Molecular display explores teaching inspired research

Alice O'Rourke, Masters in Art History and Curating student at the University of Birmingham and the UK recipient of the 2018 International Museums and Collections Award, has curated a new themed display on the ground floor of the Chemistry Building. The exhibition features various molecular models which assist chemistry students and academics to visualise how molecules and atoms occupy space and link together.

Models, made for Professor Richard Robson by the former School of Chemistry Workshop for the purpose of teaching, were an important first step in revealing the possibility of ‘infinite polymeric frameworks’. This new idea was the subject of a scientific paper in 1989 and inspired other chemists around the globe to explore the possibilities of constructing deliberately designed molecular frameworks or coordination polymers, of which metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a subclass.

Working in collaboration with Associate Professor Brendan Abrahams from the School of Chemistry, Alice's display helps highlight and visualise an important growing area of scientific research.

Image: Alice O'Rourke with one of the molecular models on display