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Chemical masterminds

Aspiring chemists will gather in St Andrews tonight (Tuesday 21 January 2014) to take part in the regional final of a national competition aimed at engaging youngsters in the subject.

The event, Top of the Bench, is hosted this year by the School of Chemistry at the University of St Andrews in collaboration with the Tayside Local Section of the Royal Society of Chemistry. The RSC established the national annual competition more than thirty years ago, with the aim of sparking interest and excitement in chemistry amongst 13 to 16 year olds.

Teams from Bell Baxter High School, Perth Academy, The High School of Dundee and Breadalbane Academy from Aberfeldy will put their chemical knowledge to the test and compete for the regional title in the quiz, which includes a ‘guess the element’ section and a video round.  The four teams, consisting of pupils from S2 to S4, reached the Final by battling through three knockout rounds – beating 22 other teams from across the Fife, Tayside and Perthshire regions.

The contest, in which Professor Derek Woollins, the Head of the School of Chemistry in St Andrews, will take on the role of Quizmaster, is a successful outreach project for the School of Chemistry, having coordinated this regional event since its inception.

Speaking before the final, Professor Douglas Philp, the local coordinator for the competition said, “26 teams entered the competition this year, the highest number ever. The standard has been exceptionally high and we are looking forward to an exciting Final. It will be interesting to see if Breadalbane Academy, who won this regional competition last year and went on to win the National title, can win again. We are sure that whoever the eventual winners are, they will be excellent representatives for the region at the National Final.”

The winners of tonight’s competition will go forward to the National Final held in the Spring, where they will compete against up to 30 other teams from across the United Kingdom.

ENDS

Issue by the Press Office, University of St Andrews Contact Gayle Cook, Senior Communications Manager on Tel: 01334 467227, mobile: 07900 050 103 or email: gec3@st-andrews.ac.uk

Ref: Top of the Bench 210114

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