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CSFC Student receives Roentgenium Award

Posted: 17th November 2015

CSFC student Bhurint Siripanthtong has recently been awarded the top prize of a Roentgenium Award in the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge.

The 2015 paper had over 8,500 entries, split into the various award categories and only 0.8% of those students received a Roentgenium Award.

This rigorous paper is significantly tougher than normal A-Level papers, being highly deductive in nature and truly testing candidates’ ability to solve chemical problems with the minimum of information provided by the questions. It also is quite similar in style to University chemistry papers.

The kind of higher-order analytical thinking required for success in this paper is highly prized by universities when selecting their candidates for degree courses, so participation in a paper such as this demonstrates a strong resilience and resourcefulness on the part of the student choosing to do so.

This is how Bhurint describes his experience:

The Roentgenium Award winners’ reception at the Wellcome Collection in London is the last event for the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge 2015.  55 students participated by sharing their interests in different elements. This event is intellectually motivating since the recipients prepared the talks using their thoughtful analysis to come up with interesting ideas that might be neglected or misunderstood in schools. I was surprised at different facts presented such as the process of  creating the durable paint on iPod whose colour actually ‘sinks’ into its metallic oxide surface, and a wonderful equation linking developmental science and chemistry, namely, tadpole + iodine ⟶ frog!

I gave a talk about Hafnium, the transition element, once thought to be a rare Earth metal. The interesting part is how Niels Bohr used his atomic theory to correctly predict the nature of this element, and disproved an incorrect claim made by scientists about their discovery of this element.

Overall, not only did this event offer me the knowledge, but it also gave me an opportunity to meet and connect to friends, coming from different parts of the country but sharing similar interests. I do encourage students to take part in this intellectually challenging, yet rewarding, competition.

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