My Path Through Research

The Trials and Triumphs of Doing a PhD

Banging away at UCL Chemistry

Having seen and been impressed by Andrea Sella presenting at the Cheltenham Science Festival (I had written about it here), when I saw that he was presenting a new chemistry demonstration show at UCL I immediately marked it down in my calendar. The event was organized as part of the UCL Chemistry and Physical Sciences society events in collaboration with Society of Chemical Industry. I was impressed as to how full the lecture theatre was, including with young kids excited at the prospect of experiencing some exciting chemistry!

This time round the show was called ‘Bangs and Meringues’…and that’s exactly what was delivered, together with a lot of bubbles! We learnt about the concepts of surface tension, and how and why bubbles are formed. We also saw a lot of bubbles and foams being produced! More than any grown up should enjoy making, but then why become a chemist if you want to lose that sense of wonderment? Meringues are also a form of foam (did you know that?), and he prepared some in a microwave. I’m not sure I would opt for that method if I’m preparing any for a party, on the basis that they ended up burnt, but hey – the microwave did its job (and more!)

However, the most exciting, especially for the kids, was definitely the fires and bangs. We had hydrogen bubbles causing big pops, big flames running across the front desk (with a fire extinguisher which didn’t quite seem to work!), and a big mentos and coke experiment (which unfortunately didn’t hit the roof – boohoo :P).

As always, a typical demo show by the irrepressible Andrea Sella: a bit wacky, quite a bit disorganized, but so much fun! Would I go again? Definitely! When’s your next show Andrea?

You can read more about the event and see photos, thanks to Ian visits.

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