A GUEST lecturer sparked the imaginations of Warrington pupils during an enlightening talk at Priestley College.
Doctor Frank Mair, a chemist and researcher at The University of Manchester, captivated his audience with a series of memorable demonstrations.
“The show is intended to show off some of the more intriguing or spectacular aspects of Chemistry, while also highlighting the many different roads it can lead you down,” he said.
Year 11 students from Sir Thomas Boteler and Bridgewater High accepted invitations to the talk and they, along with Priestley students, were left spellbound by coloured flames, bangs and expanding foam.
One reaction created fireworks using metal chlorates and icing sugar. The colour of the flame indicated which metal was involved.
With more instrumentation scientists can identify the precise frequency of emitted light, characterising precisely which element, and exactly how much of it is present.
“Chemists help to make these instruments, and use them to take measurement of elements in water supplies, foodstuffs, grades of steel, rock samples, and all manner of other things,” said Dr Mair.
Another ‘wow moment’ in the presentation was the use of ‘elephant’s toothpaste’ or, more accurately, expanding foam which was used to show how much more room is taken up by atoms/molecules in the gas phase.
Priestley College Chemistry Tutor Wendy Winnard said the audience was fascinated by the lecture, which was made possible by the outreach team at the University of Manchester.
“It was great to give some budding scientists an opportunity that we hope inspires them to study the subject further,” she said.
“We have to thank Doctor Frank Mair for his time and effort in producing such a memorable experience.”