Emil Hewage, an S5 pupil at Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen, must be one of Scotland's most promising young scientists.
The 17-year-old has won two major accolades for science over the past year. The first was a gold award from the British Physics Olympiad, the only gold to be awarded in Scotland and one of only 40 in the UK. The second was when he was named Scottish regional winner in the International Science School competition run by the Association for Science Education in partnership with the Royal Institution of Great Britain.
Pupils nominated for the competition have to be outstanding students who have a well-developed interest in science and have indicated they wish to pursue a career in science or technology.
Emil is studying six Highers this year and hopes that, with three Advanced Highers next year, he will secure a place to study engineering or physics at Cambridge, Imperial College, London, or Strathclyde universities.
Each year, five competition winners from across the UK get to spend two weeks at the Professor Harry Messel International Science School in Sydney, Australia. The biannual school, founded in 1958 and organised by the Science Foundation for Physics, attracts top scientists and speakers as well as students from the United States, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, New Zealand and the UK.
Last month, along with other winners and runners-up from the 19 UK regional finals, Emil spent a day at the Royal Institution in London. "I enjoyed the lectures laid on for us, which included one on forensic science," he says.
Stuart Farmer, the principal teacher of physics at Robert Gordon's College who nominated Emil, says: "He's done remarkably well, given that there were 70 nominations from Scotland. To get through to the final interview day at the Royal Institution is an achievement in itself."
Raymond Ross www.ase.org.uk