News and Media

High school symposium marks 150th anniversary of Mendeleev’s periodic table

Students from high schools across Qatar attended the symposium to participate in a presentation competition.
Students from high schools across Qatar attended the symposium to participate in a presentation competition.

High school students convened at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar for a special symposium held in honor of UNESCO’s International Year of the Periodic Table 2019, which celebrates the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the periodic table of chemical elements.

Led by Dr. Sheila Qureshi, associate professor in chemistry, the Elements in Medicine Symposium featured a scientific presentation competition contested by twelve high school teams of between one and four participants. The teams were tasked with creating a project that demonstrated the importance of the periodic table as a tool in science, technology and medicine, and presenting it to the audience of WCM-Q staff and faculty members, WCM-Q students, high school students, family and friends. The periodic system is considered to have been established by the Russian scientist Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869.

The presentation projects covered a wide range of scientific subjects, including the Hershey–Chase DNA experiments, nanotechnology and nanotheranostics, radiotherapies, and the medical applications of osmium and bismuth, among others. The teams’ multimedia presentations included film clips, original song performances, dramatic skits, TED-style talks, interactive lectures, and audience participation.

Prizes were awarded for Excellence in Presentation, Outstanding Presentation, and Best Presentation. The Best Presentation Prize went to Amandi Edirisinghe, Mahini Gamage, and Mathula Muhundan of Doha College for their presentation “Elements in the ER” which detailed the use of elements in substances ranging from morphine to fiberglass casts for a hypothetical trauma victim named Bob.

Dr. Qureshi gave thanks to the Office of Student Outreach and Educational Development for providing operational support and to the judging panel, which comprised WCM-Q faculty members Dr. Stella Major, Dr. James Roach, lecturer Danielle Jones, Dr. Ali Chaari, and WCM-Q alumnus Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Abdulmalek.

Dr. Qureshi said: “I want to thank everyone who took part for making this such a wonderful event. We were very impressed by the quality and inventiveness of all of the presentations.”