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Dundee schools to attend ‘Fantastic Plastic’ lecture tour at Abertay

30 August 2013

Secondary school pupils from across Dundee will fill the main lecture theatre at the University of Abertay Dundee on Monday (September 2) to find out how science could make them into millionaires.

This will be the first time the ‘Fantastic Plastic…or how to make your first million’ lecture has been to Dundee and the first time local teenagers will have had the chance to hear Professor Averil Macdonald’s inspiring talk.

By using simple experiments during the lecture, Professor Macdonald - Professor of Science Communication at the University of Reading – demonstrates the many different ways in which plastics are used in the world around us, and shows that many of today’s entrepreneurs have made their first million from the application of science, technology and design.

With the focus on polymers, Professor Macdonald shows how their versatile mechanical properties are already used to create well-known toys and cosmetics, and goes on to explain how the discovery of electricity-conducting polymers has revolutionised the types of products available to us.

From cheap radiofrequency identification tags (RFID), which could revolutionise the retail sector even more than barcodes, to polymer light emitting diodes, which have led to flexible TV screens and augmented reality contact lenses, she emphasises how plastics continue to facilitate innovation and transform our lives.

The Fantastic Plastic lecture tour is sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry, and aims to generate an interest amongst school-aged children in science, technology, engineering and maths - the STEM subjects - so that they are aware of the types of careers these subjects could lead to.

Speaking ahead of the event Dr Patricia Dello Sterpaio, STEM Wider Access Co-ordinator at Abertay University, said:

“The Fantastic Plastic lecture tour has had wonderful reviews over the past few years, and we’re thrilled it’s coming to Abertay. So often, people think that science, technology, engineering and maths – the STEM subjects – are inaccessible and boring, but that’s just because they don’t realise how relevant they are to our daily lives and that there are so many different ways in which they can be used.

“The spaces for this lecture were snapped up by the local schools, so it’ll be a full house on Monday, and Professor Macdonald will, I’m sure, help inspire many of those who attend to think differently about STEM and consider sticking with it as they progress through school and begin to carve out a career.”

Dr Margaret Ritchie, the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Education Coordinator, Scotland, said:

“The Royal Society of Chemistry is delighted to be supporting this event, that will demonstrate to students across Scotland the important role that chemistry has to play in developing the cutting-edge technologies of our future, and the exciting opportunities that a career in chemistry could bring them.”


For media enquiries please contact Kirsty Cameron T: 01382 308935 M: 07972172158 E:

Notes to Editors:

The schools attending the Dundee ‘Fantastic Plastic’ lecture are Forfar Academy, Monifieth High School, Arbroath High School, Perth High School, Webster’s High School, Morgan Academy, Harris Academy, and Kinross High School.

The lecture will begin its tour of Scotland in Dundee, going on to Aberdeen University, Dingwall Academy, Milburn Academy, Strathclyde University, and finishing up at Edinburgh Napier University on Thursday, September 5.

Over 2,300 pupils and staff from schools across Scotland will attend the lecture over the coming week.

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