Leicester Fluorine specialist stars in TV Christmas special

Posted by pt91 at Dec 21, 2012 11:35 AM |
Professor Eric Hope stars in the famous Christmas Lectures
Leicester Fluorine specialist stars in TV Christmas special

Professor Eric Hope (right) and Dr Peter Wothers record one of this year's Royal Institution Christmas lectures. Image credit: Tim Mitchell

Issued in December 2012

University of Leicester chemist Professor Eric Hope will star in the famous Christmas Lectures that will be broadcast on BBC Four at 8pm on 26, 27 and 28 December. Prof Hope helped the lecturer, Dr Peter Wothers, with an exciting demonstration every school child (and chemistry teacher) dreams of.

The 2012 lecture series is called ‘The Modern Alchemist’ and will unpick the chemistry of the world around us – looking at air, water and earth - three of the original ancient Greek ‘elements’ that tantalised alchemists for centuries. The Lectures, which were started by Michael Faraday in 1825, and first broadcast on the BBC in 1966 are filmed in front of young people from across the country at the Royal Institution (Ri).

Prof Hope, an expert in Fluorine, the most reactive non-metal on the Periodic Table worked with Dr Wothers to demonstrate the reaction of fluorine with the most reactive alkali metal caesium.

Prof Hope, Professor Inorganic Chemistry at University of Leicester said: “Before this, I had never seen caesium and Peter had never seen fluorine. Also, to the best of my knowledge, this reaction had never been carried out in front of an audience before, or at least we could find no record of it. What better stage than the Christmas Lectures to perform this ultimate chemical reaction.”   

The 2012 Christmas Lectures will be aired at 8pm on BBC Four on 26, 27 and 28 December. The Lecture Prof Hope will guest star in will be aired on 27 December.

The 2012 Christmas Lectures series is supported by The Royal Society of Chemistry, The Yusuf and Farida Hamied Foundation, EPSRC and Dow UK.


The University of Leicester is a leading UK University committed to international excellence through the creation of world changing research and high quality, inspirational teaching. Leicester is the most socially inclusive of Britain's top-20 leading universities. The University of Leicester was the THE University of the Year 2008-9  and is the only University to win six consecutive awards from the Times Higher. In awarding the title the judges cited Leicester’s ability to “evidence commitment to high quality, a belief in the synergy of teaching and research and a conviction that higher education is a power for good”. Leicester was, said the judges, "elite without being elitist".


Share this page: