Best and brightest young scientists shine at RGU

Secondary school pupils from across the country gathered at Robert Gordon University (RGU) recently to compete in a national science final.

The Schools’ Analyst competition took place in RGU’s Sir Ian Wood Building on Tuesday, June 23 where more than 60 pupils worked to solve a number of analytical puzzles.

Run by the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Analytical Division (RSC), and sponsored by The Analytical Chemistry Trust Fund, the competition was open for AS level chemistry or equivalent secondary pupils.

Ruthin School from Denbighshire in North Wales won the competition showing exceptional analytical skill and received the top prize of £1,000.

Runner up teams, Blundell’s School from Devon and Catholic High School from Chester also won prize money of £600 and £300.

A total of 20 teams were invited to compete in the final after winning regional heats which aimed to promote science and skills development to young people.

The north-east of Scotland was also represented at the final by pupils from Banchory Academy who won the Scottish regional final earlier this year.

Teams were required to undertake various practical analytical exercises based on problems in relation to industrial or social needs. They were judged on their skill as well as team work, understanding, safety and accuracy within the laboratory.

The competition challenged participants by providing familiar tests along with tasks that were completely new to them.

Dr Graeme Kay, teaching group leader at RGU’s School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences, worked with colleagues to organise the event.

He said: “We were very impressed with the level of skill and knowledge that the pupils demonstrated throughout the competition. They all worked well in their teams and hopefully enjoyed their experience at the competition.”

Professor John R. Dean, the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Analytical Division lead on Education and Skills, said: “I would like to thank RGU for agreeing to host the Competition and for providing an excellent venue with facilities that show case analytical chemistry.

“In particular, I would like to thank Dr Graeme Kay and Professor Andrew Morrisson, who were ably assisted by the technical team and supported by RGU student ambassadors, for making the whole event memorable for each of the 20 teams who attended.”

The competition has been running since 1982 where it was first held at London Metropolitan University. The Royal Society of Chemistry is a not-for-profit organisation with a heritage that spans 170 years.

It invests in educating future generations of scientists whilst raising and maintaining standards. Royal Society of Chemistry connects with industry and academia, promoting collaboration, innovation and advising governments on policy.

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