Thursday, 29 September 2011

Crowds and Prizes at Emsley talk

Dr John Emsley's lecture on 'A Healthy, Wealthy, Sustainable World' through chemistry attracted well over 70 members and friends to the British School of Brussels on the evening of Monday 19 September. The event was also the venue for presentation of prizes to students who scored well in the section's recent Chemistry Challenge competition.

John Emsley (right) is a champion of chemistry and his talk was based around his new book of the same name that was specifically written for International Year of Chemistry 2011 and describes the importance of chemistry in everyday life, the benefits that chemical science currently brings to society, and how this can continue on a truly sustainable basis.

“The world stands at a crossroads,” said John. “But what route to the future should we take?” A route to a sustainable society beckons John suggests, but requires a significant shift from a material world founded on fossil fuels, such as oil and coal, to one where materials are derived from biomass. “A great deal of emphasis on sustainability is solely on energy and fuels, but there is much more to it,” explained John. “And chemistry is vital to enable the transition to a bio-based society.”

Student prizes
But a key requirement to do this is more young people studying science and engineering. “Chemistry and the other sciences rely heavily on young people with vision and energy. This is the vital resource that we need to tap into if society wants a truly sustainable future,” John concluded.

RSC Belgium is playing its part in engaging with school students through a variety of initiatives including its recent Chemistry Challenge competition. This tough paper-based test of knowledge and initiative was devised by Rita Woodward and split into three sections: a chemistry multiple choice paper, structured questions on chemistry, and a 'Thinking Matters' paper that was not chemistry based.

Prizes were awarded to top performers in each section with the winners drawn from the British School of Brussels (BSB), International School of Brussels (ISB), St. Johns International School and the European Schools at Ixelles and Uccle. Some of the winners recieved their cash prizes and cerificates from section chair Prof. Bob Crichton at the John Emsley lecture (see above).

Keith Price Prize
The best overall entry in the two chemistry sections was from Krithika Swaminathan (pictured left) a studnet at at St. Johns school. Krithika will be the first recipient of the Keith Price Prize established in memory of one of RSC Belgium's founding members who died earlier this year.

Krithika and her family have recently left Belgium for Michigan in the USA, but the section hopes to keep in touch with her. Well done to Krithika and all the students who entered our 2011 Chemistry Challenge!

Look out for the 2012 edition!

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