8 August 2017

Students go for Gold at The Cambridge Chemistry Challenge

With a passion for chemistry, and impeccable scientific skill sets, three first year Portsmouth College students faced their toughest challenge yet in the form of ‘The Lower Sixth Challenge’.

Run by Cambridge University Chemistry Department, St Catharine's College Cambridge, Corpus Christi College Cambridge and The Goldsmith' Company, this highly prestigious competition sees students stretched beyond their current knowledge and ability, and challenges them to exhibit the level of knowledge and skill expected at University.


A ninety-minute written paper is prepared by an experienced team of teachers and university chemists. Entrants have to sit this paper, with only about 7-8% of students being awarded a gold, and just 15% gaining silver.


Portsmouth College are delighted to announce that three students have been successful in the challenge, with Peter McKnight and Michael Hirst receiving golds, and Nathan Clark receiving silver.


Adam Turner, Head of Science and Teacher of Chemistry, said:

“This is an extremely challenging and prestigious competition, and the students have to show initiative and work independently in preparing for the exam. All this on top of also developing their College studies. The high level of achievement puts them into a very small and select group from the best schools internationally and reflects as much on their character as their Chemistry knowledge."


Michael Hirst, currently studying maths, further maths, chemistry and physics, said:

“The Cambridge Chemistry Challenge was a fantastic and invaluable experience. It tested and strengthened my determination, my knowledge of Chemistry, my intuition and, above all, my problem solving skills. I hope to partake in more challenges like this in the coming academic year, and I would like to thank the College for giving me and my colleagues the chance to take the exam.”


Nathan Clark, studying chemistry, maths and physics, adds:

“I found the challenge really enjoyable and am really proud of our results.”


All three students performed exceptionally well and are ones to watch for the future!

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