Rydal Penrhos pupil reaches final of prestigious national competition
15th December 2015

A budding scientist at a Colwyn Bay school has been named as a finalist for a prestigious award.

Alex Bytheway, an upper sixth pupil at Rydal Penrhos, has reached the final of the National Science and Engineering Competition after impressing judges in his first round application.

The 17 year-old will now give a public talk at the Big Bang Fair in March, which expects to bring more than 75,000 people to the Birmingham NEC.

His talk will also be judged by a celebrity panel that has included Professor Brian Cox, Professor Jim Al-Khalili and Sir Tim Hunt in previous years.

In order to reach the national finals, Alex had to produce a video describing current research to an audience without a strong or experienced background in science.

The pupil discussed Haemanthamine extraction from Narcissus to treat Malaria, and judges described his entry as “clear that the student fully understands the project and its importance to society”.

Alex said: “I wasn’t really expecting to do so well but I am delighted to have made it to the final.

“Giving a public talk in-front of esteemed judges and a large crowd will no doubt be daunting, but it will also be a fantastic experience and one I am really looking forward to.”

If the young scientist is successful, he will receive a cash prize at a glitzy awards ceremony to be held next year.

This is the latest in a series of accolades for Alex, who was praised for his research whilst working on the Nuffield Research Placement at Bangor University during the summer.

He was also awarded the first ever ChemNet Reactivity Award, which was given to him on behalf of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The National Science and Engineering Competition is open to all 11-18 year olds living in the UK and in full-time education.

It aims to recognise and reward young people's achievements in all areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

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