Is there a synergy when learning chemistry and English in Madrid? by Torleif Villmones - Profesor de inglés

Is there a synergy when learning chemistry and English in Madrid?

Synergy between chemistry and English - opinion from an English teacher living in Madrid


When I was studying chemistry in the University in Norway, I practiced a lot of experiments in the laboratory. I wrote reports and read a lot of books about chemistry: inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry and much more.
During my 2 years of studying this field I came to realize something - Chemistry and English have similarities!
When there is a chemical reaction, there are two or more different chemicals which are interacting with one another, for example vinegar and baking soda – with these two chemicals one can create a volcano, pretty cool!
So what does a vinegar volcano have to do with English? In the English language one have to create sentences through grammar:

English: “I mix baking soda and vinegar, then the volcano is created!”

Chemistry: “CH3COOH + NaHCO3 -> NaCH3CO2 + H2O + CO2”

As seen above, the only difference between the latter, is that the words are replaced with different symbols and letters. In other words, chemistry is coding the English language – pretty cool right?
One can create English sentences out of any chemical formula given, it might be tricky at times, but it is possible. I did this all the time for my reports in Chemistry, but after a while I got more interested in teaching only English – So now I am here teaching English in Madrid, way more fun!

When I am in Madrid I am not only teaching English to students, I am also teaching specialized chemistry grammar in English – both to companies and to private students.
Unfortunately I will not be able to make a volcano with my students, but I can help students to understand chemistry in a deeper level through English grammar. This is very helpful when the report must be in English, or when working in a pharmaceutical company and then presentation is in English.

In conclusion, there is definitely a synergy between chemistry and English. And the only way to figure out this synergy, is through making a volcano correctly and by replacing the coding with English words, then the reaction is complete!

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