Why does corn Pop? How much chemistry is in your shopping basket? How safe is your food? How can you be sure where your food comes from? If you can help explain any of these questions you would be welcome to help Discover Science Christchurch as they deliver activities at their Experi-TENT at the Christchurch Food Festival on 11 and 12 May on the Quomps in Christchurch. The Experi-TENT is supported by the Royal Society of Chemistry Outreach Fund.
Activities will include;
- Food safety and fraud: good bugs and chemical analysis
- What am I eating: making sherbert and exploring sugar and salt in food.
As well as bringing some science to the festival, there will be a dialogue about creating a permanent science discovery centre at the end of Christchurch High Street as part of a planned new development in order to engage public input and support.
Staff, students or anyone else interested are encouraged to register to volunteer on the day.
We recently headed down to a very sunny Boscombe for a day spent talking about science as part of their bustling Saturday market. Pitching up in between two amazingly fragrant food stands we spent the day talking to the community about two research projects with the potential to change lives as part of a British Science Association and Royal Society of Chemistry series of events known as Science in the City.
The idea of Science in the City has been to take science into highly deprived communities and talk to people about research who wouldn’t usually engage with us through events such as Festival of Learning. Working with University of Southampton (UoS) we submitted the bid in December 2015 and were successful in being picked to host an activity as part of the 2016 round of funding and approached Boscombe Market for a venue to let us talk to the community.
Keen to take the opportunity to share some of our high profile research we were especially pleased to be joined by Oleg Fryazinov and Mark Moseley who have been highly involved with the award winning SHIVA project which enables disabled children to design and 3D print objects using a simple interactive system that can be controlled using either touch or eye tracking software. This project has recently received funding through HEIF5+1+1 to expand the project further and work with new schools. Currently they are working closely with the Victoria School in Poole and may of the objects seen in the image below where designed by their students (unfortunately not the dinosaur as the software isn’t quite up to this yet!).
As well as BU’s research we also took an activity from UoS’s public engagement Roadshow. David and Alex, two PHD researchers from the university joined us for the day to talk to people about the technology behind hydrogen fuel cells and how they have the power to revolutionise our lives and minimise the amount of unclean energy needed to run our cars, buses and lorries. As well as a demonstration of the fuel cell in action they also were helping the public understand how catalysts could be used to reduce the amount of energy you need to put into a reaction and how coating a cheap substance (in our case copper pennies) with a catalytic material (a brass coating made by coating the penny in zinc and heating to produce an alloy) can reduce the costs involved with using them.