Our teen team has winning formula in Salters’ Festival of Chemistry

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A Year 8 team has won the prestigious annual Salters Chemistry Festival for 11-13 year olds.

Greta Burton (13), Pippa Cummings (13), Ellie Osmond (13) and Carrie Wyncoll (12) beat off stiff competition from 16 other school teams from across London, Middlesex, Hertfordshire, Essex and Kent to be crowned champions.

The Sydenham High team competed in an exciting day of hands-on chemistry at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), starting with using their analytical chemistry and deductive skills to solve the crime “Murder comes to Salterstown”.

QMUL hosted the Salters’ Festival of Chemistry on Wednesday 11 May in which 68 students from 17 schools completed a number of science challenges.

The students saw a flash-bang demonstration titled “Chemistry is Kool” using liquid nitrogen and dry ice in a fun lecture given by Dr Tippu Sheriff from QMUL’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. They were intrigued to see the effect of cooling various everyday objects down to -196 °C, including an inflated balloon and even air, which enabled the students to see liquid oxygen.

After lunch the students took part in the University Challenge known as “Technician Trouble” which required them to identify five different unknown colourless liquids.

The day ended with a prize giving ceremony where all participants were given individual prizes and participation certificates, and the winning teams won prizes for their schools.

Dr The Hon Alexander Todd, Member of the Salters’ Company, presented the prizes to the winning teams.  The Sydenham High team received a molecule modelling kit.

Dr Tippu Sheriff said: “We feel honoured to host the annual Salters’ Festival of Chemistry at QMUL to showcase chemistry at the college. I was extremely impressed with all of the students that have taken part in the competition this year and I hope many of them will study chemistry at university and choose careers in scientific research.”

Headteacher Mrs Kathryn  Pullen said: “This is a tough competition and our students performed brilliantly. Everyone is very proud of them.”

The Salters’ Festivals of Chemistry are an initiative of The Salters’ Institute and the Royal Society of Chemistry, whose aim is to promote the appreciation of chemistry and related sciences among the young.