Her lecture, entitled ‘Perkin's Purple Planet and me’, focused on the importance of observation in science.
She presented a case study of William Perkin who created the first cheap artificial purple dyes, colours which previously were only worn by cardinals and Royalty, a discovery that has affected our history and continues to affect our current lives.
He achieved this because he was a curious Chemist and a keen observer. It explicitly highlighted the point of making observations during experiments, as often it is an unexpected outcome that reveals itself which turns out to be more beneficial than the original aim of the experiment.
William Perkin made the most of his unexpected observations which led to a patentable organic synthesis and the production of a whole dye industry and many highly lucrative derivative products as well.
This lecture involved advanced Organic Chemistry and pushed our students’ knowledge to the edge of what will be expected in their IB exams and beyond and was a great experience for the Year 12s.
Additionally Dr Hyde was able to talk about Sheffield University courses at the end of the lecture and give students an insight into what it would be like to study Chemistry there.