Meeting report

Singapore crystal growth challenge

[Prize-winning crystal] The prize-winning crystal weighed 588.5 g with dimensions 9.0×8.6×7.5 mm3.
Who isn’t fascinated by the beauty of single crystals? It is always a challenge to grow large single crystals while maintaining their aesthetic beauty, flawless faces, sharp corners and edges. In spite of technical advances, the growth of single crystals is still considered to be an art that holds great fascination for young and old. The Dept of Chemistry at the Nat’l U. of Singapore and Singapore Nat’l Inst. of Chemistry (SNIC) organized the 5th Crystal Growing Challenge for students. The main aim of the challenge is to discover the importance of good technique and to show that science is fun. The students can demonstrate their creativity and learn about the associated science.

There were three categories in this year’s competition, Junior (for secondary school students), Senior (for junior college and polytechnic students) and Open levels. For each category, there were first, second, third and two meritorious prizes carrying cash awards and trophies for the winners in each category. For the junior level category, the students grew ‘Chrome Alum’ (KCr(SO4)2.12H2O). The biggest crystal, weighing more than half a kilogram and prepared by River Valley High School students, was adjudged to be the winner in this category (see Figure 1). The senior level students grew KDP (KH2PO4) crystals (see IUCr Newsletter, Vol. 8, No. 2, 2000, page 24). The participants in the open level were given the task of growing a crystal inside a crystal. This year’s winning crystal had triple layers of three different double sulfates with an octahedral shape. There were 104 entries from 59 secondary schools, 18 entries from 9 junior colleges and polytechnics and 36 entries for the open level category. L. Lim, Deputy Director, Biomedical Center of A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research) was the guest of honour for the prize presentation ceremony. This year’s competition was sponsored by A*STAR, Bruker Singapore Pte Ltd, Lee Foundation of Singapore, Hyflux Ltd, and Singapore Nat’l Academy of Science.

Details of this challenge and the names of the winners are available at www.chemistry.nus.edu.sg/ncgc1.htm.

Jagadese J. Vittal and Edward R.T. Tiekink