Tuesday, 25 September 2018

2018 Chemistry Challenge Winners announced, top prize shared!

The results of the RSC Belgium Chemistry Challenge 2018 were announced and the talented prize winners picked up their winnings at a special RSC Belgium event with Prof David Cole-Hamilton, past president of EuChemS, the European Chemical Society, on the evening of 20 September at the British School of Brussels (BSB). Once again we received some 100 entries from international and European schools in Brussels and beyond for this testing challenge of young people's chemical knowledge and initiative. And for the first time ever we had a dead-heat for the Keith Price Prize for best overall performance in terms of chemical knowledge.

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 place was taken by Faiz Haris Osman from BSB with second place shared by Thomas Groom of BSB and Vincent Sietses from St. Johns International School. Third place was a three-way tie between Linxiao Chen from BSB, Ignacia Bricchi from St. Johns and Maria Tencheva from the European School Brussels IV at Laeken. Some of the prize winners are pictured below with our special guest Prof. David Cole-Hamilton.

Section B: Structured Questions
In this section first prize was awarded to Vincent Sietses from St. Johns with second prize shared by Lara Melloul from the International School of Brussels (ISB) and Faiz Haris Osman of BSB. Two students also shared the third prize: Thomas Groom of BSB and Luan Cruz Pitanattero of the European School at Mol.

Section C: Thinking Matters
Here first place was awarded to Faiz Haris Osman from BSB with Bernard Benz from BSB taking second prize and third place shared between Shahriar Hossain from St. Johns and Natalie Kopp from the European School Brussels III at Ixelles.

Keith Price Prize
For the first time ever, we had a dead-heat for the top spot, the prestigious Keith Price Prize for the best best overall score in the chemistry focused sections (A and B). The joint winners were Faiz Haris Osman from BSB and Vincent Sietses of St. Johns.

First prize winners in each section received €50, second €25 and third places €10 with the winners of the Keith Price Prize receiving an additional €100 each.

Well done to everyone who took part in this year's Chemistry Challenge! Every student that entered the competition receives a certificate of participation. We will be running the Challenge again in 2019.

A Devilish Good Time at Duvel

A sunny Saturday morning greeted the group of RSC Belgium Members and friends who ventured out to visit the Duvel Moortgat Brewery in the Flemish town of Puurs on 15 September 2018. The group were treated to an informative and entertaining guided tour of the brewing and bottling operations of this fiercely independent family business.

The Duvel story started in 1871 when Jan-Leonard Moortgat and his wife founded the brewery on their farm. The beers were developed via a trial and error basis but sales rose and by 1900 Jan-Leonard's two sons Albert and Victor had joined the firm.

A Scottish connection
The First World War brought many English' beers to Belgium with the British army and Albert decided to create a special beer based on the (then current) English model.To do this he needed to acquire specific strains of yeast so in 1918 travelled to the UK, but met some resistance from English brewers. He eventually obtained a sample of yeast from a Scottish brewer - and this strain is still used today to brew Duvel beer.

Using the new yeast the two brothers perfected their recipe and launched it as 'Victory Ale' to mark the end of the war. The name lasted until 1923 when following a 'tasting session' with local dignitaries a shoemaker Mr van De Wouwer was so amazed at the beer's potency that he exclaimed 'This is a real Duvel (Devil)!' And the name stuck.

The famous tulip-shaped Duvel glass first appeared in the late 1960s and was the first of its kind able to take a full 33 cl bottle and allow a more complete experience of the beer's aromas and flavour.

Today the fourth generation of the Moortgat family is keeping the company at the forefront of brewing and expanding their sale internationally while ensuring that quality and sustainability are guaranteed.

Following our guided tour and the group enjoyed a glass or two of the Duvel's production and some other very interesting beers with the help of the skilled beer wranglers at the Brewery's bar.

For more information on the Duvel Brewery and available tours, please visit their website. Highly recommended.