Once again the East Midlands Top of the Bench Chemistry Competition was a great success. Top of the Bench is a national competition run by the Royal Society of Chemistry for 14-16 year old students. This year’s regional final, which allows the winning team to enter the national final, consisted of teams of students, two from year 9, one from year 10 and one from year 11 from schools across the region. The University of Derby hosted the event for the first time on Saturday 30th January 2010 under the guidance of Alan-Shaun Wilkinson and opened by Professor John Coyne, the University’s Vice-Chancellor.
This years contest involved a gruelling 30 minute quiz followed by a tough and exciting practical challenge. The aim of the challenge was to try and find out the atomic mass of the object named ‘mysterium.’ The mysterium was actually solid zinc. The team who achieved the greatest accuracy received the most points. Whilst the contestants were having their lunch break they were able to experience a demonstration of making ice-cream with the aid of liquid nitrogen. This was done by two of the University’s scientists, Professor Trevor Brown and Ian Shropshire. The students even got to taste the vanilla flavoured ice cream, which had been made at -196 Celsius. The winning team was chosen by how many questions in the quiz they got right and the most accurate measurement of the atomic mass of the mysterium.
Congratulations go to Karan Kupur, Jack Ren, Nikhil Dattani-Patel and Jamie Herring from Loughborough Grammar School for winning the regional competition. Special thanks is given to the University of Derby’s Education, Health and Science Faculty, the Derbyshire Educational Business Partnership and STEMNET for without them, the event wouldn’t be possible. Cathy Brown, STEMNET Regional Director for the East Midlands, said: ‘It was great to once again see such enthusiastic students from a wide variety of schools performing high quality scientific investigations under the pressure of a regional competition.’
Other schools that were involved were Stamford School, Derby High School, Rushy Mead School - Leicester, Ockbrook School - Derbyshire, The Kings School – Grantham, Deincourt Community School – Chesterfield and Nottingham High School.
Article and Picture supplied by: George Peck (Yr7) @ Anthony Gell School, Wirksworth, Derbyshire