The Great Molecule Hunt 2013

Shops and shoppers in Kirkwall were back in action with the Great Molecule Hunt. Twenty shops in and around the town centre joined in to set the challenge. Each shop had a model of a particular molecule related to its business tucked away somewhere in the window or inside.

There was a lot of interest, with 22 all-correct entries. The winner drawn was Jemma Guthrie from Kirkwall. Runners-up were Eleanor Ellis from Rossendale in Lancashire and Innes Dufat-Kennett from St Ola. The youngest all-correct entrants were Isla Shearer and Serena Shearer from Kirkwall.

The competition was organised by Sandy and Lorna Smith of Science@Cwaben, in collaboration with Kirkwall BID (Business Improvement District), with support from the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Pickaquoy Centre.

The molecules were made out of the Molymod system and the prizes were Molymod kits kindly donated by the makers, Spiring Enterprises Ltd .

Spiring Enterprises, a British company, developed the Molymod system as an educational tool for teachers, researchers and students 12 years and over, and the kits are highly regarded.

“I have had a few molecule kits, but this one is by far the best,” says one online review of the Molymod Organic Student Set. “The bonds fit easily and the atoms are large and in scale to the links. This kit makes molecules interesting and fun.”

“This kit was for my 12 year son who really got into chemistry lately,” says another review. “He really likes it and wants more atoms (pieces)! Would recommend it for any budding chemist.”

Participants enjoyed the challenge of going round the shops to hunt for the various molecules. “Great original way to explore Kirkwall,” wrote one afterwards. “Good way to spend a wet Monday,” wrote another. “I really enjoyed the hunt,” said one of the younger entrants. “I’ve been asking mum about science.”


Look for the Kirkwall molecules

Twenty town centre businesses took part in the 2013 Great Molecule Hunt in Kirkwall


Sinclair’s Ice Cream (Bridge Street) – Ice cream, soft drinks, biscuits
John Scott & Miller (Bridge Street) – Wines and spirits, gifts, hardware
Grooves (Albert Street) – CD’s, DVD’s, etc
Florabunda (Albert Street) – Flowers and floral designs
The Studio Shop (Albert Street) – Fashion design and retail
William Hourston (Albert Street) – Jewellers
Orkney Soap Company (Albert Street) – Orkney and Shetland soaps and lotions
The Edinburgh Woollen Mill (Albert Street) – Jumpers, scarves, socks
Aurora Jewellery – Hand-crafted gold and silver jewellery, crafts and gifts
Orcadian Bookshop (Albert Street) – Bookshop
Christine Clarke (Albert Street) – Gift

Orkney Television Enterprise (Broad Street) – White goods supplier
Judith Glue (Broad Street) – Knitwear, local produce supplier
The Orkney Hotel (Victoria Street) – Hotel
The Venue (Victoria Street) – Exhibitions, art
Cycle Orkney (Tankerness Lane) – Cycle Shop / Hire
The Delectable Mrs D’s (West Tankerness Lane) – Lingerie
The Odinstone (Junction Road) – Crafts, gifts
Restart Orkney (Junction Road) – Furniture re-use and recycling
Orkney Library & Archive – Books to borrow, plus local history