Reepham College student Hester Fox wins L’Or�al Young Scientist of the Year award

A teenager from Reepham College has won a national Young Scientist of the Year award despite having a bitter taste during experiments.

Hester Fox, 16, of Elsing, near Dereham, became Young Scientist of the Year after facing three rounds of tests at the L'Or�al Young Scientist Centre at the Royal Institution, in London.

Miss Fox received the award after winning one of 20 places at the launch of A Question of Taste workshop, which marked the second anniversary of the young scientist centre.

The Royal Institute is a charity which has led science research, innovation and communication for more than 200 years and is based in Mayfair.

The competitors who took part in A Question of Taste workshop tested their sensitivity to phenylthio-carbamide – a chemical found in foods including Brussel sprouts and broccoli.

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The ability to taste the chemical depends on a person's DNA and if people can taste it foods will taste bitter.

To get into the workshop the budding scientists had to write an essay explaining how humans taste.

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During A Question of Taste, Miss Fox analysed her own DNA and then she presented what she had found in one day to science experts. These people included Dr Gail Cardew, director of science and education at the Royal Institution, and Julie McManus, head of scientific at L'Or�al.

David Porter, manager of the L'Or�al Young Scientist Centre, said: 'The workshop provides a fantastic opportunity for students to work in a lab environment with equipment they wouldn't usually experience until university.

'Hester really rose to the challenge and gave an invaluable contribution to the first workshop.

'She has shown a really promising gift for science and the title of L'Or�al Young Scientist of the Year is well deserved.'

This is the second year of the competition and people aged between 14 and 18 could take part.

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