Ask any chemist what set them on their chosen career path and they are likely to recall an event, or a personality, in a school chemistry lab. The vital role that chemistry plays in our individual lives and the industrial and ecological life of our planet only becomes apparent later. How can you convey the excitement of chemistry to young people, given the constraints of the curriculum? An effective way of getting pupils personally involved in the fun and magic of chemistry is to start a chemistry club. A chemistry club provides a special, informal time outside the rigid confines of lessons where you can give expression to your own enthusiasm and let your pupils do some real, smelly, wet bench chemistry. You may be surprised how much latent curiosity and ability the club reveals!

'Our chemistry master deserves particularly high credit for awakening my interest in his subject. I now realise that physics rather than chemistry was the most exciting field in the natural sciences, but the physics master's experiments were apt to fail, while those of the chemistry master worked. Besides, he ran practicals in the afternoons where we were allowed to experiment ourselves, something unheard of in Austria in those days. This made me decide not to read law as my parents suggested, but chemistry instead.'

Max Perutz OM, CH, CBE, FRS, British Nobel Laureate1962 (prize awarded jointly with John Kendrew CBE, FRS for their X-ray study of the structure of haemoproteins)

For further information on The Salters' Institute's Activities, including Salters' Festivals of Chemistry and Salters' Chemistry Camps, please view the web site at

Copyright Salters' Chemistry Club 2005
Copyright is waived for teachers wishing to print parts of this handbook for educational purposes.