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It’s elementary

Budding chemists will gather in St Andrews tonight (Tuesday 24 January 2012) to take part in the regional final of a 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 ten years ago, with the aim of sparking interest and excitement in the field of chemistry amongst 14 to 16 year olds.

Pupils from Perth High School, Perth Academy, Dunfermline’s Woodmill High School and Kirriemuir’s Webster’s High School will pit their chemical knowledge against each other in the quiz, which includes a ‘guess the element’ section and a video round.  The four teams, consisting of pupils from S2 to S4, have already successfully beaten twelve other teams, including previous winners, from across the Fife, Tayside and Perthshire regions to get through to the eight round final.

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

Professor Douglas Philp organised this year’s competition with Chemistry colleagues Drs Sharon Ashbrook and Iain Smellie. Speaking before the final, Professor Philp said, “Given the standard of competition this year, we are looking forward to an exciting and keenly contested final and are sure the eventual winners 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 thirty other teams from across the UK.

ENDS

Note to Editors / Photo Opportunity

The finalists will be available for a photo at the School of Chemistry, Purdie Building, North Haugh, St Andrews at 5.30pm tonight (Tuesday 24 January 2012) – ask for Professor Philp on arrival (contacts below).  The competition starts at 6pm and should finish by around 7.15/7.30pm. Professor Philp can provide details of winners directly afterwards – telephone 07769 312 253.

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