Warwick University Christmas Lecture 'Pop, Fizz, Bang!'

Senior School Science

Earlier this term the Chemistry Department took a group of pupils (from Shells to Lower Sixth) to a Christmas Lecture at the University of Warwick Arts Centre.

The lecture was titled ‘Pop, Fizz and Bang’ and was based on the idea that energy is a true superpower that cannot be created or destroyed; only transferred from one form to another. 

The lecture started by looking at two different fuels (methanol and ethanol) and what happens when they are combusted. The lecturer then performed a clever Physics trick with beads that involved the concept of gravitational potential energy. The lecture moved on to look at burning foods to see which one releases the most energy - leading to an interesting aroma filling the lecture theatre. 

Finally they poured liquid nitrogen on the floor and finished the lecture by detonating over 1000 ping pong balls using liquid nitrogen! An enormous bang was created and the ping pong balls flew everywhere. It was a spectacular end to the lecture and we were all full of excitement as we left. It was a fantastic trip with pupils getting to see plenty of demonstrations, whilst at the same time learning some interesting science which they will be able to use in their lessons at school.

Bablake pupils attend the Warwick University Christmas Lecture 2017, photo from Mr I Kalsi.

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