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The National Crystal Growing Competition 2023 launched
January 25, 2023

Wednesday 25th Jan – Science Foundation Ireland research centres iCRAG, the SFI Research Centre for Applied Geosciences, and SSPC, the SFI Research Centre for Pharmaceuticals, have announced the 2023 National Crystal Growing Competition officially open. The competition is open to all primary and post-primary level students and individuals, challenging them to grow the biggest and highest quality single crystal.

The National Crystal Growing Competition is an important scientific outreach activity that will challenge participants to grow crystals using ingredients readily available in the home. This is a fun hands-on STEM experience and an exciting competition that aims to introduce students to the exciting, challenging world of growing crystals. So, if you are looking for a fun and educational learning opportunity for students interested in chemistry, this is a great start.

Martin McHugh, Project and Public Engagement Officer for SSPC commented: “It is through education and outreach activities such as this that we will inspire the next generation of scientists and crystallographers. The process is safe and simple, and is designed to encourage students to develop an interest in chemistry. One of the most fun ways to interact with future scientists is through this crystal growing competition.”

Elspeth Sinclair, Education and Public Engagement Officer for iCRAG added: “The competition is open to individuals, in small groups or class groups from both primary and post-primary level. We encourage all students to enter to develop their scientific interest for this exciting challenge and try their hand at growing their own single crystals through this national contest that will be judged by professional chemists. We are looking forward to seeing the results and hope all those involved will understand and discover the science behind this process.”

The National Crystal Growing Competition is an important component SFI’s public engagement remit. The aim of the competition is to have fun with science and also inspire young minds to explore careers in the field. The competition challenges individuals or groups to grow a single crystal from a variety of compounds such as: Salt (Sodium chloride or Potassium chloride), Alum, Sugar, or Copper sulphate.

The competition originated in 2014 with the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr) Crystal growing competition, as part of the celebrations for the International Year of Crystallography. It has since grown from strength to strength and is a great addition to the many SFI outreach programmes hosted in Ireland.

To enter the competition, participants must send a picture of their crystal to experts at iCRAG and SSPC before the closing date of April, 28, 2023. More information, including crystal recipes and growing instructions can be found on the National Crystal Growing Competition websites, bit.ly/crystalcomp and https://sspc.ie/education/.

iCRAG is hosted at the University College Dublin and SSPC at the University of Limerick, both working with a host of partners.

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