SSPC National Crystal Growing Competition Winners Announced!

Studying crystals after the event with SSPC Education and Outreach Officer Dr Sarah Hayes was Youbeel Hagi, Galway Community College, Galway who was awarded joint first place in the competition. Photo: Alan Place

 “Crystals are all around us and in every aspect of our lives, from chocolate to medicine to paints and plastics” Prof Kieran Hodnett, SSPC Scientific Director.

The Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre (SSPC) today (19th March 2015) announced the winners of its first SSPC National Crystal Growing Competition, which was launched as part of Science Week in November 2014, to celebrate the International Year of Crystallography. The SSPC National Crystal Growing Competition was open to primary and post-primary schools from across Ireland.

At today’s award ceremony, Professor Michael Zaworotko, one of the world’s top 20 chemists, announced the winners of the SSPC National Crystal Growing Competition as Youbeel Hagi, Galway Community College, Galway and Jason Folan, Colaiste Bhaile Chlair, Galway. Due to the exceptional quality of the entries, Professor Zaworotko also announced two runners up as Oisin Tobin, Colaiste Bhaile Chlair, Galway and Clare McKernan, St Aloysius’ Secondary School, Cork. The competition judging criteria centred on the quality of the single crystals that were grown by students, considering elements such as the definition of the crystal faces, along with the clarity and size of the crystal, which are important factors that need to be taken into consideration when controlling crystal growth within the pharmaceutical industry when making medicines.

Judging panel members for the SSPC National Crystal Growing Competition paid tribute to the high standard and excellent quality of entries. Professor Kieran Hodnett, SSPC Scientific Director said:

“The standard and quality of the crystals submitted for the SSPC National Crystal Growing Competition was outstanding. It is very encouraging to see such a high level of enthusiasm by the students and their teachers in growing the crystals over the last number of months”.

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said:

“As one of Science Foundation Ireland’s twelve research centres, SSPC has a critical role supporting Ireland’s pharmaceutical sector. Ireland’s first SSPC National Crystal Growing Competition is an important element of SFI’s public engagement remit and SSPC’s education and outreach programme, which aims to inspire young minds as to the possibilities and application of science in our everyday lives. Congratulations to the deserving winners.”

Jon O’Halloran, SSPC General Manager, said:

“The SSPC National Crystal Growing Competition is an active part of the SSPC’s education and outreach programme, which is dedicated to developing the next generation of scientists and crystallographers in Ireland. The SSPC look forward to engaging with Ireland’s schools on future initiatives”.

The crystals submitted to the SSPC National Crystal Growing Competition will be kept on public display at SSPC headquarters at the University of Limerick.

Click here to view more pictures from the event

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