London students named Royal Institution L’Oréal Young Scientists of the Year after competing in Spectacular Colour Chemistry

Year 9 London students, Alicia Pope and Anna Stevenson, were named the 2013 L’Oréal Young Scientists of the Year this week after winning a national competition exploring the science of colour.

  • L’Oréal Young Scientists of the Year 2013: Alicia Pope and Anna Stevenson

    Credit: Royal Institution


Year 9 London students, Alicia Pope and Anna Stevenson, were named the 2013 L’Oréal Young Scientists of the Year this week after winning a national competition exploring the science of colour. The girls, from Grey Coat Hospital School and St Pauls School respectively, were two out of 18 of the most talented key stage 3 (11-14 year old) science students from around the country who competed for the annual title. The finalists all took part in a new Spectacular Colour Chemistry workshop to mark the L’Oréal Young Scientist Centre’s 4th anniversary at the Royal Institution.

The new workshop was designed with the help of industry experts to develop the students’ understanding of what a colour actually is, before allowing them to explore the differences and similarities between natural and synthetic dyes. The session gave the students first-hand experience of how colour is used in a cutting edge research laboratory and an insight into what it would be like to be a colour chemist in industry.

To reach this final workshop stage, students were asked to think creatively about colour and the world around them and submit a piece describing their favourite colour from a scientific perspective.

The event was judged by an expert panel including: L’Oréal’s Senior Scientific Advisor, Christina Lambert; Director of Science and Education at The Royal Institution, Dr Gail Cardew; and Director of Research and Development at Dylon, Dave Toms.

Winner Alicia Pope commented: “I really enjoyed the day, especially the experience of working with different dyes. Students don’t normally get to use the equipment we were introduced to today until university so it was amazing for us to have the chance to use things like colour meters in our own experiments. I think chemistry is a fun and enjoyable subject and I’m definitely going to carry on studying it at school.”

David Porter, Manager of the L’Oréal Young Scientist Centre commented: “Our work at the L’Oréal Young Scientist Centre aims to inspire creativity and passion for science. We’re delighted to be celebrating our 4th anniversary by showcasing what science is really like in industry and hopefully inspiring these talented students and all those who step foot through our door to consider pursuing the subject as a career. Both our winners, Alicia Pope and Anna Stevenson, showed excellent promise, good technical skills and real understanding throughout the day; they are deserving winners of the title.”

Christina Lambert, L’Oréal’s Senior Scientific Advisor added: “It was a fantastic experience judging the competition. I was particularly impressed by the creativity these young people showed working in a chemistry laboratory and taking the initiative to question their findings at every step. I hope their experience has given them an insight into what it is like to be a scientist in industry. We are proud to support the L’Oreal Young Scientist Centre and creative workshops like Spectacular Colour Chemistry which often mirror the process in industry.”

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About the L’Oréal Young Scientist Centre

L’Oréal was created by a chemist over 100 years ago and science has been at the heart of the company ever since. It is passionate about inspiring young people in the world of science and its collaboration with The Royal Institution on the L’Oréal Young Scientist centre reflects this. The laboratory facility at the Royal Institution in central London, provides children aged seven to 18 and their teachers with an interactive, experimental space in which to explore science.  The centre aims to promote curiosity and investigation-led learning as well as offering access to advanced technology and experiments outside of the normal school remit.

About the Royal Institution

The Royal Institution was established in 1799 with the purpose of ‘diffusing science for the common purposes of life'. Over 200 years on, we're a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science through our public programmes for adults and education initiatives for children and young people, the Ri channel which showcases the best science videos from around the web, the Faraday Museum and the famous Christmas Lectures.

For more information visit the Royal Institution website and Ri channel website.

About L’Oréal

L’Oréal, the world’s leading beauty company, has catered to all forms of beauty in the world for over 100 years and has built an unrivalled portfolio of 28 international, diverse and complementary brands. With sales amounting to 22.5 billion euros in 2012, L’Oréal employs 72,600 people worldwide. In 2013, the Ethisphere Institute, a leading international think-tank for business ethics, corporate social responsibility and sustainability, recognized L’Oréal as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. This is the fourth time that L’Oréal has received this distinction.

L’Oréal was created by a chemist – Eugene Schueller over 100 years ago and science has been at the heart of the company since then. L’Oréal employs over 3,500 scientists worldwide, invests €665m in research and development and patents over 600 new discoveries each year.

L’Oréal is the only cosmetics group that is present in every distribution channel: mass market, hair salons, department stores and pharmacies.  Its brand portfolio is formed of 28 brands globally including: L’Oréal Paris, Garnier, Maybelline, Soft Sheen Carson, Matrix, Redken, L’Oréal Professional, Kérastase, Vichy, Diesel, Inneov, La Roche-Posay, Lancôme, Yves Saint Laurent Beauté, Biotherm, Kiehl’s, Shu Uemura and Armani and Ralph Lauren fragrances.  The company acquired The Body Shop in 2006.

The company has been present in the UK for more than 70 years and today, L’Oréal UK & Ireland is L’Oréal’s fourth largest subsidiary in Europe and the sixth world-wide. In the UK and Ireland, L’Oréal employs over 3,000 people across sites that include two distribution centres in Manchester and one in Nottingham; and offices in London, Dublin and South Wales.