By Ann Fenech, on 12 June 2010
This show was definitely impressive, with the bangs getting bigger and bigger as the show progressed. We learnt about gases of different densities, luminescence, and about how things burn…and that we ’shouldn’t try this at home’. There was light flashes, boats floating, and I repeat: big bangs.
However, I think there was two things that I was slightly concerned with during this event. First of all, the presenter at certain intervals outlined what were the learning outcomes of the just-performed demonstration. Hearing those words made me feel like I am back on the school bench and I am there to ‘learn something’ rather than there to enjoy the event and subtly learn about what I am observing, which is what I think science communication at such a festival, and especially if aimed at kids, should be about.
Another thing I observed was the use of chemicals including sulfur hexafluoride were used. This chemical has been identified as one of the most potent greenhouse gases out there. I agree that the quantities used were not big, but couldn’t another chemical be used instead?
Other than these two quibbles, the show was highly entertaining. The presenters kept the show flowing quite easily and fluidly. I am sure everyone there came out in awe of chemistry, but confident that they can manage it.