Chemistry students assist crystal research

St Aloysius College's Chemistry students, Clare, Nick and Laura with Mr Anderson
Clare Scalon, Nick Daly and Laura Doherty with Mr Anderson at St Aloysius College

Three former students of St Aloysius’ College in Glasgow have collaborated with the University of Glasgow in some major scientific research. During their final year in the Green Blazer, Clare Scanlon, Nick Daly and Laura Docherty, then of S6 at the college, were selected to assist the research to find a new type of crystal in the field of solid-state ionic-chemistry.

Dr Daniel Price, the researcher leading the project for the University of Glasgow, explained that Advanced Higher chemistry students were selected because the research required a large number of contributors who were competent in the subject. Clare, Nick and Laura all achieved A Grades in both Higher and Advanced Higher Chemistry and were chosen from students from seven schools to assist the research.

“While growing crystals does not require specialist equipment, and finding something new may only require good observation, actually proving you have a new material, and fully characterising it requires quite sophisticated measurements,” explained Dr Price.

Taking responsibility for their research

Although the project did not find a new crystal this time around, the evidence gathered by the Aloysians will contribute towards the research paper and act as a foundation for further research and collaborations between St Aloysius’ College and the University of Glasgow.

John Anderson, the Head of Chemistry at the college who guided Clare, Nick and Laura in their research, said he was thrilled with the input of the Aloysians, describing them as "top students, fantastically able, super enthusiastic, and very down to earth”.  He said that all three were ideally suited to this collaborative project: “They required little supervision and took responsibility for the planning and implementation of the work. When things didn’t go to plan, they reorganised themselves and worked through the problem.”

Clare, Nick and Laura are all now going onto University, with Clare and Nick set to study Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Edinburgh University, whilst Laura is going on to study Medicine at Glasgow University.