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Boys Win Silver in 'Top of the Bench' Chemistry Competition

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Four Boys’ Division pupils have taken part in this year’s Royal Society of Chemistry ‘Top of the Bench’ competition. They won the regional heats in June 2013, and therefore made it through to represent Greater Manchester in the national final.

Year 11 student Niall Woodward, Jack Virgin from Year 10, and Year 9 pupils Akshay Pal and Ross Percey made up the Boys’ Division team. They travelled to the University of Loughborough to go head-to-head with 29 teams from across the UK and Belgium.

Their knowledge of Chemistry was tested by an individual 30-minute written test followed by a practical task, for which the teams were split down into pairs. Akshay  and Ross extracted caffeine from tea and analysed their mixture with high-performance liquid chromatography apparatus. Niall and Jack were faced with a very different analysis problem: they were asked to identify 3 unknown chemicals. With over 30 solutions at their disposal, they were able to establish the results of known reactions, and used their findings to solve the problem.

The boys’ combined efforts won them a second place in the competition overall, with Ardingly College just beating them to the trophy. The boys were awarded the runners’ up plate by Professor Ray Jones, President of the Royal Society of Chemistry's Organic Division and Professor of Organic and Biological Chemistry at Loughborough University.

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The Bolton School team with their trophy and Professor Ray Jones

The Bolton School Boys' Division team with their trophy and Professor Ray Jones