On Thursday 19th January 2023 a team of four pupils – Alex Campbell (year 12), Ross Carson (year 10), Laura Dysart (year 11) and Jack Orr (year 10) – travelled to Queens' University to participate in the regional finals of the prestigious RSC 'Top of the Bench' Competition. The Deputy Head of the Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Department gave an introductory welcome, outlining some of the global challenges we currently face and encouraging the students to consider studying chemistry or chemical engineering where they can really make a difference: medicines from seaweed, carbon capture and utilisation and development of next generation antibiotics were just some of the solutions to these challenges chemists are currently working on. Chemistry is not just about titrations! The team completed a practical challenge in the laboratory where they turned a ‘2p’ coin into a ‘10p’ coin – just a little of the magic possible when you know how to perform chemical reactions! Following this, they completed a test paper demanding in-depth knowledge of safety, the chemical elements, electrochemistry and energy changes, and finally they competed in a stretching quiz round to conclude the competition. The team gave a great performance and had lots of fun and were stunned when they were crowned as NI Regional Winners, especially given that most of the questions on the test were related to topics they have not yet studied in their chemistry course. The team will now progress to the UK finals in London at the end of March – a very proud Chemistry Department tonight. Thanks to @RSC_Ireland_Edu and staff at QUB for organising and hosting the competition.
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