Fireworks - science, art or magic?

29 Nov 2010

On 21 October 2010, the SCI Bristol and South West Regional Group held its student prizegiving ceremony at the University of Bristol. This was the first joint meeting of the local RSC, BSciA and SCI for the 2010-11 season. The ceremony was chaired by Prof Paul Pringle, who explained that the prize winners had been selected at the Rothwell Symposium held in April 2010, when 24 members of the MSci chemistry with industrial placement course had given oral presentations on their placements, with the best three receiving prizes.

Bristol prizewinnersPaul Pringle introduced Raymond Holland, who explained that the prizes had been given annually since 1985, forming an important part of the link between the Society and the University of Bristol. Awards were presented to Sarah Bastard, Thomas Carvell and Ingun Hovland, with each receiving a cash prize as well as a certificate and a year's free membership of the Society, before being welcomed to a celebratory supper party.

The prize giving was followed by a spectacular demonstration lecture entitled 'Fireworks - science, art or magic?', presented by Chris Pearce and Martin Hadlington of Jubilee Fireworks. This firm won the prestigious 2010 Monaco Fireworks Competition.

After giving safety advice, the speakers started with the history of gunpowder, before demonstrating modern electrical ignition techniques - no need to light the blue touch paper and stand well back! They continued with chemicals used to provide colours, the different types of fireworks and various noise effects, which delighted the audience of over 300, including families with young children. And of course, this exciting meeting ended with a bang!

Raymond Holland, SCI Bristol and South West Regional Group

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