The Phil Smith Trophy

The Phil Smith Trophy was first awarded in 2008 to a local Thames Valley school. The trophy commemorates the great work done by the late Phil Smith for schools in the Thames Valley area. Every year the trophy is awarded for a local schools competition run by the committee.

The Phil Smith Trophy 2018

The RSC Top of the Bench competition took place at the new undergraduate teaching laboratories of the University of Oxford Chemistry Department on 21 November 2018 during Chemistry Week. Six schools competed with a laboratory exercise and poster competition on plastics. The winner of this year’s Phil Smith Trophy was Oxford High School.

The Phil Smith Trophy 2018 Pic1

The Phil Smith Trophy 2018 pic2

The Phil Smith Trophy 2012

This years Phil Smith Trophy was awarded for the composition of a 'TXT message' to announce a scientific discovery using chemical symbols.  The competition was open to Thames Valley school pupils in Years 9 to 12, and the winners are as follows.  Congratulations, or should I say CoNGRaTULaTiONS!

1st Prize: Lucy S (Charwell), Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

2nd Prize: Hal Quinn (Wellington), Discovery of Oxygen

Discovery of Oxygen

3rd Prize: Sholto Wright (Wellington), Discovery of Nickel

Discovery of Nickel

The Phil Smith Trophy 2011

The schools competition for this year's award of The Phil Smith Trophy was Molecule Model Madness.  Local school pupils were challenged to create a molecular model of their choosing using common household materials, and  to provide one sentence of why they chose their molecule.  This years winner is 'Fullerenes' by Joanne McCabe and Helen Wiggins (Fitzharrys School) - congratulations!

Fullerene by Joanne McCabe and Helen Wiggins

"We chose fullerene because it is an unusual structure and is used in nanotechnology."

Coming a close 2nd and 3rd place respectively were 'Caffeine' by Chloe Winterbourne, Sharon Gaffka, Rebecca Mathews and Liane Wilson (Didcot Girls' School), and 3rd - 'Ribose' by Jenna Field and Amy Mock (Didcot Girls' School).  All the entries can also be viewed in the attachment below.

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The Phil Smith Trophy 2010

Crystal Garden Competition - the Phil Smith Trophy goes to Didcot Girls School for growing the best crystal garden.

The Phil Smith Trophy 2010

The Phil Smith Trophy 2009

The schools competition for this year’s award of The Phil Smith Trophy was Crystal Growing, with the aim of producing a matched pair of alum crystals. The winning entry, from Didcot Girls School has been displayed in the Mineralogy Section of Oxford’s Natural History Museum, along with the winning entries of the Eastern Region Crystal Growing Competition organised by Dr Samantha Wynn of MRC Cambridge.

The Phil Smith Trophy 2009

The Phil Smith Trophy 2008

To make the inaugural award of the Phil Smith Trophy a special event, the objective of the competition was for schools to nominate an experiment that they would like to see performed in their laboratory and to have filmed for their future teaching resources. 

The Phil Smith Trophy 2008

The winner selected was Didcot Girls School where Year 10 student Kirsty Emery (pictured above) had suggested the reduction of iron ore to iron with tests of the magnetic properties to prove the reaction had worked.

The Phil Smith Trophy 2008

The presentation was made and the experiment performed on 10 July 2008.   To make it a memorable day for the school, our committee member Professor Russell Egdell was recruited to do the experiment, and then as an extra, an industrial version of iron oxide reduction, the Thermit process to weld railway track was demonstrated outside by a team from TWS Ltd of Derby led by Richard Johnson.  

The Phil Smith Trophy 2008

The Trophy was presented by Dr John White to Dr Lynn Nickerson, the school’s Science Club Coordinator and Kirsty received a T-shirt printed with a glow-in-the-dark Periodic Table.   The whole procedure was filmed by Gordon Rushton, a friend of Phil’s from their school days.   Although the local media had been informed, no reporters appeared but the event, and Phil, did get a mention on ITV’s ‘This Morning’ programme news report.

Contact and Further Information

Picture of John White

John White
Retired Members Officer