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On Wednesday 21 January 2015, a Marling team of four, James Testar, Joe Hall, Jake Bean and Piotr Zaretski, set off for the 'Top of the Bench' Chemistry competition at Bristol University’s School of Chemisty. Students from Years 9, 10 and 11 trundled down the motorway with Mr Niven after being chosen for consistently high quality work in Chemistry.

We donned the lab coats, rubber gloves and safety goggles, and were thrown a series of practical challenges using a variety of dangerous chemicals and a mere instruction sheet. Taking place in the university labs, among the best in the UK, we were to compete against 14 other schools through three different experiments and a pen and paper quiz. With a postgraduate student watching over our shoulder, it was a good chance to practice our skills and strengthen our knowledge. A lunch break allowed us to gather our thoughts before a lecture demonstration by Tim Harrison, director of School Outreach. Dissolving flowers or witnessing liquid nitrogen at -197° in a room full of students certainly provoked curiosity. Despite best efforts, the team were not placed in the top three but enjoyed the day out. 

James Testar 11G and Joe Hall 10E


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