To study Chemistry is to study the nature of existence. The particles that make up the universe have their own internal logic that governs their structure, and they follow similar logical rules when combining with each other to form new compounds, elements and intermediates. Pupils who understands these concepts are better equipped to understand the world around them!
Pupils will have been introduced to key concepts at GCSE that will be examined to a much greater extent. For instance, the OCR course in A level Chemistry includes topics include atomic structure, mole calculations, atomic structure, acid-base chemistry, equilibria and rates of reaction. The course will also introduce entirely new concepts such as the mechanisms of reactions of organic compounds, molecular shapes, complex ions and spectroscopy.
Practical work is a key component of A level Chemistry. The Royal Society of Chemistry provide the department with access to spectroscopy technology, which is used by pupils to analyse substances they have synthesised during the year such as Aspirin, Azo dyes and Benzoic Acid. Learning is enriched through the use of Chemistry Olympiad questions, as well as pupils having the opportunity to attend lectures at UCL and Imperial.
Following A level in Chemistry, there are a multitude of possibilities. Chemistry is fundamental to degrees in Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science and Biomedical Sciences, as well as Analytical Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmacy, Atmospheric Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.
Suggested reading for A level Chemistry:
Roald Hoffmann on the Philosophy, Art, and Science of Chemistry - Edited by Jeffrey Kovac and Michael Weisberg
Uncle Tungsten - Oliver Sacks
The Double Helix - James D Watson
Solving Chemistry: A Scientist's Journey - Bernie Bulkin