On Saturday 8th September we brought you the x-change DEMO SPECTACULAR! And, as promised, here is the video of the whole thing. This edition features cereal boxes, smoking jelly babies and strategically-placed electric shocks... It's time to button up your lab coat and put on your goggles as we take a look at the biggest demonstrations and experiments from the British Science Festival.
This brings the 2012 series of the x-change to a close! We’d like to say a huge thank you to our amazing guests who made each show such a success.
We’d also like to thank the tireless staff from the University of Aberdeen who made us feel so welcome in our temporary Spiegeltent home as well as all the Festival assistants.
And finally – we have to thank our talented host Richard Hollingham for his seamless facilitation and for being such a good sport! The x-change couldn’t happen without the hard work of our dedicated volunteers working behind the scenes – Caroline, Emma, Liz and Marcus and Julie, our Science in Society Assistant.
Goodbye from team x-change!
You haven’t seen the last of us – keep an eye out for our x-change x-tras for exclusive interviews with other speakers from around the Festival as well as photos, videos and more!
The fifth and final x-change show went out with a bang today at the 2012 British Science Festival in Aberdeen. Our Saturday Demo Spectacular! was fast paced and full of energy: we had record attempts, smoking jelly babies, sustainable electricity and human-powered fans, all squeezed into an hour long show.
To start us off, we had Debbie Syrop from Science Made Simple with a record attempt to fit the entire audience into a cereal box. Yes, a Shredded Wheat cereal box. There was no magic involved, only maths and engineering. Increasing the length of the box by cutting it into a long thin string allowed us to get our entire audience in.
Andrea Sella, a chemist from UCL then showed us how mercury would oscillate when put in contact with a paper clip. He started a chemical reaction between the steel in the paperclip and the mercury, causing it to vibrate. It's as if it was alive!
Energy cannot be created or destroyed, only recycled and reused in different forms. To demonstrate this, we had Greg Foot, one half of the Science Junkies, Rob Wix from Sustainable Science and Jamie Gallagher from Glasgow University. Greg started off by demonstrating how much energy there is in a jelly baby by setting it alight and how we use this energy to power our bodies.
Greg Foot getting the energy from a jelly baby!
Rob then used Julie as a guinea-pig to power lights, a fan and a kettle using a bicycle. Julie used the joules of energy from her breakfast to get her legs to turn the wheels of the bike. This powered a generator which then turned on the electrical devices.
Jamie then finished this set off by using kilo-Jules (get it?) of energy to power a small fan. The heat Julie was giving off after getting on the bike was combined with the coolness of ice to set up a current in the semi-conductor materials which powered the fan.
We were also presenting the Strictly Engineering prizes at the show today. Strictly Engineering was a poster competition held at the Festival in which engineers made a poster about their area of research. They worked together with the Science in Society team and professional graphic designers. The winner of the competition was Isobel Houghton, and the runners up were Natasha Watson and Rosanna Kleemann.
Greg Foot then bounced back into action wearing his version of running blades. Although not as fast as Oscar Pistorius, he did explain the science behind the blades and why Pistorius was allowed to compete at the Olympics.
Neuro- and Naked Scientist Hannah Critchlow shocked our show to a close. Using Marcus as a volunteer, she electrocuted him to demonstrate that our bodies and brain run on electrical energy to power our limbs.
Thank you to all our guests for today's Demo Spectacular!
No podcast will be available for this highly visual show, but we will be putting a video up instead – watch this space!