International Year of Chemistry, 2011

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International Year of Chemistry 2011

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Contact Detail

Peter Hollamby Ideas Activities
  • Cardiff University
    Cardiff, South Glamorgan, UK
  • Email
    Tel +44 2920 870464
  • Sector:

  • Organizations:

    Cardiff University
  • IYC Interests:

    Increase the public appreciation and understanding of chemistry
    Encourage interest of young people in chemistry
    Generate enthusiasm for the creative future of chemistry
  • Web Site:


In 2005, Peter retired as Head of Chemistry from St. Cyres School, Penarth having taught for 31 years.

During his teaching career, Peter has been involved with a number of activities, many of which involved students and teachers from schools throughout Europe. Projects centred on environmental chemistry supported by ICT to underpin communication between schools.

Peter has spoken in the University of Barcelona and in Granada on “Setting up European Projects” and in the University of Stockholm. Some of Peter’s students have appeared in the BBC 2 TV programme “Planet Europe”. Peter’s students have taken part in an Olympiad in Russia and more recently, a group visited Romania.

Peter was awarded a General Teaching Council for Wales Scholarship and a Gatsby Teacher fellowship in 2003 to research e-learning.

Towards the end of his teaching career, Peter was awarded a RSC School Education Award for “Excellence in Chemistry Teaching and promoting Chemistry to Young People”

Since his retirement Peter has been involved with teacher training and curriculum development, working with the RSC and the Science Enhancement Programme. He has produced a number of teaching and learning materials and completed a book "Chemistry Jigsaws". Peter has been working in the School of Chemistry since 2006.

Current areas of interest:

Promotion of chemistry to young people and the general public. Peter has appeared on local radio and TV trying to make chemistry more interesting.

Curriculum support for A level chemistry. This is exemplified by the popular and successful "Uncovering Chemistry Secrets" project, co written with Prof. Peter Edwards and delivered every year to approximately 350 A level chemistry students. The project is targeted directly at A2 organic chemistry and students are able to enjoy close-up, an experience and explanation of IR and NMR spectroscopy, Mass Spectrometry and Gas Chromatography. The approach is to use interesting and relevant examples of chemistry involving the extraction, purification and identification of natural substances which impart smell and taste in a selection of common plants. More recently the department has received support from HEFCW to develop e-learning materials to support A level chemistry. The projects contribute to the RSC's national strategy CFOF (Chemistry for our Future), part the wider STEM approach which aims to promote the study of science, engineering, technology and mathematics.

Please look at

For younger scientists, the School of Chemistry has developed the "Flash, Bang, Wallop" show and the "It's a gas" showwhich attracts large audiences. "Chemistry in a Van" is touring various regions in the Uk to clebrate the IYC.

Bridging the gap between school and university. Peter is developing support and advice for first year undergraduates which draws upon their school experiences and helps them to ease in to the changes in approach that they might find challenging during the first semester in university. In addition, Peter is looking at some newer approaches to curriculum support involving e-learning. The School of Chemistry has recently been awarded an Innovation and Engagement Grant of £20,000 to support these activities.

Teacher training and school support. Peter is talking closely to teachers and developing training and resources for hard pressed school teachers.

Peter is involved with courses for non-specialist teachers of chemistry and in delivering "Safe and Exciting Chemistry" courses for chemistry teachers.

More recently Peter has spoken on 'e-learning' topics in a number of chemistry education conferences abroad. He was a keynote speaker at "ChemEd 09" in the University of Christchurch, New Zealand in July 2009 and returned to New Zealand in April 2010 to run teacher training courses in various centres throughout the country.

A new chemistry video resource funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and the Gatsby Science Enhancement Programme (SEP) and developed by Peter Hollamby and prof. Peter Edwards was distributeded to all UK schools during 2010.

A second DVD is to be available soon.

Please see