30 March 2011: RSC Year 12 Analytical Chemistry Competition

Bristol ChemLabS played host to the regional finals of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Analytical competition. Thirteen schools from the northern section of the southwest of England sent teams of three Year 12 students to the ever popular practical chemistry competition. The young chemists, the best from their respective schools spent a total of 4 hours engaged in four hands-on exercises that not only tested their practical skills but challenged their team work and time management.

Teams were required to undertake various practical analytical determinations based on problems relevant to industrial or social needs. These are judged on the basis of skills shown, understanding and accuracy and were intended to promote team work and safety in the laboratory. Some tasks were relatively familiar to the students, such as titrations, whilst others were less familiar, such as spectrophotometry. In this way, the competitors were able to learn new skills as well as demonstrate their existing knowledge, skills and aptitude for analytical science.

Whilst the judges, led by Dr Jenny Unsworth, a trainee Patent Attorney with Hepworth Browne in Bristol, scored the student submissions, Tim Harrison presented a lecture demonstration on Perfume Chemistry.

The winning school were Colston’s Collegiate School, with Backwell School, last year’s winners, very narrowly behind in second place. The Colston’s Collegiate team will go onto the national finals to be held at Reading University in June where the prizes range from £750 for the winners to £100 for each team taking part.

Postgraduate chemists assisting Tim Harrison were Amy Styring, Ben Cheesman and Aimee Boyle.

The schools represented were: Backwell School, Bishop Wordsworth's CoE Grammar School for Boys, Blundells, Bristol Grammar School, Castle School, Cheltenham College, Clifton High School, Colston’s Collegiate School, Cotswold School, Dauntseys, Katherine Lady Berkeley School, Redland Green School, Redland High and Taunton School.

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