Budding Young Scientists Solve Chemical Murder Mystery

64 students from 16 schools in the West Midlands will enjoy an interesting fun-filled day of chemistry at the Salters' Festival of Chemistry to be held at the University of Birmingham on Wednesday 3rd May. Each school will be represented by a team of four 11-13 year olds (Years 7-8).

The day’s activities are focused on the use of Chemistry to solve problems. During the morning the teams will try to solve a chemical murder mystery, ‘The Mystery of Salty Towers’, using their practical and analytical chemistry skills to unravel the clues. The afternoon challenge requires both practical technique and careful working to separate and record the different parts of an unknown sample – all key skills for any budding forensic or environmental chemist. The students will also enjoy a 45 minute lecture, ‘Chemical Magic’, which shows off some unusual and sometimes explosive chemical experiments. All the day’s events will allow the teams to make use of the University’s undergraduate laboratory facilities.

The day will end with a Prizegiving at which all the participants will be given individual fun prizes and participation certificates. The winning teams will also be awarded cash prizes for their schools.

Dr Ian Gameson from the University’s School of Chemistry said: “These Chemistry festivals are an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the fun, practical side of the subject. It is great to be able to show students from local schools just how many areas of chemistry relate to our everyday lives.”

The Salters' Festivals of Chemistry are an initiative of The Salters' Institute, whose aim is to promote the appreciation of chemistry and related sciences among the young. The Festival at the University of Birmingham is one of a series of fifty-two festivals which are taking place at universities throughout the UK and the Republic of Ireland between March and June 2006.

Ends

For more information please contact: Kate Chapple, Press Office, University of Birmingham, Tel: 0121 4142772, Mob: 07789 921164

For Information about the Salter’s Festivals of Chemistry contact: Miss Lesley Grout, Communications Manager, The Salters' Institute, Tel No: 020 7628 5962 ext 260, E-mail: publicity@salters.co.uk, Website:www.festivalsofchemistry.co.uk

Notes to Editors

1. The Festivals are one-day events for schools held at Universities throughout the UK and Ireland. The first series of Festivals was held in 1991. Festivals were then held in 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998 and 2000. Since 2000 Festivals have been held every year. In 2006 there will be a series of fifty-two Festivals between March and June. The aim of the Festivals is to make chemistry more exciting, more relevant and fun to students aged 11 to 13 years and to encourage schools to set up their own chemistry clubs.

2. Competing schools are represented by a team of four students from years 7 or 8 (or equivalent in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland). Cash prizes for the winning schools totalling £350 are awarded at each Festival and all participants receive fun prizes and certificates. During the last five years over 12,500 students have experienced the fun of practical chemistry through the Salters' Festivals of Chemistry.

3. Since 1991 sponsorship in support of the Festivals has been raised from over one hundred companies. Many of the Festivals are also sponsored by local companies.

4. The Salters’ Company is one of the Great Twelve City of London Livery Companies and was founded in 1394 for the mediaeval trade in salt. The Company’s activities today are centred on charitable and educational giving. The Salters' Institute, established in 1918, and now the Flagship Charity of the Salters' activities, aims to promote the appreciation of chemistry and related sciences among the young and to encourage careers in the teaching of chemistry and in the UK chemical and allied industries.