High School Students Visit Campus for Wisconsin Crystal-Growing Competition Awards Ceremony

Wisconsin students and a teacher who won prizes as part of the 2015 Wisconsin Crystal-growing Contest visited the UW-Madison Chemistry Building in May 2015.
Students and teachers from schools throughout Wisconsin visited the UW-Madison Department of Chemistry for the Wisconsin Crystal-growing Competition Award Ceremony on May 22, 2015. Students and a teacher who received awards are pictured here with Dr. Ilia Guzei, competition organizer.

Today, students and teachers from across the state visited the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Chemistry for an awards program and tour as part of the Wisconsin Crystal-Growing Competition.

This spring, about 500 students and teachers spent 8 weeks growing blue crystals from cupric sulfate. Each school submitted the highest quality crystals from local school contests to the state-wide competition, which is hosted by the Department of Chemistry’s Molecular Structure Laboratory.

Organized by the lab’s director, Dr. Ilia Guzei, the competition is in its second year. Guzei initiated the program in honor of the 2014 International Year of Crystallography and continued the program at the request of the teachers. The goal of the competition is to engage students in a fun, hands-on science activity that is both challenging and accomplishable. The awards program allows students to meet expert crystallographers and other scientists in person and see where and how they study crystals in the course of their research.

The Molecular Structure Laboratory hosted an awards program today featuring University of North Carolina chemistry professor Daniel Rabinovich, who gave a lecture about crystallography on postage stamps. Awards were given in the best overall crystal, best quality crystal, best teacher’s crystal, and best crystal-inspired artwork categories. Winning schools received cash prizes, and winning students received book prizes and certificates.

Schools from 18 Wisconsin counties participated, with entries from Brown, Dane, Dodge, Fon du Lac, Green Lake, Kenosha, Marathon, Marquette, Ozaukee, Polk, Racine, Rock, Trempealeau, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, Waupaca, and Winnebago counties.

Award-winners are:

Best Overall Crystal

  • First prize: Braden Smith (Blair-Taylor High School)
  • Second prize: Aaron Stange (Ashwaubenon High School)
  • Third prize: Britney Robinson and Kendra Besaw (Berlin High School)

Best Quality Crystal

  • Ruby Kleijwegt and Anika Scholz-Ruf (Verona Area High School)

Best Teacher’s Crystal

  • Jim Prosser (Fon du Lac High School)

Best Crystal-Inspired Artwork

  • First prize: Brenden Haskins and Kennedy Harris (FJ Turner High School)
  • Second prize: Elinor Leafgren (Oshkosh North High School)
  • Third prize: Wyatt Sweet (FJ Turner High School)