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Spanning the cognitive gulf between the microscopic and symbolic representation of chemistry through immersive virtual reality (LANCASTERSU19SF)

Project Description

The visualisation of three dimensional structures of molecules and the fluent translation between two dimensional representations and reality have long been recognised as challenges for the chemistry student. Traditionally molecular models have been employed as aids. Immersive virtual reality promises a technological solution to the limitations of models and an entirely new capacity to translate between three dimensional shape and two dimensional projection. We seek to develop and evaluate new pedagogies that exploit the potential of immersive virtual reality and nascent augmented reality.

Type of programme: PhD
Start date: October 2019, A start date prior to October 2019 is possible, but should be discussed with Dr Buckley in the first instance.
Mode of study: Full time
Acceptable first degree: A first degree in any science discipline or an education degree to teach a science discipline at secondary level at 2:1 or above.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at View Website.

A bench fee is also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. The amount charged annually will vary considerably depending on the nature of the project and applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.


(i) R. Galloway and S. Lancaster, Education in Chemistry, “Learning Gains” May 2016
(ii) S. J. Lancaster, J. Ward, J. R. Woods, Leveraging Social Media to Share the Beauty of Chemistry, ChemViews, June 2017. DOI: 10.1002/chemv.201700033
(iii) S. J. Lancaster, Collation and curation of social media content: capturing the synergy of the crowd, in Chemistry and Social Media, ACS books, in press.
(vi) F. Arico, H. Gillespie, S. Lancaster, N. Ward, and A. Ylonen, Lessons in learning gain: insights from a pilot project, Higher Education Pedagogies, in press.

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