The Pigmentum Project) account of art forgeries and art preservation, and Professor Barham's (University of Bristol) 'way of cooking' as he introduced and dazzled the audience with molecular gastronomy and the influence of chemistry on the senses.

Other speakers were Michael Flowerdew (Liverpool and CERN) who talked about the science near the speed of light and by Professor Peter Worsley (University of Reading) 'A Layperson's Guide to the Geology of the Reading Area', Dr Jonathan Flowerdew (Meteorological Office, Exeter) 'Ensemble Forecasting the Risk of Coastal Storm Surges', Peter Baveystock (Waste and Recycling Manager, Wokingham Borough Council) 'What a Waste: What Can Be and What Is Recycled at Present.', Professor R. A. Rastall (University of Reading), 'Functional Foods', Dr Vlad Stolojan (University of Surrey), Nanotech, and Dr John Wilkins (formerly of Harwell) 'Nuclear Power'.

Informal events included a visit to Didcot power station, the Diamond Light Source at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratories (both with the BioResources Group) and the Hogs Back Brewery at Tongham, Surrey. The Group also regularly advertises events organised by the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

Looking ahead
All our events are published regularly in the Members' News pages of Chemistry & Industry and on the SCI website. The committee encourages and welcomes members who would like to play a more active role in the running of the group making the Group even more successful. Please contact SCI's Committee Support on e: committeesupport@soci.org or t: +44(0) 20 7598 1513 which will liaise with the Group's Secretary.

We look forward to seeing you at our meetings.

Committee biographies and photographs

Chair & Secretary:

Dr Stephen Lennon


Vacant. If you are interest in applying for this position please contact SCI's Committee Support on e: committeesupport@soci.org or t: +44(0) 20 7598 1513

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