Cambridge Chemistry Challenge

The top 30 scorers from last summers Year 12 Cambridge Chemistry Challenge were invited to Cambridge in September to an event hosted by Dr Peter Wothers, St Catherine's College and the Cambridge University Chemistry department. Well done to James who attended the event with the aim of furthering his knowledge and understanding of interesting chemical concepts.

Over the course of the week they experienced a series of lectures and practical's including:

  • a lecture on a different way of thinking about organic molecules using the amount of heteroatoms bonded to each carbon atom to better understand the interactions between molecules
  • a lecture on Schrodinger's equation and how it can be used to determine the wavefunction of particles in different environments and their energy while in that state
  • a lecture on the structure of electrons in atoms using concepts such as wave functions, symmetry, and quantum numbers
  • a practical involving two different titrations to determine the concentrations of copper and chlorine in an inorganic copper (II) complex to determine its empirical formula and therefore structure
  • a practical method to determine the critical micelle concentration of the detergent SDS using the effect this has on the rate of change of the conductivity of the solution
  • a talk on the history of the periodic table; on which St Catherine's College has an impressive collection of original documents

Overall, it was a very positive learning experience and one James will certainly encourage younger students to strive to achieve.