Students mix chemistry with creativity for event

Jaymie-Lee Collins, Laura Somers, Maha Ashraf and Kelly Purse SUS-140725-160626001
Jaymie-Lee Collins, Laura Somers, Maha Ashraf and Kelly Purse SUS-140725-160626001

The chemistry department at Collyer’s has just held the final of its very own in-house Aspirin competition.

Thirty five teams of AS level chemistry students took part in the event throughout the summer term, which has helped bridge the gap between AS and A2. Following their exams in May, the students have been actively synthesizing and analyzing aspirin samples in the lab, whilst simultaneously researching the history behind the ubiquitous painkiller. In the final week of term, the college’s chemistry department was filled with A1 size poster presentations from all teams who presented their work to the science staff. The posters were judged on scientific content, creativity and innovation.

Chemistry teacher Angela Cash, said: “This is a great opportunity to introduce students to the challenges of A2 using real life scenarios of a well-known painkiller. It is especially useful as it gives students a very realistic idea of life as a research chemist.”

All thirty five posters were very well presented, making the judging process incredibly tough. In fact, three teams were tied for 3rd place. However, talented students Laura Somers, Jaymie-Lee Collins, Kelly Purse and Maha Ashraf’s brilliantly creative and original poster ensured they won 1st place. The proud winners were thrilled to be awarded with an Amazon voucher each.

Subject Leader for Chemistry, and aspirin project coordinator, Dr Rob Hussey explained: “This is a great competition as it gives the students the opportunity to harness their practical skills, whilst also developing their presentation skills, both of which are essential in the world of research. The groups demonstrated good analytical ability when using infra-red spectroscopy to analyze their synthesized drug. They now have an excellent appreciation of the value of analytical techniques within the realm of medicinal chemistry.”

Vice Principal Steve Nicholls said: “This project has run very successfully for several years and Novartis have been instrumental in setting it up; the college is also very grateful to them for their generous donations of chemicals and kit. Thanks also to our superb chemistry team!”

Report and picture contributed by Collyer’s.