The Salters Festival at the Chemistry Department of UCC is one of twenty five such festivals which take place between March and June in the UK and Ireland. Each year, the UK based Salters Company invites secondary schools to participate in Salters Festival by sending a team of four students to represent their school at their regional Salters centre. Students from first and second year are the target audience. The aim of the Festival is to enable young students to explore the fun of chemistry and help plant the seed long term interest in the chemistry and its applications.
While at UCC each school participates in two challenges – The Salters Challenge and The University Challenge. A Chemistry Magic Show is also held. In The Salters Challenge, teams take on the role of forensic scientists. Teams are asked to perform a series of chemistry experiments which involves the analysis of evidence taken from a murder scene and from potential suspects involved in the crime. The aims of the experiments are to show how chemistry can be used in a practical way to find out how the murder was committed and who committed the murder. In the University Challenge one of the very busy technicians has a major problem! The task for each team during this challenge is to figure out how to solve the problem!
Prizes are also given to the top three teams from each challenge. Those judging the teams look for how well the students are working as teams, their skill to handle the chemicals involved in the experiments and their ability to interpret the results from their chemical analyses.