31/05/2011 Update: After collecting the evidence, the RSC decided to award the £300 to Year 5 and 6 pupils from Roselyon School in Cornwall who had “finally disproved the age-old theory”. Details here.
Our friend Jez told us that spiders are repelled by horse chestnuts. In theory, this means people who don’t like spiders can ward them off with a few well-placed, fresh conkers. Apparently people have been using this for years, with regional variations suggesting other locally-found natural materials. Whether there is actually any truth to this tale is currently the subject of a Royal Society of Chemistry investigation. The organization is offering £300 to anyone who can prove or disprove the rumour. Results are due to be announced on October 31st 2009, so get investigating!