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K-12 Education

Chemistry In Pictures

Chemistry in Pictures: Crystal contest 2018

by Craig Bettenhausen
February 26, 2019


A man holds an plum-sized colorless crystal by a string.
Credit: Douglas Levere/University at Buffalo

In 2018, more than 250 teams participated in the fifth annual US Crystal Growing Competition. Participants included thousands of K–12 students and teachers, and home-school families from 42 states and Washington, DC. Organizer Jason Benedict (shown holding an alum crystal he grew), an associate professor of chemistry at the University at Buffalo, and his volunteers sent out crystal-growing kits containing alum and suggested procedures to participants. The contestants started growing their crystals on Oct. 22, coinciding with National Chemistry Week, and continued for five weeks. Judging such a massive contest took awhile, Benedict says, but they announced the winners in mid-January. “This contest directly exposes kids to the world of crystals and crystal growth, which are vitally important to modern science in terms of health care, materials and food,” Benedict says.

To see all of this year’s winners, visit

Do science. Take pictures. Win money. Enter our photo contest here.

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A crystal-growing contest and a Nobel Prize-winning inconvenience

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