Student wins award in chemistry competition

Luke Stevens
Luke Stevens

Luke Stevens from Christ’s Hospital School has received an award to acknowledge his outstanding performance, achieving one of the highest marks in a new competition.

The Cambridge Chemistry Challenge was taken by 4300 students in 300 schools across the country this year.

Luke was amongst 39 students who achieved the highest marks in the Challenge.

All the winners were initially rewarded with the opportunity to spend four days experiencing life as an undergraduate student studying Natural Sciences at St Catherine’s College, Cambridge during the summer.

All award winners were then rewarded with a crystal trophy depicting the electron density of an excited hydrogen atom at a ceremony at the Royal Institution in Piccadilly, London in November.

At the ceremony each of the pupils was required to give a three minute presentation on an element of their choice.

Luke spoke very well on the properties, uses and characteristics of the element Boron.

Supported by the University of Cambridge Chemistry Department, Cambridge International Examinations and OCR (Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations), the competition, which was taken by 30% more students than in its first year in 2011, aims to stretch and challenge budding chemists.

The 90 minute written paper designed by experienced teachers and lecturers, takes Year 12 students in the UK significantly beyond the Chemistry syllabus, and encourages them to think about science in the way they would at university.

Dr Peter Wothers said: “It is encouraging to see this competition strike a chord with so many students.

“The competition allows students to apply knowledge of other subjects, think creatively and take their knowledge to the next level – these are exactly the kind of skills which are needed for university.

“It is therefore useful for students wanting to go on to study chemistry at undergraduate level because it gives them that outstanding flair!”

Dr Marcus Medley, Head of Chemistry at Christ’s Hospital School said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Luke and Christ’s Hospital School, and is well deserved. Luke, along with the other winners, gave a superb presentation on an element from the Periodic Table.

“All of them coped amazingly well given the prestige of the occasion and venue.

“I believe that this Chemistry Challenge really allows the pupils an opportunity to push themselves beyond the A-level syllabus.”

Ann Puntis, Chief Executive of Cambridge International Examinations said: “It’s fantastic to see the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge, now in its second year, going from strength to strength.

“More students across the country are seeing the benefits of a competition, which stretches their knowledge and prepares them for the challenges of university and beyond.”

Luke said a bit about his experience on the Chemistry Camp: “One of the best things was meeting the other people on the course.

“Before going, I was concerned that they might all be frighteningly intelligent, but on meeting them I realised that some were just as surprised as I was to be invited and one even mentioned that he had the same reservation.

“It was easy to relate to them and the conversations were always interesting

“All in all, it was an incredible experience and I hope to continue to study chemistry beyond A level.”