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IET Family Christmas Lecture

 December 03 2015 | Views: 1163

Kent and Medway

Whizzes, bangs, pops and lots of steam and smoke from the amazing ‘Mad Professor’ Dr Andrew Szydlo.

As twilight fell on Thursday night 3 December, you would have seen a crowd of young and old gathered outside the Old Sessions House at Canterbury Christ Church University – all clambering to see what was happening in the centre. If you were there, you might have been lucky to have spied the white-haired man in a white coat (stained from all his experimentation), mixing together lots of things he’d bought from Boots the Chemist and chattering away about how he became inspired by the ‘magic’ of Chemistry. And then Pow! A fire was generated from all those safe ingredients! We were all outside because Dr Szydlo was worried he might have set off the smoke alarms if he’d done it inside. Wise move.

What followed was an onslaught of scientific tricks – not magic but real science to amaze all of our senses. We saw a huge round bottomed flask change colour from bright red to orange to green and blue and back again as mysterious clear liquids were added and swirled to mix them together. 

Then the ‘magician’ got out his violin and played to a beaker full of clear liquid. Miraculously, the liquid suddenly darkened, no longer clear – with only the vibrations of the strings to make it happen.

He found some cotton and set it alight – impressive enough in itself – then he found a bit of cotton that had oxygen incorporated into it – woosh!  We barely saw the flame.

Bright orange power was put onto a fireproof mat to form a small pile. When this was lit it turned into a mini volcano and spat out dark green granular muck that had to be cleaned up.

Then Dr Szydlo found a flask of liquid nitrogen and threw some of it in the air to thrill the crowd as the very very very cold stuff warmed up and disappeared into thin air. The children were trying to find it where it had fallen onto the floor – without success.

He started to feel a bit wobbly so he boiled a kettle to make himself a cup of tea… How dramatic was that?

During the show, Dr Szydlo had had some balloons strung up on the front desk, floating in the air. How festive we thought.  But they weren’t just for show – they were the finale!  We came out thinking we’d been caught in a war zone. What a wonderful evening’s entertainment and education.

Quote from a parent Tanya:
What an awesome evening. My girls haven't stopped talking about it. Thank you so much.”


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If you would like The STEM Hub to help organise an event like this for your school/setting then please contact us today:
Email: kentandmedwaystem@canterbury.ac.uk
Tel: 01227 782662

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