Schoolchildren were asked to solve a murder and save the Starship Enterprise during a science festival.
More than 120 pupils from schools across the region took part in the challenges set by the Salters’ Festival of Chemistry at the University of Reading.
The aim of the festival, which took place over two days in May, was to promote the appreciation of chemistry and related sciences among young people.
Teams of four from years seven and eight were asked to identifying the main suspect in a murder case using chemical tests on samples taken from the crime scene and suspects.
University Star Trek Challenge then asked them to make a chemical solution to prevent the Starship Enterprise’s dilithium crystals from overheating.
Dr David Nutt, from the chemistry department at the university, said: “It’s great to see pupils enjoying doing chemistry. They really engaged with the challenges and had great fun too.
“The festivals highlight the important part that chemistry plays in our every day lives, and hopefully encourages youngsters to study the subject in further education to inspire the next generation of chemists and scientists.”
Emma Gaster, from the Downs School in Newbury, said: “We all had a fantastic time and really enjoyed the whole experience. The girls felt like they got to do some ‘real science’ and loved being left to get on with it without having the teacher keep telling them what to do.”
The event was organised by The Salters’ Institute, which aims to promote the appreciation of chemistry and related sciences among the young.