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Top of the Bench

A team of chemists from St John’s hit the ground running in the first few days of the new term, entering a regional heat in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s “Top of the Bench” competition at Charterhouse.

The team was formed of Abby Dwan (Upper Fifth, South House), George Fish (Lower Fifth, North House), Catherine Perkins (Fourth Form, Gloucester House) and Ben Somner-Bogard (Fourth Form, Surrey House). With 10 teams in heat two of four alone and a high score of 129 to beat from Trinity School in heat one, the pressure was felt from the outset. The competition came in two parts. In the first part, each representative tackled a practical exercise and then answered related questions. While Abby got to grips with burettes and performed a series of titration reactions, ultimately deducing the strength of numerous acids, George found his feet working on rates of reaction. At the same time, Catherine and Ben undertook a series of exothermic and endothermic reactions. With the practical section complete all enjoyed a hearty tea courtesy of our hosts. In the second part of the competition, which took place after tea, the four pupils sat a multiple-choice paper and then waited eagerly for the results.

The teachers accompanying the trip, Mr Gregory and Mr Leonard, noticed how all the pupils’ involved enjoyed participating. The top places, alas, did not include St John’s. On this occasion, third place went to Royal Grammar School (Guildford), second to Sir William Perkins' School and first to hosts Charterhouse who had the edge. Congratulations to the winners this year. The Chemistry Department now look forward to bringing another group to compete next year.

Published on 20/01/2014

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