Issue 1
Monday, 27 February 2017
Charles Darwin University
E-news
The Cowlcium Trophy will be presented to the school that most accurately measures calcium in milk
The Cowlcium Trophy will be presented to the school that most accurately measures calcium in milk

Chemists launch ‘Cowlcium’ challenge

By Patrick Nelson

Charles Darwin University is poised to award a trophy to the high school that wins the first “Cowlcium” chemistry challenge.

Senior Lecturer in Chemistry Dr Vinuthaa Murthy said about 190 mostly Year 12 students from 10 Top End senior colleges “had a go” in the fun activity at Casuarina campus last week.

“We are calling it the Cowlcium Trophy, a name that we coined that combines the element calcium, with the shape of the trophy, which takes the form of a cow.” 

Dr Murthy said Year 12 chemistry students were required to undertake curriculum-based practical activities that involved laboratory equipment available only at CDU.

“While they were in our labs we challenged them to measure the level of calcium in several samples of milk, using an atomic absorption spectrophotometer.

“The school that most accurately measures the calcium will win the trophy. We will notify the winner after all results have been submitted.” 

Dr Murthy said students undertook other safe and supervised chemistry activities during their visit.

“They participated in a thin layer chromatography experiment to separate a number of amino acids from a specially prepared sample.

“We took the opportunity to talk to them about chemistry as a discipline and hopefully to inspire some of them to consider a career in what is a fascinating and significant field.

“Australia needs good chemists,” she said. “There will always be demand for good chemists.”