Success in national Top of the Bench competition

A team of four boys from QE took third place in the national final of the annual Top of the Bench competition run by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Pranesh Varadarajan and Alexander Wingrave, of Year 9, along with Bhavik Mehta from Year 10 and Year 11’s Abishek Mukherjee won through the Chilterns and Middlesex qualifier to the final, where they took on 29 schools from across the UK and Belgium. (The team is pictured below with Dr. Jason Riley of Imperial College, London.)

The annual competition is run by the RSC for students aged 14-16 and attracts entries from hundreds of schools.

“This is a fantastic achievement,” said QE’s Head of Science, Dr Malcolm Russell. “The boys did exceptionally well and were rightly both pleased with, and proud of, their performance. Their teacher, Dr Elizabeth Kuo, clearly prepared them very well for the challenge, ably assisted by Year 12 student Mehul Jesani. It was a great day and the outcome was excellent.”""

The final, which was held at Imperial College’s South Kensington campus, comprised two elements – a test of factual chemical knowledge and a practical, problem-solving exercise. The practical was based on an experiment on rates of reaction, requiring understanding of dilutions and the associated calculations.

“The competition demanded the highest standards from the competitors, with some of the questions using material that is of A-level standard; that is, well above what might be expected of their age,” added Dr Russell.

The boys were each awarded a £15 Amazon voucher at a prize-giving ceremony on the day.