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15th June 2017, 3:23pm
Festival of Chemistry inspires Lincolnshire’s young scientists
Students at the Salter's Festival of Chemistry Young chemists from across Lincolnshire donned lab coats and safety specs as they took part in a national science festival.

In partnership with the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Salters’ Festival of Chemistry travels to universities across the UK to showcase how exciting, relevant and fun the subject can be and to encourage secondary school pupils aged 11-13 to learn about the many career paths and education opportunities in chemistry and allied industries.

Pupils from across Lincolnshire had the chance to attend the Salters’ Festival of Chemistry for the first time, when it was held at the University of Lincoln on Tuesday 6th June.

The University of Lincoln opened its doors to pupils and teachers from eight local schools, with the University’s School of Chemistry setting a series of challenges in state-of-the-art laboratories to develop the students’ practical and analytical chemistry skills.

The group of almost 30 young scientists took part in a challenge organised by the Salters’ Institute called Who is the prime suspect?, in which they analysed forensic clues within a mocked-up crime scene to pinpoint the perpetrator. University lecturers and scientists judged them on their laboratory behaviours as well as their analytical skills. The judges later rewarded the top three groups with prizes. Students also participated in a demanding ‘University Challenge’, in which they were tasked with identifying four different unknown chemical compounds.

The students, who travelled from schools in Sleaford, Boston, Brigg, Caistor, Tattershall, Lincoln and Stickney village, also enjoyed a ‘chemical magic demonstration’ and were presented with prizes throughout the one-day festival.

Dr Tasnim Munshi, host of the event and Deputy Head of the School of Chemistry at the University of Lincoln, said: “We were delighted to host the Salters’ Festival of Chemistry for the first time and we very much look forward to working with the Salters’ Institute in the future. It is so important to highlight how fascinating Chemistry can be and to open the eyes of young scientists to the many opportunities in the STEM industries. It was wonderful to see how enthusiastic the students were about the challenges, the university facilities, and Chemistry as a subject.”

Mrs Marie Blackwell, who attended with a group of year eight pupils from Sir John Nelthorpe School in Brigg, said: “Our pupils have had a great time at the festival – they are working so well as a team and have shown such interest in the challenges they’ve faced, so we have been talking about launching a new science club at our school so that they can continue to enjoy different tasks and competitions. It has also been extremely beneficial for them to see the university and use the great facilities, as it really gives them something to aspire to in the future.”

The Salters’ Festival at the University of Lincoln was one of 49 events taking place at UK universities in 2017, all organised by the Salters’ Institute, which plays a major role in the promotion of chemical education, the support of chemistry teaching, and the encouragement of young people to pursue careers in the UK chemical industries.

Laura Seamons, Programme Co-ordinator for the Salters’ Institute, said: “We were delighted to bring the Salters’ Festival to Lincoln for the first time to reach out to new and more rural secondary schools, and we are so pleased that the day has been such a success. The festivals have been running since 1991 and are still growing and developing year-on-year. The festival at Lincoln has provided a really valuable opportunity for the young scientists to see exactly how chemistry relates to every-day life, and we hope this encourages them to continue their interest in science for years to come.”

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