Spotlight on...ChemSoc

Thursday 09-11-2017 - 10:02
Chem cover

As an academic society, Chemistry have their hands full, balancing socials with lectures and their workload.  We chatted with Arran Embleton (Chair) and Molly James (Secretary), both in their second year studying Chemistry (naturally). Having resurrected the group, we wanted to hear what they had planned this year, how they’re reaching out to students not studying sciences, and how it feels being an “engineer of the universe”.


Tell us a little bit about the society.

Arran: “The reason we took on the groups was that there hasn’t really been any form of society for the past two years.  Molly and I both came from foundation year, and there was a society of sorts before, but it kind of flopped. Myself and Molly became friends through the joint venture of doing this, and we just wanted to reboot it. With it being an academic society, we wanted to keep it that way inclined, and have the academic side to it, but also kind of bridge the gap between everyone too.”

Molly: “We think it’s really important that, even though you’re a chemist, chemistry is applicable to so many different paths in science and engineering — it’s nice to get biologists and others involved too. Science and STEM is such a big area that it’s nice to get people talking to each other — like interdisciplinary work and creating a big community, and we’ve successful in doing that so far.”

Arran: “We’ve got so many different people like computer scientists, because chemistry branches out to software use. There are dissertations on the likes of analysing paint, to see how old paintings are, so artists might be interested in that.”


What events have the society run, and what else have you got planned?

Arran: “We had one on Friday 20 October, which was in the Manchester Met Chemistry newsletter.”

Molly: “We had a bar crawl type social, but it was themed and we called it ‘Elemental’. It was really good and about 35 people came. We started in Courtyard, moved onto Font, then Yates – but we were supposed to go The Alchemist!”

Arran: “So what the committee have decided to do to keep it fair, as we have a very big workload as well, is we’ve set six formal events for the full year — so the meet and greet was the first one. The next one is on 22 November, which is a talk by Dr Sven Koehler on his research area, and then immediately after someone who won a prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry is giving another talk, which we’ve been invited to.”

Molly: “So the events mix social and employability – we are an academic society but it’s also nice to have the informal off campus socials. It’s a nice balance.”

Arran: “The informal events we just plan as and when we come round to feeling like it, and when we feel everyone else wants to do it. The formal events have sort of set areas, so the meet and greet and the talks, and then the next formal event we’ve got planned is a Christmas pub quiz in early December. Then we have an external speaker closer to the end of the academic year, and we finish the year with the Chemistry Ball. It’s not exclusive to chemists, but it is exclusive to the Chemistry Society, so keep your eyes peeled.“

Molly: “Even if you aren’t a paid member of the society, you can still come to certain events – we might just do a little charge on the door, just to keep it fair.”


What was is about chemistry that appealed to you and made you want to study it?

Molly: “All my life I’ve been interested in chemistry – as far back as I can remember. To be honest, for me, I was lucky that my parents’ friends were into science, and bought me science books for Christmas because nobody knew what to get me! That’s kind of how I got into it, and then it was the TV show ‘Brainiac’ that got me into chemistry, and you go to high school and really start paying attention in lessons and it went from there.”

Arran: “I did forensic science at college, and I didn’t find it challenging enough. So I picked a subject I’d never studied before, which was chemistry. I tutor children too, and I always describe it to them by saying that with chemistry, you’re essentially an engineer of the universe. Everything in the universe is defined on the periodic table that chemists use and with that you can solve anything.”

Molly: “I love that it’s such a central science and a lot of people don’t realise it. It’s key to everything.”


What would you say to anyone wanting to get involved in the society?

Molly: “Definitely join our Facebook group. At the moment we have 170 people on there and the community is growing every day. I think it’s a good place to network and get to know each other.”

Arran: “Chemistry is such a vast subject with so many disciplines. If you’ve been interested in science, or you’re interested in chemistry, even though you might be doing an arts or language degree – you can always find a route into the chemistry side of things. Collaboration is how we make progress, and societies like this are made for collaboration.”


Find out more and get involved with Chemistry Society. 

You can see all our clubs and societies here, or get in touch with the Opportunities Office.



T: 0161 247 6432



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