Chemistry students from Richard Huish College are celebrating their success in the annual Cambridge Chemistry Challenge. This year 21 students from the Lower Sixth entered the Challenge, which involves a stretching exam paper designed to push the students beyond the A Level specification. As it is the International Year of the Periodic table, questions were based around this theme and students had to tackle problems about unfamiliar elements such as Indium, Thallium and Niobium, including writing a lengthy electron configuration for the newest element to be discovered, Oganesson (Og). It also tested their organic chemistry far beyond what they have learnt in lessons and the students learnt about periodic acid and its applications in organic synthesis.

An impressive eighteen students in total were awarded certificates. Eight achieved Copper awards; Sadie Broadbent, Harriet Cruikshank, Joe De Viggiani, Navya Menon, Thomas Pike, Luke Rees, Katy Speed and Abigail Thomson. Seven achieved Silver awards; Nelson Carter, Catherine Kellow, Misha Medvedev, Jack Ridgley, Patrick Smith, Ben Snaith and Georgia Tier. A further three students, Albie Smith, Dak Dakshesh and Rachel Tier excelled, achieving Gold awards putting them in the top 10% of students in the country.

Earlier in the year, nine students also entered the UK Chemistry Olympiad run by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Five students achieved Silver certificates; Kez Gill-Stevens, Linus Denning, Ruth Hancock, Adam Haslam and Addy Gorman. Joyce Wong achieved a Bronze certificate alongside Albie Smith and Jack Ridgely who excelled as Lower Sixth students as they had to answer questions on parts of the specification not yet covered in class.

Chemistry Course Manager, Joanna Clare, commented ‘This has been a very successful year for our Chemistry students, participating in these competitions requires resilience and excellent problem-solving and numeracy skills so it is an incredible achievement for all those who have taken part. Our students are motivated and enthusiastic, and ready to take on any challenge that is thrown at them, enabling them to be excellent scientists in the future.’