Norwich Science Festival 2016

The Kitchen Chemistry show was part of Chemistry Day (26/10), a day organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry, at the Norwich Science Festival run by the Forum Trust from 18 -30 October. The Kitchen Chemist was also involved in Physics Fest which was a physics day organised by the local Institute of Physics.

A levitating superconductor.

A levitating superconductor. The polystyrene is to keep a reservoir of liquid nitrogen so that the ceramic is kept cool.

In the guise of the Parlour Physicist I was able to entertain the crowds with a levitating train all day on the first Sunday of the Festival: the day of Physics Fest. There were a number of public activities both in the Forum and in Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form.

I was in the Forum using a piece of high temperature superconductor and a track made of rare earth magnets. Although it is called “high temperature” superconductor the ceramic still has to be cooled to the boiling point of liquid nitrogen temperature for it to become superconducting. When it does, however, the material repels all magnetic fields and can float on a magnetic track. This is how I managed to spend the day playing trains with magnets and liquid nitrogen – oh, and explaining it to the public at the same time. A big thank you has to go to @IOPEast for organising the day and letting me play!

Crowds enjoying hands on chemistry in the Forum.

Crowds enjoying hands on chemistry in the Forum.

Chemistry Day on the following Wednesday was organised through the Royal Society of Chemistry with sponsorship from Briar Chemicals and the University of East Anglia. The majority of the activities were free public events in the atrium of the Forum in Norwich. Volunteers from the University, from the Royal Society of Chemistry and from Briar Chemicals all came together to inspire the crowds at what proved to be the busiest day of the Science Festival.

The Briar Chemicals staff that were present also took the opportunity to talk about their careers and how they got to where they were. There was also the opportunity for one of the local schools to get up on the cabaret stage to make a presentation.

Meanwhile in the Auditorium downstairs the Kitchen Chemist was busy preparing for two shows, one at 11h00 and the second at 14h00. It was very encouraging to know that both of the shows were “sold out”, even though the tickets were free. The Forum Auditorium turns out to be a lovely space to present in and, as usual, I had a lot of fun. The audiences seemed to enjoy it and there were lots of questions afterwards. Fingers crossed that I get asked back to do something again if there is a Norwich Science Festival next year.

Striking a pose before the show.

Striking a pose before the show.

Trademark flaming custard!

Trademark flaming custard!