9 November 2017

Bonfires with a Bang. Spectacular Chemistry Demonstration Lecture

Organised by:

SCI's Cambridge and Great Eastern Group and RSC


Registration Closed

This event is no longer available for registration.


We are delighted to welcome back the inimitable Dr Andy Szydlo for this year’s Bonfire Night spectacular Chemistry lecture (his previous Cambridge lectures have been truly memorable!).

Dr Szydlo will educate, entertain and enlighten all ages on the subject of bonfires and bangs.

Starting with the Chemistry of bonfires: the gaseous, liquid and solid products which are formed as intermediates during the combustion of wood; dry distillation (pyrolysis) and gas, wood tar, charcoal; gaseous and solid (ash) products of the final products of combustion (oxidation) of wood will be shown and discussed.Then a brief history of the science of bangs will introduce the chemistry and physics of thunder and lightning.

Throughout the talk, anecdotal material from the history of science will be used to enhance the explanations. A total of 21 experiments, with widely varying effects, will be shown.

An enthusiastic and engaging science communicator, Dr Szydlo frequently gives lectures in the UK and has appeared on Channel 4’s TV series That’ll teach ‘em. He is also an expert on the history of alchemy. His book, Water that does not wet hands: The Alchemy of Michael Sendivogius, tells the story of an unfairly forgotten Polish alchemist.

WARNING - There will be smoke, bright flashes and loud bangs!

The lecture is for all ages (>8), but not suitable for those with a nervous disposition.

Free admission. No tickets - so come early to get a good seat. Doors open at 18:30. Please contact organisers if you are bringing a large party (>10). Organised by SCI Cambridge & Great Eastern Region, RSC Mid-Anglia Section.

This talk is part of the SCI Cambridge Science Talks series.


Day 1 - 09th November 2017

Event Schedule
19:00 - 20:30
Lecture duration
Accessibility Grants

SCI accessibility grants are available to support SCI members with disabilities, long term health conditions, those who require a carer, and members who are nursing parents to attend SCI events. Download an application form to apply for a grant.

Venue and Contact

Cambridge University

Bristol Myers-Squibb lecture theatre 
Dept of Chemistry, Lensfield Rd 
Cambridge, CB2 1EW

Please click here for a location map.

John O’Toole

+44 (0)20 7598 1561

Email: john.otoole9@btopenworld.com

Free admission. No tickets - so come early to get a good seat. Doors open at 18:30. Please contact organisers if you are bringing a large party (>10).

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Booking terms and conditions

SCI Members attending this meeting are able to claim CPD points.

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