The Royal Society of Chemistry's HQ snuggles up cosily with the Royal Academy in Burlington House, Piccadilly. Like its more famous neighbour, it regularly opens its doors to the public, with a strong programme of talks highlighting the chemistry of everyday life. Four free events in the final part of the year sound particularly good.
Cosmetics, Chemicals and the Truth
3 October 2013, 6.30pm
Can the impressively named components of make-up really hide your wrinkles, or is it a load of old Boswelox? A panel — including representatives of the cosmetics industry, a journalist and a proponent of complementary medicine — discuss the issues. This one's now fully booked, but there is a waiting list to join. Book here.
Feeding the 9 Billion
31 October 2013, 6.30pm
The impressively titled Professor Lord Krebs looks ahead to the mid-century, when some expect the world population to reach 9 or 10 billion. Krebs will discuss how all these people might be fed. Ideas include redistributing food from the over-indulgent developed world; using new technologies such as GM to improve yields; or perhaps we must all become vegetarian. Book here.
Fighting Food Fraud — From Hassall to Horsemeat
7 November 2013, 6.30pm
The horse-meat scandal is just the latest in a long, unpalatable history of food misrepresentation. Just think of Mrs Lovett's pies in the Sweeney Todd legend. Duncan Campbell, a Past President of the Association of Public Analysts, looks at a few historical examples, and discusses modern analytical techniques that can detect and hopefully prevent future foody transgressions. Book here.
Not Just For Christmas — Making the Most of Your Christmas Tree
5 December 2013, 6.30pm
Using the festive period as a jolly hook, Matthew Davidson from University of Bath's Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies looks at the chemicals produced by trees that might be developed into a wide range of renewable products from fine chemicals to biofuels. Book here.
Image by the author.