Eastern Region Crystal Growing Competition

The winners in the Eastern Region Crystal Growing Competition were presented with their prizes in a ceremony held at the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre on 18 March by Dr Max Perutz. Nearly 140 schools took part in the competition, in which the entrants had five weeks to grow a large, high quality crystal of potash alum (aluminium potassium sulphate dodecahydrate). The contest was open to all schools in the Eastern Counties (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk) in three age groups (under 11, under 14 and Open); the chemical and hints on crystal growing were provided by the organizers. The best crystals entered were on display in Cambridge University's SET98 Week event held in the Department of Chemistry in Lensfield Road on 14 March 1998.

The crystals were judged on five quality criteria (presence of occlusions, correct morphology, edges, faces and clarity) as well as on mass.

Under 11:
1st: Jess Roach; 2nd: Kaycee Girling; 3rd: Ben Leslie (all from Morley Memorial, Cambridge).
Under 14:
1st Hailey Trinier and Claire McDonald Payne (Hitchin Girls') ;
2nd: Samuel Goodacre, William Paley, Dominic and Sarah Schaeffer (Anglo European, Ingatestone);
3rd: Claire Marshall, Laura Grosvenor, Navjit Parmar and Lisa Green (Hitchin Girls')
Prize giving

The photograph was taken by Nathan Pitt of the University Chemical Laboratory, Cambridge.It shows Hailey on the left, with Max Perutz presenting a prize to Claire.

Jenny Kendall and Harbir Pattar (Hitchin Girls');
Rebecca Hudson and Hazel White (Hitchin Girls');
The Science Club (Cottenham Village College).

The event was organized and run by Dr Harry Powell of the University Library, Cambridge, and Elaine Wilson of Homerton College, Cambridge. Funding for the event was provided by the CCDC, local sections of the Mid-Anglia RSC, SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals and the British Association for Crystal Growth.

Further details of the competition are at http://www.mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk/harry/crystal/ including tentative plans for a National crystal growing competition with the judging and presentation to coincide with Chemistry Week this autumn, followed by an International event next year, to coincide with the IUCr Congress which is being held in Glasgow in August 1999.

Harry Powell

Page last updated 14 July 1998

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