Approximately 80 students from 20 schools across the province of Leinster recently enjoyed an exciting day of scientific exploration at the Salters’ Festival of Chemistry, which was held by the School of Chemistry at Trinity College Dublin. Each school was represented by a team of four 11-13 year olds, who took part in a variety of chemistry practicals, experiments and challenges.
During the morning the teams competed in a hands-on, practical activity called ‘The Salters’ Challenge - The Blot Strokes Again!’ in which they used their analytical chemistry skills. In the afternoon, they engaged in the ‘University Challenge’, a practical activity in which they were charged with the task of preparing a chemical recipe for making seven different colours. The day was rounded off with a ‘Flashes and Bangs’ lecture, which involved several demonstrations and required active participation from the students.
Eoin Scanlan, Assistant Professor in Chemistry at Trinity, said: “The Salters event brings chemistry to life for the students because they get to actively participate in chemistry practicals and demonstrations. Events like this are very important for inspiring the next generation of scientists.”
All participants were given individual prizes and participation certificates, while the winning teams were awarded prizes for their schools. The Festival was one of 47 that took place at 38 individual universities throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland between March and June, 2014.
These Festivals are an initiative of The Salters’ Institute, whose aims are to promote the appreciation of chemistry and related sciences among the young, and to encourage careers in the teaching of chemistry and in chemical and allied industries. The Institute worked in partnership with the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2014 as part of this initiative.