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UC Student In Top 20 Of 20,000 Chemistry Students

UC Student In Top 20 Of 20,000 Chemistry Students In International Competition

November 20, 2012

A University of Canterbury student has made it to the top 20 out of 20,000 entries worldwide in an international science competition in the United Kingdom.

UC chemistry student Sandra Atkinson said the excitement didn’t hit her me until she found out just how many entries there were.

Her supervising lecturer Dr Sarah Masters said for Atkinson to make the top 20 out of 20,000 entries was phenomenal. She was the only New Zealander to be a finalist in the chemistry communications contest.

The international event was run by the United Kingdom’s Royal Society of Chemistry with finalist entries published in their Chemistry World journal.

Atkinson wrote her piece for the competition on the use of solvents in chemistry. She discussed the potential danger to the environment and wildlife by some solvents but how they could be a necessary stepping stone to greener chemistry methods.

She said solvents were used every day in chemistry and the implications of them were often overlooked.

``We can consider methods of recycling solvents that will ideally lead to no net solvent waste. Even if the cost of advancement inhibits us, we should take it upon ourselves to consider the effect that our research will have on our environment as a priority. Finding the answer to the world’s problems will mean nothing if there is no sustainable world to live in,’’ Atkinson said.

She is studying for a PhD developing methods to explain and clarify the molecular structure of substances when they were gases to advance understanding of molecular properties.



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