Fireworks and Waterworks

20 Nov 2015

Dr Andy Szydlo gave his fantastic Bonfire Night Spectacular Chemistry lecture - ‘Fireworks and Waterworks’ - on the 5 November at the University of Cambridge. The event was held by the SCI Cambridge and Great Eastern Group, and Dr Szydlo dazzled, entertained and educated his audience with a series of spectacular science demonstrations, including some new ones.

The lecture’s purpose was to illustrate chemical and physical processes involving fire and liquids, with audibly and visually spectacular reactions. Thus, Dr Szydlo’s demonstrations included; pumping up a bicycle tyre to demonstrate temperature increase, running a model aeroplane diesel engine with propeller on a wheeled carriage, gunpowder formulations and firecracker, colour changes with gases, burning white phosphorus in a large flask to produce a stunning ‘phosphorus moon’, igniting hydrogen/oxygen balloons, liquid nitrogen explosions in dustbins, firing ping pong balls from a mortar using gun cotton, flash powder, and musical clock reaction.

Dr Szydlo had given this lecture at the Royal Institution a week previously. He is an enthusiastic and engaging science communicator who regularly gives lectures and has also appeared on TV before. His very entertaining style manages to pack in a huge amount of science while keeping the audience fascinated.

John Wilkins
Chair, SCI Cambridge and Great Eastern Committee

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