Wednesday, 23 May 2012

TOTB 2012 - The Inside Story

Thanks to Giulia Greed from the European School Brussels II in Woluwe for writing up her Top of the Bench (TOTB) experience for us.

The Scientists (Giulia, Caitriona, Nora, and Thomas - see above) met up with Mrs Deegan at around midday, at Gare du Midi, where we would take the Eurostar to London. Once we had arrived in London, Mrs D bought us underground tickets, and we left for our hotel, which was directly opposite Hyde Park.

We settled in, had a short rest, then we set off again - to Leicester square, to buy tickets for the theatre. We looked at the available shows, and we decided on one of them. Mrs D returned from the ticket booth, clutching the Wicked tickets. The Scientists were all getting hungry, so we went for a meal near Covent Garden, then for an ice cream. Next, we went to the theatre to see Wicked, which was really good. Afterwards, we took the Underground back to the hotel, and then went to sleep.

The next morning, we had breakfast, got ready, then we then left the hotel and set off walking through Hyde Park, to Imperial College (where the competition was being held). While we were walking, Mrs D tested the Scientists and talked to us on chemistry.

Brussels crew
Once we were at Imperial, we were talked through the safety announcements, and soon afterwards we were ushered into a lecture hall, where we would be having the written exam. It only lasted half an hour, then we all had a snack.

Next, was the practical team exam, so we went into the labs. The judges explained: the envelope on the table contained the first challenge. The papers on the side made up the second challenge. Everything we needed was in our workspace. We were given lab coats and gloves. We were known to the judges as “the Brussels crew”.

After the first challenge, we had a one minute break. Then the judges described the second challenge. Both challenges went well. After that we ate lunch, followed by a short break, and then the scientists attended a short lecture on the chemistry in mobile phones.

Next: the award ceremony. Our team came 14th out of 30 - a result we were very pleased with!

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