Chemistry knowledge put to the test

22 October 2020

ChemQuest winners
Colby Butler, Peter Gedye and Grayson Moore

Students from Tauranga Boys’ College took out the top prize at the University of Waikato’s ChemQuest challenge held on 21 October at the Hamilton campus.

First place went to Year 12 students Peter Gedye, Colby Butler and Grayson Moore, who were awarded $180 and the prestigious ChemQuest trophy.

The annual chemistry quiz gives Year 12 students the chance to put their chemistry knowledge to the test in a pop quiz-style challenge and compete for generous cash prizes.

Now in its 24th year, the event was attended by 150 students from 15 schools in the wider Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions. Second place went to Hamilton Boys’ High School, third place was awarded to a team from Waikato Diocesan School for Girls, and teams from Hillcrest High School and Hamilton Girls’ High School took out fourth and fifth places respectively.

Key organiser, Associate Professor Michèle Prinsep, says it’s refreshing to see students from across the central North Island enjoying the experience of competing in a chemistry challenge and getting excited about science.

“Participation was slightly down this year compared to 2019 due to schools having to make up for time lost during lockdown, but I’m very pleased with the enthusiasm and competitive spirit of all attendees,” she says.

“Despite the rivalry, students seemed to genuinely enjoy taking part in the quiz and meeting students from other schools. This annual after-school event is also a unique opportunity for students considering coming to university to explore our beautiful campus and to experience first-hand the atmosphere of a large lecture theatre.”

Associate Professor Prinsep says ChemQuest has been running since 1997 and continues to stretch and challenge students interested in chemistry in a fun and constructive way.

“It’s designed to be accessible to Year 12 students but the experience takes them beyond the syllabus,” she says.

“The quiz encourages students to measure themselves against fellow students who share the same passion without it feeling like homework. The music and free pizza add to the atmosphere, plus we even give teams a jeopardy card which doubles their points, just to add a little chaos into the competition.”

ChemQuest is sponsored by the Waikato branch of the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry, Hill Laboratories and the University of Waikato’s School of Science.

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