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Top of the Bench Chemistry Competition 2010

by Guest Blogger: STEMPoint 1. February 2010 14:49

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

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STEM Student Journalist Henry Lau Reports On Science In The Peak

by Guest Blogger: STEM Student Journalist 8. July 2009 10:26

Last week I attended the first Midlands science festival, Science In The Peak, 30th June - 4th July. Set amongst rolling hills and sweeping valleys, the iconic and dominating dome of University of Derby, Buxton was the primary host, with additional events held in the neighbouring 4 star Buxton Palace Hotel.

The central focus points were the stands in the dome, which featured RCUK's Darwin exhibit, The Grant Museum of Zoology and their collection of skulls from human ancestors, a moon landing exhibition (of particular significant as the 40th year anniversary of the moon landing fell during the week), medieval machines and my personal favourite a high speed camera from the University of Derby. 

Quentin Cooper, from the radio 4 show Material World, talked on the image of scientists in the past and currently. He highlighted the need to create a positive image of science to encourage the next generation of scientist.

Johnny Ball was the star on Saturday with his talk The Science of Life. The family fun day attracted almost 3000 people to the science festival, a staggering amount considering it was only one day. The family fun day featured extra activities including lectures on exploding custard, Lab in a Lorry and the University of Leicester I-science's Mars Landers workshop. I have a personal bias towards the Mars Landers workshops, having run one of the workshops myself. The aim of the workshop is to construct a planetary lander that will safely land the lifelong work of a eminent scientist (a water bomb) from outer space (a first floor drop) on the surface of Mars (the bottom of the first floor drop). I particularly enjoy seeing the competitive parents think they have all the answers followed by the spectacular demise of their landers. 

Guest Blogger: STEM Student Journalist, Henry Lau, University of Leicester    

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Science in the Peak

by Guest Blogger 9. June 2009 09:43

Science in the Peak is a major new science festival taking place from Tuesday 30 June through to Saturday 4 July at the University of Derby, Buxton.   

The event coincides with what is set to be an exciting year for science – it’s the International Year of Astronomy and Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday!  One of the major highlights at the event is Darwin Today, an interactive exhibition, looking at how we still use Charles Darwin’s ideas – from designing robots to meeting a giant tortoise and exploring the origin of the species.  And this is just the tip of the iceberg! There’ll also be Dr Who’s TARDIS and a Dalek, medieval machines and much much more! 

Secondary schools across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire have been invited, and the event is open free to the public on the Saturday – so come with your mates or your family!    

This is a great, fun way to find out about the range of career opportunities and study options open to you in the areas of science, technology, engineering and maths – don’t miss out! 

For more information call 01773 571 590 or visit www.scienceinthepeak.co.uk

Guest Blogger: John O'Callaghan

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Disclaimer

The views expressed in this Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the East Midlands STEM Partnership, its partners or funders, including East Midlands Development Agency.

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