Thursday, 25 September 2014

Famous Bruxellois

On a very sunny September Saturday morning RSC Belgium members and friends were taken on a fascinating ramble through the centre of old Brussels. Our experienced guide was Sarah Strange and the two-hour stroll proved to be entertaining and informative in equal measure.

The starting point for our Saturday morning excursion was the Ravenstein entrance of the Bozar at 10h00 sharp and our route took us through the Park and Sablon area eventually terminating in Grand Place just after noon.

Brussels has always been a meeting point of celebrities from all walks of life and myriad nationalities. The city boasts 300 foreign embassies, more than anywhere else! Many foreign visitors have left their mark on local and world history and sometimes their impressions of Belgium in writing, but there are many “locals” who deserve to be put in the limelight. In this two-hour walking tour the term “citizen” is used loosely and encompasses those who have just passed through as well as lived in Brussels.

Our grand tour brought us into contact with the Bronte sisters, Lord Byron, Walter Scott, the Dukes of Brabant, Godfrey du Boullion, Thomas Gresham, Reubens, Voltaire, Jacques Brel and Edith Cavell to mention just a few!

Poetry in Motion
Our guide Sarah Strange is also an author and, in particular, has been writing poems since she was seven years old. She finds inspiration all around: nature, people, life events, current affairs, emotions and the quirky side of life. You can find out more about her writing on Sarah's blog.

And this month sees the publication of a beautiful hardback volume of her touching and uplifting poems. Sarah will be giving a reading and signing copies of her book at Waterstones on Friday 10 October from 7pm.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Chemistry Challenge 2014 Winners Announced

The results of the RSC Belgium Chemistry Challenge 2014 have been announced and the talented prize winners will be picking up their winnings at a special RSC Belgium event on 02 October at the British School of Brussels from 19:30. This year we received 110 eligible entries from eight international schools in this testing challenge of young people's chemical knowledge and initiative.

The RSC Belgium Chemical Challenge has three sections:

  • A/ A chemistry multiple choice paper
  • B/ A structured questions on chemistry, and
  • C/ A 'Thinking Matters' paper that is not chemistry based

And the top results were as follows:

Section A: Multiple choice
First was Charles Wackwitz of the International School of Brussels (ISB).
Joint second were John Eade of the British School of Brussels (BSB) and Alexander Van Tuyll of the European School at Mol (Mol).
And three students tied for third prize: Bram Den Dekker and Pierre-Emmanuel Grimm of ISB and Juan Attard of the European School Brussels 1 at Uccle (EEB1).

Section B: Structured Questions
First was Joe Hawkins of St Johns International School Waterloo (St. Johns).
Second was John Eade of BSB.
Third prize was claimed by four students: Lion Seiffert of the European School Brussels 3 at Ixelles (EEB3), and Bram Den Dekker, Sinan Akosman and Charlie De Backer of ISB.

Section C: Thinking Matters
First was Emily Croasdale (BSB).
Joint second were Julia Clarke and Jamie Burnett (both EEB3).
Joint third were Catalina Poraicu and Juan Attard both at EEB1.

Keith Price Prize
John Eade of BSB also receives the Keith Price Prize for best overall score in sections A and B. First prize winners recieve €50, second €25 and third places €10 with the winner of the Keith Price Prize receiving an additional €100.

Well done to everyone that took part! Every student that entered the competition receives a certificate of participation. We will be running the Challenge again in 2015. And look out for our Top of the Bench International eliminator coming soon!

The Challenge
The Chemistry Challenge competition was devised and compiled by RSC Belgium treasurer Rita Woodward and is open to students from any school in Belgium. The questions are set in English, but may be answered in English, French, Dutch or German.

The competition is open to school students in their penultimate year of High School (usually aged 16 – 17), and consists of a 2 hour written test held in school and designed to demonstrate the participants’ knowledge of chemistry and their ability to think logically.

Award event: Origins and evolution
The Chemistry Challenge prizes will be handed out to the winners prior to our next evening lecture event with Dr. Nick Lane on the Origin and Evolution of Life.

Nick Lane is an evolutionary biochemist and writer in the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London (UCL). He was awarded the inaugural UCL Provost's Venture Research Prize for his research on evolutionary biochemistry and bioenergetics and his current work focuses on the origin of life, and the origin and evolution of eukaryotes. He was a founding member of the UCL Consortium for Mitochondrial Research, and leads the UCL Research Frontiers Origins of Life programme.