What’s in my Stuff?

22 Oct 2012

Children in the Liverpool area were treated to a special family event on on 13 October, which looked at consumer tech in a totally new way.

'What's in my Stuff?', by Dr Hywel Jones from the Materials and Engineering Research Institute at Sheffield Hallam University, made us all think about our modern lifestyles and choices.

Through the example of the ubiquitous mobile phone we were led to wonder how many mobile phones there are worldwide and what happens to them. The staggering majority end their days unused but kept. Of those which are used second hand a similar fate awaits. We briefly looked at the periodic table of elements and were amazed at the number of elements to be found in a phone by design. More challenges came as we saw the effects on the earth's resources, damage to the environment and even wars resulting from mineral extraction.

The lecture was well received with some particularly interesting questions from young members of the audience, such as 'how do touch screens work?' Then the children rushed to the front to dismantle mobile phones to shells, boards, displays... Thankfully these were phones donated for recycling and not Dad's latest!

Mike Pitts, Liverpool and North West Group

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